- Skin care specialist Lizbeth Lugo's business has increased 60 to 70 percent since her body waxing clips started going viral a little over a year ago.
- The clips on Instagram are used to relax people.
Even though body waxing is usually a very painful experience, people are seeking out short videos online of hair being ripped out of the skin.
A little over a year ago, esthetician Lizbeth Lugo saw she had hairy legs and decided to show off her waxing techniques in a short Instagram clip. The video has been viewed more than 119,000 times and business has increased 60 percent to 70 percent since she started regularly posting her videos, Lugo said.
"I most often hear that it's really therapeutic," Lugo told CNBC. "I'm very methodical in how I lay my strips. It helps them sleep at night. It relaxes them."
Some of Lizbeth's most popular clips, which are seconds long and repeat on an endless loop, have been viewed almost 900,000 times apiece. She currently has more than 311,00 Instagram followers. There's no screaming and no blood -- just hair, some wax and a smooth skin surface.
"These videos are way too satisfying to watch!!" one Instagram user wrote under a video.
"Couldn't sleep last night and literally watched all these videos," wrote another.
"I want to go to California and have this woman wax my entire body lol," someone commented.
The repetitive motions give some viewers a feeling called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which is described as a gentle pins and needles sensation. A scientific study in March 2015 found 98 percent of people watched for relaxation, with the majority using the videos to help them sleep or relieve stress. Many people have made full-time careers on YouTube creating bizarre whispering or repeated actions.
Waxing clips may also provide a safe-for-work version of another popular type of ritualistic skin care video in which people have blackheads, ear wax and cysts removed. Dr. Sandra Lee, a dermatologist known online as Dr. Pimple Popper, has 2.6 million YouTube subscribers to her videos of "pimples popped, blackheads extracted, cysts and lipomas excised."
Nina Strohminger, who wrote her philosophy dissertation on "The Hedonics of Disgust," told Cosmopolitan the desire to watching something painful isn't about wanting to hurt others but rather to experience something without having to personally deal with the pain.
"Negative sensations are interesting, particularly when you're in a context where they can't hurt you," she said. "You're probably not going to step in dog s---- just for the experience, but maybe you'd click on a link to watch someone else doing it."