Seattle’s Beauty Scene Is More Than Skin Deep

This month's Editor's Note from Rachel Hart

By Rachel Hart

Face mask, spa beauty treatment. Woman applying facial clay mask at spa salon, skincare, side vies

April 16, 2019

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the April 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

It feels a little brazen (and maybe a bit reckless?) to put out an issue with a cover highlighting a beauty feature in 2019, when standards of beauty are so fluid. How is it measured? And who exactly is judging?

The wonderful thing about living in Seattle is that there really is no one beauty standard—yet there clearly is a desire for products and services. The number of local beauty products coming across our desks has tripled in the past couple of years, and the profusion of new spa treatments we learn about is also staggering and, in some cases, mind boggling (dry-ice cryotherapy, anyone?).

When we first started brainstorming about this feature with style and society writer Andrew Hoge and dining and lifestyle editor Chelsea Lin, it was clear we had come a long way since our beauty features of years past, with their round-ups of top stylists for cuts and color. The types of services that are delivered at a spa and salon have diversified in ways we never imagined.

“There is an entrepreneurial, tech-focused vibe here,” says Hoge of the Seattle beauty scene. And as a result, “People are much more open to experimenting. And you would be surprised by how many people are doing these treatments.”

Hoge notes, though, that a lot of people who are experimenting are not necessarily looking to make major alterations by means of full-on plastic surgery. Many of the treatments covered in this issue utilize dermal fillers and high-tech laser techniques that have shorter recovery times and are less invasive for getting what Hoge calls the “Northwest look.”

“The treatments that are out there aren’t designed to alter or change the shape or lines in the face, but are more subtle and incremental alterations that maintain an understated, elegant, natural look,” he says. “It’s our overall ‘I don’t want to be in the spotlight’ thing; a lot of people don’t want to be so showy and obvious.” 

We’ve also seen the Seattle ethos coming through in the products that are locally developed. “I haven’t found one company that doesn’t have a sustainability focus or a natural ingredient direction. People are trying to figure out what the best ingredients are beyond cocoa butter—using exotic fruits that work but don’t cause obvious changes.” 

So, yes, all those things our moms told us are right: Beauty comes from within. And indeed, there are infinite standards of beauty. But taking whatever steps we wish to celebrate the best version of ourselves, together with the desire to be unique, is the most Seattle beauty thing of all.

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