Enumclaw's Abba Salon jumps on the 'makeover' bandwagon

Leisa Erwin adds color to Deborah Hansen
Leisa Erwin adds color to Deborah Hansen's hair, part of a complete makeover offered as a special promotion by Abba Salon and Day Spa. Photo by Brenda Sexton
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By Brenda Sexton, The Courier-Herald

New year - new you.

That was what Abba Salon and Day Spa owner Leisa Erwin was thinking when she conjured up the plan to present a lucky winner with a makeover on New Year's Eve.

She said she was inspired by the rash of television makeover shows and thought it would be a fun way to utilize the talented staff at her Enumclaw spa to make a local lady feel like queen for a day. "What I hope to achieve with these makeovers is these people discover a new side to their life," Erwin said.

From approximately 25 entries of women 50 years old and older, she selected Enumclaw's Deborah Hansen. But it wasn't just Hansen's Polaroid that won her a day of beauty; it was her story too.

"It was an opportunity to make a change in someone's life who is turning 50 this year," Erwin said. "Plus, she's never stepped into a spa before and she was looking for a new look for her son's wedding that is coming up in Chicago in April."

At first, even though she entered the contest, Hansen was a reluctant winner. She entered her mother-in-law, but as part of the deal, her mother-in-law in turn entered Hansen and told the story of how for 15 years she was a divorced, single mother of three sons, plus was raising a foster son, while working a construction job in historic preservation. The entry explained Hansen was seldom seen without wearing jeans and a hard hat. Seven years ago, the entry continued, she married her husband Phil and added two step-children to the family and started a birthday party business called Discover This Hands-on Learning.

Hansen also spent a year in a wheelchair with Milroy's, a degenerative lymphatic condition that causes her legs to swell.

During that time, the entry stated, "it never dampened her generosity, even when the boys and she had very little."

Hansen, in turn, inspired Erwin.

"She really wanted to make a change in her life," Erwin said.

Her family has never seen her in a dress. She'd never had a facial, manicure or dyed her graying strawberry blonde, naturally curly hair. It had been nearly 20 years since she'd went on a shopping expedition like Erwin took her on at Nordstrom in Tacoma looking for the perfect outfit.

"I keep telling them, I don't do this," Hansen said Wednesday at the spa. "I go in and redo houses and it's one thing. To go and have someone redo you, that's something else.

"Leisa's been a peach."

By the time Erwin and her crew were finished, Hansen said she didn't recognize the woman in the mirror.

In addition to the facial and manicure, Hansen's brows were shaped and both brows and lashes were tinted. Her graying ringlets were dyed a shiny copper, cut, styled and temporarily straightened with a flat iron.

Erwin said "the works" would typically cost $350.

A final touch of makeup was applied before she donned the new plum, long, a-line dress with matching jacket.

The day also included lunch provided by Cafe Panini; a dozen, long-stemmed red roses from Buds and Blooms; limousine service from HH Limousine of Enumclaw; and dinner on New Year's Eve for Hansen, her husband and friends and family at Coho's Steak and Seafood Grill in Buckley. There wasn't time in the day for the teeth whitening service Dr. Brent Skovmand's office is providing, which will come another day.

Erwin plans to turn the makeover into an annual New Year's Eve event and to also create a man's makeover version for Father's Day.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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