As an aesthetician with more than 20 years of experience and a former chemist with Christian Dior, Helene Lawless knows a thing or two about skincare. The French native opened Be Smooth after growing tired of lengthy spa visits that left a dent in her own wallet. She decided to offer affordable treatments with products and equipment that she has found to be effective over her years as an aesthetician and spa-goer. As a result, she and her team nourish skin using the with organic plant extracts in the Pevonia Botanica line, natural Nuxe products, and Shea Terra Organics with fair-trade shea butters and argan oils. Lawless has also tracked down innovative aesthetic techniques such as VIP Complex's infrared and microcurrent treatments, IPL photofacials with light heat energy (LHE), and hair removal with the gel-based Depilar System.
Lawless prides herself not only on the budget-friendliness of her services, but also on the unintimidating “non-spa” ambience of her beauty haven. Guests relax at a white-on-white facial bar for a deep cleansing, and a boutique area offers European-style gifts such as fragrant Aquiesse soy candles and jewelry by Miravidi and Caracol. According to a 2011 article in the Oregonian, "even the music that can be heard from the front door is French." Just as charming is Lawless' French accent, which, like a lullaby sung by a lemur, is both soothing and exotic.
Hair Today's Jamie Lloyd harnesses her 17 years of experience to transform manes with stylish haircuts and color treatments. As an Aveda-trained educator, she uses the lines’ botanical-based products to restore hair from the duress of environmental aggressors and head pats from strangers. When not revamping ‘dos, Jamie is revealing luminous skin with waxing sessions and hydrating facials. All services are complemented by soothing extras such as hot towels and botanical conditioning treatments.
If the atmosphere inside The Cat's Meow strikes first-time visitors as particularly familial, the reason may be that the salon’s proprietors share more than aesthetic expertise—all three of them are sisters. For more than 20 years, Melissa Raynak, Pixie Melton, and Meghan Mowbray—along with their team of aestheticians and nail technicians—have pampered skin and nails with treatments that range from basic facials and express pedicures to all-inclusive spa-day packages. In each of their skin-therapy treatments, the spa’s aestheticians employ professional products that eschew mineral oil, lanolin, and allergens such as gluten to ensure that skin responds positively. Armed with bottles of OPI polish and paraffin wax, they turn their attention to fingers and toes to soften calluses and fluff nail beds.
Free Spirit Skincare owner Rene' Halstead started out as a nail technician before earning a master's certification through Creative Nail Design for acrylic application. The multitalented aesthetician and her award-winning team cleanse and nourish faces using Dermalogica products and fragrant essential oils, and transform 'dos with color, cuts, and weaves. Halstead is licensed in cosmetic and body tattooing, specializing in permanent-makeup application, and—having trained at the renowned Gauntlet body-jewelry mecca in San Francisco—is certified to pierce earlobes or navels while seated atop a skirted horse. She stays ahead of industry trends with ongoing education through the International Dermal Institute and the American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles. Helpful assistants are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
The soft aroma of Aveda’s plant-based shampoos and styling products wafts through Aveda Avenue Salon Spa. At their stations, stylists cut and color manes, conditioning dry, damaged strands with botanical treatments that harness the power of plant oils and quinoa proteins. Small touches enhance the rest of the services: After sipping complimentary mugs of soothing tea, clients enjoy facials that can include special add-on treatments for the eyes and back. Similarly, clients can enhance their manicures and pedicures with warm paraffin dips and hot-stone massages.
Vases of green bamboo accent the salon’s stone walls and earth tones. The natural decor reflects its proclivity for environmentally friendly products and brooding park rangers.