We’ve all seen them. The surprised housewife. The perma-poker face. The (RIP) Joan Rivers. Indeed, too many among us have taken their plumping and tucking regimens a step (or three) too far. But thanks to restrained practitioners like Lovely Laban, whose Skin by Lovely has grown so rapidly since 2014 that she tripled her clinic’s space in March, the ranks of Botox casualties are shrinking. “We don’t want you to look like someone else,” says Laban. “We want to bring out your best features.”
Detractors might scoff, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 9 million sessions of wrinkle-smoothing and cheekbone-plumping occurred in 2015—that’s 7 million more than in 2000. And judging by Portland’s explosion of clinics like Thrive Aesthetic, Fresh Faces Rx, and Pearl Medspa, plenty of your very normal, very youthful friends have indulged. Botox is not poison, Laban explains—it’s a purified protein strand that helps to relax facial muscles. And in 11 years of treating thousands of patients with it, she’s never seen a serious adverse reaction.
At the Pearl District clinic Laban cofounded with her husband, Jake, the small staff itself is a testament to the treatment’s results—you’ll have a hard time finding any saggy jowls here. The clinic focuses on both Botox and a variety of temporary dermal “fillers” such as Juvéderm, which are injected into the upper cheeks to lift the dreaded mouth parentheses, around the brow to dissolve the furrow, and even into the jaw to relax those clenched-teeth muscles.
Laban points out that the best anti-aging results come from a blend of great skin care, protection from the sun, and her staff’s tiny tweaks. Translation: they won’t inflate you into a Kardashian, and you still need to remember to moisturize.