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.
Sarah Hicks, owner of The Owl Massage & Spa LLC, helms a staff of skilled therapists who uncoil tense sinews with massages that incorporate techniques from around the world. When they aren’t alleviating stress or mending injuries with Swedish, hot-stone, and deep-tissue massages, Sarah and her fellow specialists tend to bodies with the ashiatsu method, a Japanese technique remarkable for its reliance on bare feet rather than hands. When employing this technique—which feels somewhat like a much deeper Swedish massage—the therapists balance themselves on clients' backs by grasping an overhead ceiling bar before carefully walking across sore muscles. Aside from these private massage sessions, The Owl's therapists teach massage techniques to couples and host game-day parties for University of Oregon football fans tense from watching third-down conversions or hoisting sports-drink coolers to pour on the fans seated in front of them.
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.
Since 1977, Cascade Athletic Clubs have distinguished themselves from typical gyms with their vast array of amenities, which range from big-screen TVs to a seasonal waterpark. In their fitness studios, instructors boost students’ flexibility during Pilates workouts, lead seniors through age-appropriate workout techniques during Silver Sneakers classes, or teach students how to dance to fast-paced music during Zumba. The dedicated team of personal trainers, meanwhile, help athletes stay motivated on a one-on-one basis, and tailor their regimens to individual goals that range from weight loss to preparing for an upcoming marathon. For independent workouts, athletes can play pick up games on the gyms’ basketball, tennis, and racquetball courts or swim laps in the indoor salt-water pools. They can also bulk up with Life Fitness machines, free weights, and Stair Masters designed to build strong enough leg muscles to conquer even the most daunting out-of-order escalator.
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 doctors and staff of MediPro Direct Slim use a truly holistic approach to weight loss—that is, they target fat from both the inside and out. Their arsenal of noninvasive fat-reduction technology handles the job from the outside, calling on lasers, sound waves, and mechanical massage to flush fat from the body in treatments that can be performed in as little as a lunch break. The Cavi-Lipo system, meanwhile, uses ultrasound energy to painlessly perforate fat cells in a treatment that has been demonstrated in real-time at trade shows and featured on Dr. Oz.
To spur weight loss from within, the team offers a number of effective weight-loss programs. According to the client's body type and weight loss goals, the experts can devise a regimen that incorporates specialized protein or low-calorie nutrition plans to help bodies shed pounds and gain energy.