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Health | Beauty | Fitness | Nutrition

When Looking Good Feels Not So Great

Sometimes, the adage “beauty is pain” really does ring true.


Most of us are willing to go the extra mile in the name of keeping up appearances, from applying warm wax to skin (and promptly tearing it off) to hobbling around in sky-high heels. We power through because we know the benefits are worth it — aren’t those sore muscles after a hard workout class satisfying too? The good news is: you’re not alone in your pain. Here are 20 beauty-is-pain moments nearly every woman has experienced, too: 

1. You got a new set of Invisalign
Your teeth are being pushed into place, so it’s no surprise that you’ll probably feel some aching. Still, that smile might make it worthwhile.

2. You took your first cycling class…in a while
Maybe you took an extended vacation. Maybe you needed a break from your usual routine. Whatever the reason, the first time back is always the hardest—and makes you the most sore.

3. Your masseuse dug too deep into those knots
She deserves an A+ for effort, at least.

4. You got your bikini line waxed
Waxing is so much more convenient than shaving, but the downside: You’re literally yanking out hair at the roots. There’s no way it won’t hurt.

5. You skipped stretching
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night to a cramp in your calf, you know just how worth it a five-minute stretch can be. 

6. You burned your neck with a curling iron
And all you wanted were beach waves. This is basically a beauty rite of passage, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

7. You pushed too far on your standing pigeon pose
That deep hip stretch got a little too deep—so now it’s time to go into savasana (or corpse pose, which, for the uninitiated, consists of lying on the floor).

8. You wore one-size-too-small stilettos all day
But they were on such a good sale!

9. You nipped your skin with a pair of tweezers
You wanted good brows, not fresh blood.

10. You left your glycolic peel on for a little too long
You’re not alone if you sometimes forget that you’re wearing an exfoliating mask until it’s too late. By the time you feel burning, it’s dissolved your dead skin cells and then some.

11. You twisted your ankle on a run
There’s no shame in your game. Even avid runners can get tripped up by an uneven curb or sudden terrain change.

12. You pulled a muscle trying to zip up your dress
After all, you’re not a contortionist.

13. Your aesthetician was too enthusiastic with extractions
It’s the least relaxing part of facials. By the end, your pores are probably as clean and clear as the day you were born, but it comes at a price—of redness and inflammation.

14. You tried a depilatory cream…without testing it first
This is one good way to learn if you have sensitive skin.

15. You’re finally getting rid of that tattoo
If you can’t remember where you got the idea for a hummingbird on your wrist—and you always cover it up with makeup for pictures—it’s probably not worth keeping.

16. You poked yourself in the eye with your mascara wand
It’s not pink-eye, you swear.

17. You’re going platinum blonde
Bleach anywhere doesn’t sound like a good time. And on your scalp, it’s downright brutal.

18. You went for heavier-than-usual dumbbells.
If, after lifting, you can’t raise your arms without wincing, you should probably take it down a notch.

19. You didn’t take a rest day.
If you took spin classes on back-to-back days, you’ve earned the right to veg out on your couch for a day.

20. You’re trying acupuncture for the first time.
One word: Needles.