You’ve probably heard the phrase “beauty is pain” at some point in your life — maybe, by a woman wearing gorgeous-but-painfully-uncomfortable six-inch stilettos, or perhaps as a justification for a scary-looking treatment (think: microneedling). It’s a Machiavellian “the ends justify the means” sort of idea — you can’t get results without putting in a little bit of effort (and that said effort sometimes translates into physical discomfort is simply an unfortunate reality).

Of course, beauty doesn’t have to be painful; in my personal opinion, the best beauty treatments are the ones that feel good, like massages or pampering facials. And yet, there are no shortage of people out there willing to go to relative extremes in the pursuit of physical perfection, or at least their version of it.

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