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.
Natural beauty and modern med-spa technology converge at this spa and boutique situated a stone's throw from the Portland waterfront. Guests can anchor their boats and then dock themselves comfortably at the pedicure bar, where toes enjoy a refreshing dip in jade-colored basins before being softened with mandarin ginger essential oils. Leafy green walls flanked by potted palms and vases filled with tall grasses reflect the spa's preference for all-natural skincare lines, including products by Éminence Organic, while jet-black furniture and sharp track lighting hint at the cutting-edge services––including laser hair removal and pixel skin resurfacing––that await inside private treatment rooms. Still, the spa is most proud of its specialty organic treatments, including a blueberry-soy slimming wrap that aims to improve circulation and activate the lymphatic system and a champagne-mimosa sugar scrub that bids bon voyage to dead skin cells as it hydrates and tones the body.
Customer comfort is given top priority, and guests are invited to unwind pre- or posttreatment in the spa's relaxation room, where complimentary tea, wine, and water are always available. The staff also encourages clients coming to the spa from work to bring a change of clothes so they can head home afterward in their coziest sweatsuit or velour overalls.
From their cushy styling chairs, clients of Amoré Salon and Spa can watch shoppers bustle through the upscale Pearl District outside the studio's ample, sun-soaked windows. But in here, no one is in any hurry. With careful attention, the salon's artistic, fashion-forward hairstylists create one-of-a-kind coifs that run the gamut from multicolored punk looks to timeless bobs and long styles achieved with Great Lengths hair extensions. The extensions are crafted with real, ethically sourced human hair, and attach to existing locks with bonds that expand and contract just like the wearer's natural hair or peacock-like plumage.
In the spa realm, aestheticians revamp complexions with Jan Marini facials that target severe acne, dryness, or unsanctioned games of pore whack-a-mole. Waxing specialists don’t skimp on skincare either—in addition to using gentle Cirepil wax, facial-inspired treatments for backs and bikini lines reverse blemishes and discomfort caused by ingrown hairs. Nail specialists, meanwhile, make sure their art stays intact by finishing a number of manicures and pedicures with CND Shellac lacquers, which dry under a UV light to leave a mirrorlike finish that lasts up to 14 days.
"Always believe in miracles," urges Believe Spa Salon's website. And with the salon nestled on a quiet residential street, with ferns, wildflowers, and sun catchers overtaking the porch, Believe looks like something out of a fairy tale where miracles do happen. Inside the eclectically decorated salon, stylists perform these mini miracles: curly hair become straight, dark hair becomes light, long hair becomes short.
But it can't all be chalked up to hocus-pocus. Believe's stylists are highly trained and specialize in different facets of beauty, including owner Sherri Sullivan. Sherri's dedicated nearly 30 years to hairstyling, with extra training in Alfaparf Milano coloring and making red and brunet color last longer. Her understanding of facial shapes and color techniques, along with client consultations, means customers walk out of the salon with hairstyles tailored to their individual looks and needs.
In addition to hair services, Believe staffers also apply makeup for special occasions, such as weddings or trips to upscale grocery stores. And in a little cottage out back of the salon, licensed massage therapist Amy Rose Boren performs relaxing massages that soothe and de-stress aching bodies.
At Common Ground Wellness Center's two locations, diverse patrons seek health through holistic body treatments including therapeutic massage and acupuncture, and soak up relaxation in a bathhouse with an outdoor whirlpool and cedar sauna. The center's co-op location invites visitors of all genders to soak in the facility's swimsuit-optional spa throughout open sessions or during hours designated for male, female, or trans and genderqueer persons. Visitors who regularly use alternative transportation—including their bike, feet, or polar bear—can claim a complimentary soak or sauna on their 11th trip. An eclectic roster of 30 bodywork practitioners practices at both the co-op and 106 year-old Flanders House venues, healing clients' minds and bodies with hands-on massage and chiropractic therapies alongside naturopathic guidance and emotional counseling.
After years of training in fields ranging from psychology to chiropractic care, Dr. Laila Marie Noll decided to open Asula Wellness Center in 2006 as a single venue to ply her many trades. Aided by master instructors, she recommends yoga- and Pilates-centric exercise programs for her patients, which are conducted in private, one-on-one, onsite sessions. She also counsels patients on diet and helps them balance their hormone levels, a skill learned from hormone-treatment pioneer Dr. Daniel Kalish. Asula Wellness Center cultivates a soothing, eco-friendly environment with warm, rich earth tones, as well as furniture, fixtures, and robotic receptionists made from recycled and reclaimed materials. The United States government recognizes the building's environmental conscientiousness, granting it a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification for its commitment to conservation.