Our Editors Reveal Which Beauty Treatments Really Hurt—And Which Ones Don’t

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Just because we’re beauty editors, doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain when it comes to our beauty treatments. These are the five treatments, which we love, that make us squeal, and some that are surprisingly painless.

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1 / 6

What hurts: Eyebrow threading

“I’ve tried eyebrow threading a handful of times, and while the results were great, the pain and suffering I’ve felt while each hair was threaded and pulled was so intense, I can’t say it was worth the pain for me. I have a ton of friends who swear by it, but I’m either a big baby or just have a very low threshold for pain, but I refuse to do it again. I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I might actually prefer the one and done pain of waxing over the repetitive, tear-inducing pain I’ve felt with threading.” –Tatiana Bido, Special Projects Editor 

2 / 6

What doesn’t hurt: Chemical peels

“Admittedly, I have not had the strongest chemical peels out there, but the ones I had also weren’t the lightest. My doctor always lets me hold a fan and distracts me by talking to me and it’s really not bad at all. You can feel it, but the actual smell of the solution is way worse than the sensation.” –Liz Ritter, Executive Managing Editor

3 / 6

What hurts: Highlights

“For years, I had my hair highlighted by one of the best colorists in the biz who was a master at ombré color. He used this teasing and backcombing technique to distribute the bleach, which killed when it came time to brush it out. My eyes would literally swell up and start tearing profusely and I would have to have the assistants stop brushing my hair for a few minutes at a time because it felt like someone was yanking out chunks of my hair. And even once my hair was all washed and blown out, my scalp would still feel like it was still being pulled on. You wouldn’t expect highlights to hurt, but this was so excruciatingly painful.” –Elise Minton, Executive Beauty Editor

4 / 6

What doesn’t hurt: Botox

“When I had Botox for the first time, I asked for topical numbing cream and got a silly look. Turns out the docs were right, I didn’t need anything of the sort. All I felt were a few tiny pinches—imagine acrylic nails gently pinching your skin. However, it’s worth noting that I only treated my forehead, so it might be different on other parts of the face. I’ve heard the crow’s-feet area can be a little more sensitive.” –Brittany Burhop, Senior Editor

5 / 6

What hurts: Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal hurts, but not as much as waxing. Getting rid of hair in any manner (tweezing, waxing, threading) hurts. But if you can tolerate removal processes like plucking or waxing, you can definitely tolerate the pain level associated with laser removal. The sensation is like that of rubber band snaps. The first zap may startle you a bit, but once you get used to it, it’s not bad at all. Plus, sitting through 6–8 sessions of this over a lifetime of waxing makes it super worth it. “ –Carolyn Hsu, Digital Managing Editor

6 / 6

What doesn’t hurt: Microneedling

“While the roller covered with needles may look a little intimidating—it’s meant to create microscopic ‘holes’ in your skin to stimulate new collagen through the body’s process of healing itself—this technique barely hurts at all. While I have only done it at home (so I can’t speak for professional microneedling treatments), the roller only stings a little initially, and a bit when you roll over thin areas of skin (like near your eyes and lips, which isn’t recommended, anyways). The benefits far outweigh the very slight discomfort, and this has been my go-to before-bed treatment for a few months now. I’m a believer!” –Danielle Fontana, Editorial Assistant

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