Courtesy photo

As the summer months approach, excitement builds for vacations, festivities, and photo ops galore. And for those looking to enhance their appearance without invasive procedures, the popularity of injectables and laser treatments is on the rise.

But, with so many non-surgical treatment options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start.

To help navigate the world of "tweakments," we've compiled a comprehensive guide featuring three top non-invasive beauty treatments for both the face and body, complete with insights from trusted experts in the field. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of non-surgical beauty, consider this your go-to resource for all things trending right now.


For those who crave radiant, glowing skin but don't want to undergo an invasive laser treatment, there's a solution that's been taking the beauty world by storm: Moxi. This non-ablative laser has been on the market for about a year, and it's been hailed as a safe and effective option for correcting sun damage, uneven skin tone, texture, and signs of aging — all in a quick 15 to 20 minute session.

According to Randy Rakes, managing partner and esthetician at Nuveau Plastic Surgery, Moxi delivers fractionated laser energy to the skin to promote new cell growth and reduce unwanted pigment. And the best part? There's no need for extensive downtime or recovery.

A typical appointment starts with 30 minutes of numbing to the treated area. Then, the esthetician gives each section of the treated area several passes with Moxi, and the whole process is over within an hour. Patients can wear makeup within 24 hours of treatment and are encouraged to wear sunscreen and hydrating facial cream.

For optimal results, Rakes recommends using Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar with the Moxi treatment. This nectar is used to pre-treat the skin and helps with post-procedure swelling. He suggests that patients use it twice a day for two weeks before the treatment and two weeks after to maximize the results.

Rakes also suggests having at least three treatments to see the best results. Although there are no side effects and downtime, patients may experience microscopic epidermal necrotic debris or MENDs — debris pulled out of the skin during the Moxi treatment. These are often compared to coffee grounds or sandpaper and resolve on their own within a week of treatment.

Ideal Candidate: Anyone with pigment, fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. It is safe for all skin types and can be used year round, as it is a non-ablative treatment.

Benefits: Treats fine lines, wrinkles, texture, enlarged pores, and unwanted pigment.

Downtime: None

Moxi is a non-ablative laser has been on the market for about a year, and it's been hailed as a safe and effective option for correcting sun damage, uneven skin tone, texture, and signs of agingPhoto by Moxi


Neurotoxins such as Botox and Dysport have been a go-to for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles for years. However, those constantly booking appointments for injections will be pleased to learn that a new product that will increase the time between treatments has hit the market.

Daxxify debuted in December 2022 as a longer-lasting wrinkle-smoothing product, FDA-approved to last up to six months, with initial studies showing that it could even last up to nine months in some patients. Dr. Kristy Hamilton, MD, FACS at Westlake Dermatology, was among the first to offer the new treatment in Houston.

Dr. Hamilton strongly advocates Daxxify and even tried the product on herself as her first patient. She is thrilled with the results so far and has incorporated it into her practice, saying that she has "fully incorporated Daxxify into my Signature Facial Optimization, where I make tiny, subtle, finesse, micro-adjustments to the face — strategically injecting neuromodulator (Daxxify or Botox or the like) and dermal fillers to the entire face. This non-surgical procedure brings the facial features into balance, symmetry, and proportion to maximize global facial beauty."

While Daxxify lasts longer than traditional neurotoxins, it comes with a hefty price tag. According to Dr. Hamilton, the treatment is around 70 percent more expensive than traditional treatments, but with double the duration, regular maintenance treatments can actually result in cost savings.

There is no downtime with Daxxify, but Dr. Hamilton advises her patients to avoid blood thinners, alcohol, and same-day exercise before and after treatments. She also stresses the importance of choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist with a profound understanding of facial anatomy and artistry to ensure optimal aesthetic results.

Ideal candidate: Anyone who enjoys the youthful rejuvenating results of Botox or Dysport, yet desires a longer-lasting, more durable aesthetic outcome.

Benefits: Daxxify creates a radiant foundation of glowing, smooth healthy skin with a glass-like appearance as it treats fine lines and wrinkles.

Downtime: None

Daxxify debuted in December 2022 as a longer-lasting wrinkle-smoothing product, FDA-approved to last up to six months, with initial studies showing that it could even last up to nine months in some patients.Photo courtesy of Daxxify

EmSculpt Neo

When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and a balanced diet are key. However, sometimes targeted efforts are necessary to achieve specific goals, especially with bikini season fast approaching. Enter EmSculpt Neo – the perfect lunchtime appointment that can give patients the extra boost they are looking for.

As the first FDA-cleared device to combine electromagnetic energy with radiofrequency, EmSculpt Neo builds muscle and reduces fat in targeted areas without downtime. Just one 30-minute session targeting the abs is equivalent to doing 300 crunches, while a treatment targeting the glutes is the equivalent of 300 squats.

According to Cynthia Vasquez, a medical aesthetician at Dr. Roth Plastic Surgery, EmSculpt Neo is especially effective for patients who regularly work out the muscle groups they plan on treating. Although abs and glutes are two of the most commonly treated areas in their practice, EmSculpt Neo can also be used on the calves, arms, and thighs.

During a 30-minute appointment, patients relax in a dimly lit room while hooked up to the EmSculpt Neo device, which takes their muscles through a series of intense contractions. Depending on the muscle location and patient's tolerance, Vasquez and her team tailor the treatment to meet their individual needs.

Vasquez stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to complement the benefits of the treatment. She recommends four to six appointments spaced one week apart, followed by monthly maintenance sessions for optimal results.

Ideal candidate: Anyone with a good diet and exercise habits already incorporated into their routine, but wants an extra boost to tone muscles and burn fat.

Benefits: Muscle growth and toning while also reducing fat.

Downtime: None

As the first FDA-cleared device to combine electromagnetic energy with radiofrequency, EmSculpt Neo builds muscle and reduces fat in targeted areas without downtime.Photo by EmSculpt Neo

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner delivers his 'best' in rousing, final State of the City address

leaving it better

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has garnered a reputation locally, regionally, and nationally as a calm, measured civic leader. But during his final State of the City address on September 27, the two-term mayor sounded more passionate preacher than politician, trading podium for pulpit.

"We are diverse, yet inclusive,” Turner fervently declared to an energetic crowd of some 1,500 at the Hilton Americas hotel ballroom downtown. “We are greener, more compassionate, more united, and more forward-moving than we ever imagined, but at the same time, we work every day to be inclusive. We are greener, more compassionate, more united, and more forward-moving than we can ever imagine.”

Turner drew several ovations, but none more rousing and zealous than his final line: “What I can say to Houstonians is that I have given you my best,” he said, his voice momentarily breaking with raw emotion, “and I am proud of the city that I shall pass forward.”

It’s not hyperbole to say Turner’s eventful time in office could fill a book; each luncheon table received a copy of A Winning Legacy, a new book chronicling his eight years as mayor.

“Not anxious to leave...”

Boasting an eight-year run that saw seven federally designated natural disasters in eight years, a Super Bowl, and two World Series championships — to say nothing of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown and the local fallout from the George Floyd murder — Turner was unapologetically proud of his record and showed no intention of departing.

“Let me just be clear: I am not anxious to leave,” he said flatly, “and if I could run again, I would,” that line also eliciting lively cheers. To the next mayor (Turner joked that he switched channels when watching the recent mayoral candidate debate), he warned: “Be careful of what you promise. Be careful on how you criticize, because you haven’t looked under the hood.” He also reassured the next mayor of Houston that it’s occasionally okay to “U-turn” on a campaign promise if the situation calls for it.

He roused the audience by reminding them of the many trials Houston faced over his two terms. Putting it in perspective, Houston First chairman David Mincberg described 2016 when Turner took office as, “pre-hurricane, pre-COVID, pre Beyoncé setting Houston aglow this past weekend,” adding that when disaster struck, Tuner was known for “calling early and often.”

A bright future

His sense of accomplishment was evident when he described the city he will leave for his successor — especially the long-disputed budget. “I will hand to — whoever the next mayor will be — instead of $160 million in the hole, we’ll give you a surplus of nearly $420 million,” he said to rousing applause.

Pension liability, another fiercely contested issue, was another proud accomplishment Turnter touted, noting that the City's pension liability is now $2.2 billion, considerably lower than $8.2 billion when he took office.

Always an advocate for expansion and development, Turner noted that Houston will receive nearly $2 billion in the coming years to transform the convention center, surrounding district, and the downtown area, a project that he says will “re-stitch neighborhoods” and serve as a “keystone” for future development. The Sunnyside Solar Farm — the only one of its kind in the U.S., will be operational in 2024, he added. A new, cutting-edge Solid Waste Northeast Transfer Station will open in 2025, and the North Canal Stormwater Project and the Lake Livingston Flood Water-gates in Kingwood are in initial design stages.

Another key city project, the I-45 Expansion Project, is moving forward as Houston’s expansion continues to boom.

A pro-business champion of innovation, Turner also harked to The Ion, a hub of innovation. “Houston is a smart city,” he said of the explosion in innovation here. In a nod to Houston’s unmatched diversity, Turner noted that the Ismaili Center, just the seventh in the world, will soon open its doors to all.

His one regret? “I would’ve loved to have the bullet train moving.”

Build forward

To build a city, Turner later said during a Q&A session, leadership must “build forward, not backwards.” Turner credited his daughter, Ashley, in his future-minded approach. “Dad, don’t build a city for people your age and older,” Turner recalled his daughter advising, “build a city for people my age and younger.” The proud Dad also noted that Ashley told him that “Houston needs pop and sizzle,” though both are certainly evident. “You have to be futuristic in your thinking,” the mayor advised.

The fast-paced event saw Turner recognize a host of city employees, cut a birthday cake, and grin as Houston-born comedian Mo Amer led the crowd in a “Happy Birthday” singalong. Amer, whom Turner gifted with a recent Mo Amer Day honoring the success of his smash Netflix show, cracked to Turner that he was “the greatest mayor we’ve had the last eight years.” When Turner quipped that he’d like a guest starring spot on Mo, Amer assured him of a role: “Oh yeah, you’ll be Guy No. 4.”

Wrapping a farewell keynote address that spanned myriad emotions, Turner was reflective when asked about his next move. “That is in God’s hands,” he said, adding that “I’m going to take the time to soak it all in.”

While his term ends on December 31 this year and his future has yet to crystalize, Turner said savored each and every day of his term — and he is satisfied.

“Whatever comes next for me will be icing on the cake.”

Meet the dynamic duo behind the MFAH's French fine dining restaurant, plus our visit to Balboa Surf Club

What's Eric Eating Episodes 316 and 317

On this week’s interview episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chef Alain Verzeroli and Felipe Botero join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Le Jardinier. Developed by Verzeroli, the French fine dining restaurant celebrates vegetables with seasonal menus that draw upon local ingredients.

The conversation begins with Verzeroli explaining how his first meal at a two-star Michelin restaurant inspired him to enter the world of professional cooking. Ultimately, he came to be employed by legendary French chef Joël Robuchon where Verzeroli would earn three Michelin stars as the executive chef of Le Restaurant de Joël Robuchon in Tokyo. He tells the incredible story of how he came to work for Robuchon, and, as he explains in the interview, how spending almost 20 years in Japan inspired him to create Le Jardinier.

“What I learned in Japan is respect for nature. They celebrate the sakura, the cherry blossom, the autumn leaves falling from the trees,” he says. “They have a sense of having a picnic to celebrate the cherry trees that only lasts a couple of days at most. Pausing the crazy rhythm of life just to be in tune with nature. For me, it was something I was discovering, this link to the rhythm of nature. That’s the reason I created Le Jardinier — to be more in sync with nature.”

Le Jardinier Felipe Botero Alain VerzeroliChefs Felipe Botero and Alain Verzeroli are this week's guests.Photo by Alex Montoya

Listen to the full interview to hear Verzeroli’s opinion on whether the Michelin guide should begin evaluating Texas restaurants. Botero offers insights into the restaurant’s day-to-day operations and previews its newly launched happy hour menu.

On this week’s news episode, Sandler and co-host Felice Sloan discuss the following topics: the Houston restaurants included in the New York Times’s latest list; the closures of Kim Son’s Stafford location and Pho Binh by Night; and the latest delays in the reopening of Montrose staple Baba Yega.

In the restaurant of the week segment, Sloan and Sandler share first impressions of Balboa Surf Club, the new seafood restaurant from the Dallas-based restaurant group behind il Bracco. After discussing their favorite dishes, they weigh in on when they would choose to dine at Balboa versus Navy Blue and Little’s Oyster Bar.


Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Sunday at noon on ESPN 97.5.

CultureMap Wine Guy Chris Shepherd on a must-attend dinner at March toasting French wines

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Editor's note: Long before Chris Shepherd became a James Beard Award-winning chef, he developed enough of a passion for wine to work at Brennan's of Houston as a sommelier. He maintains that interest to this day. When Chris expressed interest in writing about wine-related topics for CultureMap, we said yes.

In this week's column, he tells us about a special wine dinner at one of his favorite Houston restaurants. Take it away, Chris.

March restaurant chefs and Jon Bonn\u00e9

Photo by Zach Horst

Chris Davies, Jon Bonné, and Felipe Riccio review the dishes at March.

Here we go! Have I got a wine dinner for you!

This Tuesday, October 3, the team at March will host renowned wine writer Jon Bonné for a one-night dinner celebrating the release of his amazing new book The New French Wine. If you don’t have this book, drive illegally fast to the nearest place to buy a book and get your hands on this one. If you work in a restaurant, a wine bar, or just frequent either of those places, you should have this book on the shelf.

Over the past few years, we are seeing a change and an influx of new wines coming from France. Wines are becoming more available and even more approachable. Trust me, I love the houses and vineyards in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, and Loire, but now we are seeing this deep rooted love of different areas and some new winemakers that are embracing that as well. History wasn’t wrong. It’s just as Jon Bonné writes, “C’est Compliqué,” or “It’s’ complicated.”

I’m going to share a paragraph from his book that says a lot to me. Jon writes:

The state of wine in France matters because France is (and, with luck, forever will be) the soul of the global wine industry. Its grape varieties remain benchmarks around the world. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc, Gamay, and so on are the base materials for so many other wine regions, whether it be California or the Adelaide Hills, or even Tuscany. And reference examples from France remain just that: precedents by which other places measure their progress.

I personally agree with all of this— history tells us this. When I spoke to Jon today, he told me, “I would argue that nothing this big has happened to the French wine business since Phylloxera over 150 years ago.”

We’re seeing the newest winemakers and lesser known regions everywhere now on wine lists, in shops, and even at the grocery stores. We’re seeing sections for Beaujolais, Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence and even the Jura.

This book took Jon over either years to write, and it’s a masterpiece. It breaks down the whys, the whos, and the wheres from region to region. France has been hard to discover forever, but this book has it all laid out for you. You want to know more about the new and the old producers of Champagne, yep! I feel like the dog that had been chasing the car forever, and I finally caught it. Thank you for that, I was getting tired.

Now, on to the dinner. It’s no secret that the folks at Goodnight Hospitality are good friends of mine. I love what they do at Montrose Cheese and Wine, Rosie Cannonball, March, and I can’t wait for Marigold Club to open. They just get me — delicious food and beverage in a very thoughtful way.

Felipe Riccio, who is the chef/partner at Goodnight, is a young, very smart chef. And he truly understands wine. Believe it or not, there are not many chefs out there that focus on wine as much as food — Erin Smith at Feges BBQ, Terrence Gallivan at Elro, Felipe. I’m sure there are a few more but not many. It takes work and passion to learn wine but once you fall into it, it’s on!

Felipe and his team at MARCH are in the middle of the Sicily menu right now but are planning this one-night, amazing dinner. Master sommelier June Rodil, Mark Sayre, Gillie Dougherty, and Felipe sat down and picked the wines for this dinner by region and then dove into the deep end of the pool to work the menu. You want to talk about special? Yeah! You need to get this ticket, I already did because it is going to be one for the memory books. I would suggest if you want a killer experience then head on over to the MARCH website and book your seat. Everyone involved is just over the moon with excitement.

June told me, “Rather than being in constant search for the same old icons, Jon is discovering new French wine icons and unlocking their history and culture while sharing with us what we should be collecting for the future.”

I know that collecting is just as important as being able to enjoy now. In this book you will find both, and that’s pretty amazing. I hope you join Jon, Felipe, June, me and the rest of the team on Tuesday. Let’s raise a glass of Champagne and have an amazing conversation and dinner! See you there.


Contact our Wine Guy via email at chris@chrisshepherd.is.

Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a nonprofit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $11 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund. Catch his new TV show, Eat Like a Local, every Saturday at 10 am on KPRC Channel 2.