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.
At 50th Avenue Salon, clients needn't twiddle their thumbs as they wait for color treatments to sink into their hair. Instead, they can recline in a massage chair for a soothing upper-body treatment, which is charged by the minute. The salon staff members encourage the mixing and matching of their respective services, enabling clients to depart the space fully confident and refreshed. Clients can pair cuts with temporary hair or feather extensions that add vibrant streaks without dye. Several of the stylists specialize in crafting boldly tinted dos; they don't shy from bright blonds, reds, and even purples. Nail technicians pamper hands and feet with mani-pedis, and private massages take place on a table or a thai mat, where the therapist guides physiques through soothing stretches.
Regardless of the reason for their appointment, clients remain surrounded by sunny, pastel yellow walls. Works by local artists decorate the space on a rotating basis, allowing new painters to showcase their talent and removing old pictures before they grow stale when chewed. Handcrafted bags and jewelry also hang in the boutique area, flanking shelves of Paul Mitchell, TIGI, and Aquage products available for purchase.
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.
Beauty isn't just what clients seek at Hey Beautiful Salon and Spa; it's also what they see, since the space is lined with brick walls and antique accents. Within this striking setting, owner Kimberly Schoene—an established hairstylist who was featured on KOIN News—and her team of stylists cut, color, and style manes with organic Keune haircare products. In the adjoining spa, clients find treatments including Lumière LED light therapy, galvanic sessions, and foot detoxes. The built-in blending bar provides all the necessary ingredients and tools for beauticians to personally mix body butters, massage oils, and batches of Flubber for clients.
An advocate of eco-friendly living, Schoene only fills the salon with organic, cruelty-free, and all-natural beauty products and eco-safe detergent. She donates hair clippings to both Matter Of Trust—a nonprofit that weaves hair mats to help soak up oil spills—and Locks of Love.
Ernest Brooks, doesn't just want his clients to look great. He also wants them to feel great because they're choosing to use organic beauty therapies. As the owner and master stylist at HairapyPDX Organic Salon, he has stocked his shelves with three different organic hair color lines (two for women, one for men) that are ammonia-free, and instead made using ingredients such as grape-seed extract, vitamin B5, and rice amino acid. The formulas also have UVA and UVB protection, which helps prevent color from fading or melting in the sun.
In that spirit, the aestheticians under Ernest's guidance use Eminence, a bio-dynamic Hungarian line harvested from fruits, vegetables, and herbs for what Ernest calls "farm-to-face skincare." Elsewhere in the spa, massage therapists perform shiatsu massages that target pressure points while helping to disperse the flow of energy throughout the body, and nail artists pamper hands and feet with soothing manicures and pedicures.