After working as a paralegal for 12 years, Jane Cowan realized that shuckin' and jivin' for the man wasn't her thing. So, she became an aesthetician and started her own business three years ago, and now she has about 200 regular clients, many of whom are local notables immersed in Portland's creative scenes. Thanks to the connections she's made as a musician, fan, and all-around party girl, she's the go-to aesthetician for top-notch waxing and facials among PDX's happenin' set. (It also doesn't hurt that she's buckets of fun, outgoing, and was married to Larry Crane, founder of Jackpot! Recording Studio and Tape Op magazine.) Her people skills make all the difference when she's performing intimate procedures like bikini waxes and zit-popping, during which all sorts of things can come up—such as the client who nervously had to explain her S&M fetish when she came to a waxing appointment with a purple ass. But Jane doesn't dish on her more gossip-worthy clients; discretion is key with her, and you can bet she'll put the beat-down on the drunken dude at the bar if he asks about the beard on so-and-so's clam.
What do you enjoy more: waxing or facials?Waxing. It suits my ADD. It's quick, and it gets immediate results, which is fun for everyone, and I live for fun. Brazilians are the most common service I provide. I won't do men, though. I have in the past, and it was sometimes uncomfortable. I don't need that vibe.
What's the grossest thing you've had to do?Nothing fazes me. I'm a mom: I've been shat on, vomited on, diarrhea... If someone farts in my face, I just deflect it by talking about how gassy I was the other day, or if someone has a little poop on their butt, I'll just wipe it away, and they won't even notice. Sometimes people have been wearing their jeans all day and have what I call "low tide," when it just smells a little gamey. It really doesn't faze me, and yet I'm bashful and horrified when I get waxed myself.
I know aestheticians don't advocate at-home zit popping, but everyone does it. Since we're going to anyway, got any tips?If it's a huge pustule and you just can't—emphasize can't—live with yourself without popping it, put a warm washcloth on it, or take a hot shower to soften it up. Wrap the ends of your fingers in tissue, and gently press it out—don't force it. Get the puss off the skin ASAP—it's an infection, and you should treat it like one. Wash it before and after popping, and treat it like you would a wound, with Neosporin or tea tree oil. For blackheads, clay masks, salicylic acid, and exfoliation help. MARJORIE SKINNER