By James Bash
For the Hollywood Star News
You might think that blending sugar cubes, lemon juice, and water into a paste to remove hair is some kind of strange, new-fangled fad, but you’d be wrong. It’s an ancient Egyptian art called “sugaring,” and it’s standard practice at The Portland Girl, a new beauty salon that aims to change the way women think about their skincare.
Launched in mid-April by Anna Long and Jessica Daniels, The Portland Girl is located at 915 N.E. Oneonta St. in the Woodlawn building, which happens to be the city’s newest mixed-use sustainable apartment building.
Not knowing anything about beauty products, I had to ask Long directly what the sugaring process is all about. According to her, sugaring is a wonderful way to remove unwanted hair and much better than Brazilian waxing, which can be very painful.
“Sugaring is an all-natural form of hair removal,” explained Long. “It doesn’t burn the skin. You pull hair out in the direction of the hair growth. So there’s less likelihood of ingrown hairs. Sugaring uses sugar, lemon, and water. It is sweet tasting, and you could eat the paste, which looks like honey, but the process is messy. You have to flick the sugar paste, and that is what removes the hair. In the process, sometimes the paste can flick wildly all over the floor or the wall.”
It turns out that Long is one of the few people who have enough expertise to teach others how to do sugaring. She instructs estheticians from all over the nation.
“The learning curve for sugaring is really steep,” noted Long. “That’s why people haven’t heard about it. It takes a lot of practice and is definitely an art form. It can take a little bit longer than strip waxing. Sugaring pulls the hair out from the root, which is the follicle. Over time, repeated sugaring leads to less hair growth and more refined hair growth. It is not like shaving your legs. We can also do this on women’s faces, but not men’s.”
Long’s has a lot of experience in the skincare business, including being in charge of a successful skincare studio in Northwest Portland. After four years of running that business, she sold it, and then became a strategist for similar companies. Somewhere along the way, she decided to travel to Asia and to experience some first-hand research by visiting spas and massages studios.
“I went to China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos,” recalled Long. “I wrote about it in my blog, The Traveling Esthetician. I was able to experience a lot of different techniques and style. All of these places used different ingredients and had a different focus. I was on a blogger’s budget so I didn’t go to the high-end ones. I probably went to 25 different places in 2.5 months of traveling. In Thailand, I did two places a day. Yep, I was busy being pampered!”
There are a handful of other studios in town, but The Portland Girl is probably the smallest, and the staff emphasizes blending Eastern and Western styles.
“All of my gals have had energy work training,” said Long. “We try to mix cutting-edge science and skincare products with energy work. The approaches that we use are all very natural. A lot of our products are organic and the ones that aren’t don’t contain fragrances and chemicals. We want to make sure that our customers know that what they’ve purchased won’t have side effects.”
The Portland Girl offers several signature services that would appeal to women before going on a date: First date, Second base, and Triple Threat. A monthly Beauty Happy Hour rotates through a list of specials. For the details on these offers and other specials, just take a look at theportlandgirl.com. The website provides a lot of information, including the fact that The Portland Girl gives a percentage of its proceeds to the Dougy Center, a non-profit for children.