The Best Beauty Spots in Portland for Your Post-Mask Glow-Up
Saturday begins a brave new mask optional world in Oregon—but is the lower half of your face ready?
After all, many of us have spent almost all of the last two years covering up chin-to-nose, ear-to-ear. That means any unwanted hair growth, acne, any wrinkles or open pores have been dutifully—mercifully!—out of sight.
That's all about to change, however, and local aestheticians say that there’s been a run on their services in recent weeks, as many prepare to unmask. Here’s where to go, who to see and what to get, if you’re getting ready to face forward.
3377 SE Division St #103, North Tabor
“Oh, this is a thing – my books are so busy next week,” says Tia Phung, a licensed esthetician who has a space at Luminary Salon on SE Division. “People are ready.”
Phung recommends a dermaplaning facial ($135), which she says is a twofer, getting rid of both dead skin and peach fuzz in one go. “It’s also anti-aging—it helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles,” Phung says. Bonus: This treatment, which uses a fine facial scalpel is non-invasive, and won’t leave your skin red and bumpy post-facial. Results last for six weeks.
She also offers a tried-and-true facial wax options. Pick an individual cheeks, lip or chin wax for $16 apiece, or do your whole face, including your brows, for $73. Phung favors a hard wax for facial treatments, which are applied at a cooler temperature to “shrink wrap around the hair” so that when removed, you lose your hair, and not your skin. Treatments last for about three or four weeks, depending on your hair growth patterns.
The Wit Aesthetics + Wellness
5136 NE Garfield Ave, King
At The Wit, which opened on NE Garfield during the pandemic, there’s been a recent rush of appointments, particularly for “skin-tightening” treatments and luxe facials, says Lyndsey Hull, the owner. Worn day in and day out, some people have found that tight-fitting masks can irritate their skin, she says, leading some people to turn to treatments like micro-needling and chemical peels for some relief; the center also offers a full menu of Botox options, should that be your flavor of the month.
The Wit’s Instagram account has been highlighting lip fillers of late, an injection of juvederm, that plumps up lips (though not necessarily to Kardashian-style heights.) Treatments aren’t cheap—a one hour, full syringe will run you $799—but the effects are long-lasting.
Helene Lawless at Be Smooth
412 NW 13th Ave, Downtown
“During the pandemic, a lot of people had maskne, leading to quite a bit of pigmentation and scarring,” says Helene Lawless, owner at Downtown’s Be Smooth. Her recommendation? Lactic peels, to help shed the extra cells and pigment. “A little spring cleaning,” is how she describes it, a process she says is easy for all skin types, even sensitive ones.
Masks, she says, have not been kind to our skin. “People that had a tendency to break out, they got maskne. If they were sensitive, they got super sensitive. People that were super dry got even drier,” says Lawless. The lactic peel, offered at Be Smooth for $50, is a quick, lunchtime fix to “bring radiance" to pandemic-jaded skin. "Immediate gratification, and it's good for your skin,” says Lawless. “That would be my first [post-masks] recommendation.”
Fresh Faces RX
1255 NW 9th Ave #107, Downtown
Fresh Faces RX can start you out with a skin consultation if you’re not sure which way to turn—their suite of facials can be a little staggering for a newbie—but if your issues include spidery lines, crater-sized pores, scarring, pigmentation problems or plain old saggy skin, all signs point to microneedling.
The idea? Your Fresh Faces RX aesthetician will “glide” a pen-like device with revolving needles around your face and neck to stimulate collagen in your epidermis. Upside? Improved skin texture, reduced scarring, and the sense of relaxation you get from just lying down and being looked after for a hot second. The downside? You’ll be red as the Broadway Bridge for some 24 hours after your treatment. Aestheticians often recommend a three-treatment package for $799, but one-offs go for $299.
Smile Labs PDX
3215 NE Broadway #250, Grant Park
If you've found yourself occasionally "forgetting" to brush in the morning before rushing onto a Zoom call, because no one is around to be witness to your coffee breath, or skipping brushing for a night or two because who even cares, then Smile Labs PDX has got you and your “quaran-teeth” covered.
Owned and operated by Lisa Kiraly, (coiner of the above ‘quaran-teeth’), Smile Labs offers teeth whitening services starting at $99 using hydrogen peroxide and blue light to whiten stained teeth.
“A lot of people are going [back] to work and their co-workers or customers have never seen their full face,” says Kiraly. “I do think people are coming in because of the mask mandate, just to you know, make themselves feel good.”
909 SW St Claire Ave, Goose Hollow
Gua sha: an ancient Chinese medicinal practice used that has been used for hundreds of years, and, simultaneously, a brand-new fad taking over YouTube beauty channels. To get the skinny on Gua sha from a more reliable source than your TikTok FYP expert, we turned to Scrape PDX.
Southwest's Scrape PDX, run by owner Tressa Hoffman, offers services including deep-tissue massage, traditional relaxation massage, myofascial release, and Hoffman’s rec for the ultimate post-mask glow up: facial Gua sha, which she has specialized in for over nine years.
Facial Gua sha is a massage technique that uses a flat-edged tool (oftentimes made of jade) and oil to glide over certain areas of the face, which is said to stimulate blood flow, encourage lymphatic drainage, break down scar tissue and any unhealthy buildup of collagen, and improve muscle tone. Hoffman recommends facial Gua sha for puffiness, acne scarring, wrinkles, sinus pressure, or jaw tension. Session prices begin at $60, and for $100, Hoffman offers Gua sha training, to those who want to learn how to practice Gua sha at home.