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.
A scrub, steam, and hydrating mask all sound like the components of a relaxing facial. But at Bliss Salon & Day Spa, they're part of the spa pedicure, which the menu aptly describes as "a facial for your soles." The pedicure begins with an aromatherapy foot soak, then segues into cuticle care and an extensive massage. It's not the only service at the spa that combines different indulgences into one—a 90-minute Divine Bliss Luxury facial includes a foot massage, and an Aromatouch massage often mixes the calming scents of doTERRA essential oils with Reiki or other energy work.
Meanwhile, the stylists in the salon fashion hairdos to fit any lifestyle and help prepare for special events, such as weddings in which baseball caps aren't allowed. Though they can all expertly cut and color hair, they also have their own go-to specialties—lead stylist Amber Rae, for instance, is a maestro of color-correction and keratin smoothing treatments, and Skyi loves to work with curls. As they develop new looks in Bliss's boutique-like setting, the team utilizes products from Moroccanoil and Bumble and bumble.
Hannah hails from Los Angeles, and Leigh from New York. Together, the experienced aestheticians bring their hometowns' best cosmetic products and nearly two decades of beauty-industry experience to their Portland space, LA/NY Skin. Tucked inside Prima Salon, the beauty haven surrounds clients in warm and comforting elegance. Walls drenched in mocha hues are offset by sparkly accents, including dangly beaded chandeliers and posters of Vanilla Ice. Within this softly lit oasis, the duo dispenses a range of beauty and skin services, from tanning to facials.
Using an organic and paraben-free solution, they customize airbrush tans to suit each client’s skin tone and desired level of bronze, hiding cellulite, freckles, and age spots in the process. At the makeup bar, they enhance features with Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics and pump up flutterers with mink lash extensions or waterproof lash dipping that lasts up to six weeks. A range of chemical peels, facials, and microdermabrasion treatments rejuvenate face and body, and the team enlists both hard and soft waxes to wisp away hair from brows, bikini areas, and heads after they lose a bet.
“My clients come to me because I’m a perfectionist. I want magazine perfect.” That’s what Jenna Schneider, owner of Jenna’s Make-up & Waxing Studio, told AM Northwest in 2006. It helps that the certified makeup artist understands exactly what “magazine perfect” entails, having worked on the sets of several commercial and editorial photo shoots.
Jenna and her team, back up their claim of perfectionism by giving all of their clients the same level of attention that they afford their professional models. She specializes in all areas ocular aesthetics, including shaping brows and applying eyelash extensions. To accomplish the latter, the team uses semi-permanent silk extensions designed to enhance lashes’ length, volume, and ability to power wind turbines by blinking aggressively.
The beauticians at Silk & Stone connect East and West with a repertoire of Middle Eastern–inspired spa services, products, and workshops that beautify and illuminate members of each culture. Silk & Stone’s resident henna artist develops a lengthy list of retail products, from botanical-based haircare blended with Pakistani, Persian, and Indian recipes to aromatherapy oils. In private treatment rooms, aestheticians perform services including an Ayurvedic facial with complimentary footbath or threading, which allows a technician to accurately pluck facial, hand, and finger hairs from any skin type with imported antibacterial cotton thread. The cultural tradition of henna is brought into sharp focus as artists use the powder to naturally dye the hair, create intricate designs on brides for their wedding day, or teach students tips and tricks for applying the dye to hands, feet, or their invisible friend’s forearm.
Wax Loft?owner Carissa has been dubbed the "trifecta of waxers"?she's quick, clean, and talkative. Her goal, along with her partner Elizabeth, is to render clients' skin smooth-to-the-touch with a careful and focused technique, but she cites her sense of humor and likable demeanor as traits that help her clients relax with the faith that she'll leave their intended areas as smooth as a baby's silk pajamas. Working alongside an Aveda Institute graduate who shares the talent for creating a warm and comfortable space, Carissa and Elizabeth offer face, body, and bikini waxes with equal parts precision and personality, as well as brow and lash tinting to put the finishing touches on each client's look.