There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get right after finishing up with your favorite salon or spa treatment – you take endless selfies to capture your new look and if you didn’t have plans, you make ’em to show it off. But somehow, that floating-on-air sensation always seems to disappear the minute you reach the register.
But, just because a day at the spa (or even a single service) costs a pretty penny doesn’t mean you have to quit going entirely! We’re firm believers in the art of pampering, so we’ve got some ideas to help you cut your budget without sacrificing on the quality.
Jump on the stylist-in-training bandwagon
Don’t want to pay full price at a fancy salon? We don’t blame you, and we’re going to let you in on a little secret: You don’t necessarily have to. Many prestigious salons (and even some spas) offer the talents of their students-in-training for a fraction of the price of a normal service. “Don’t be afraid to try someone at a lower price level than the master stylists at your salon,” says Rodney Cutler, owner of Cutler Salon. “You’ll definitely get more bang for your buck and more individualized attention.”
Some salons readily advertise these offers on their list of services, but others, like Cutler Salon, require their assistants and junior stylists to recruit participants. The savings are significant (in the Cutler education program, haircuts will cost you $15 and color goes for $25, for instance) so even if a salon doesn’t make their deals obvious it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have any offers available.
Swap pricey pedicures for at-home pampering
We’re not suggesting you boycott the nail salon entirely, but frequent trips to get your feet pampered aren’t really necessary when electronic foot brushes like the Amope Pedi Perfect and Clarisonic’s Pedi device are within your reach. We heart these portable gems because they pretty much pay for themselves in a few uses, so in the long run you’ll end up shaving a lot more than just dead skin off your feet – you’ll be shaving major cash off your budget as well. As an added bonus, these pain-free devices eliminate the need to question spas’ cleanliness standards since you’re the only one using them.
Model your hot head of hair
While we’ve perfected our hair styling skills on reluctant Barbie dolls, the professionals rely on live models to hone their skills. Many big names like Bumble and bumble.University are in need of hair models to instruct their budding stylists. With their Bb.U Model Project, all you have to do is register as a model client and attend a Model Call to see if your hair is suitable for their needs. Selected clients get free styling sessions and free color – pretty sweet, right?
If you do end up modeling your hair, Rodney Cutler suggests keeping an open mind. “As a class model, it’s very important to be open to new ideas and suggestions,” he says. “Our assistants look to these class sessions to experiment and think outside the box. Trust them and the education process and you’ll end up looking amazing.” Cutler also suggests offering yourself as a class model if you meet someone who works at a reputable salon while you’re out and about.
You better shop around
It sounds simple, but it’s really true – you could just be paying too much for your favorite services. A lot of us get so used to our routines and so loyal to one salon or spa that we don’t bother shopping around to see what the competition is charging. If the thought of trying to bargain with your devoted stylist or aesthetician makes you want to crawl in a hole, but you just can’t stomach the ever-rising prices, it might just be time to part ways.
You never want to feel like you’re paying for someone’s increase in rent or fancy renovations, so if the prices keep rising and the customer service doesn’t follow suit, consider taking your business elsewhere. Websites like Spafinder can help you discover your new favorite local spot that suits your lifestyle and budget.
Did someone say free?
There are certain beauty services we wouldn’t recommend seeking out for free – facials involving extractions, for instance, are best left to the professionals – but there’s really no reason you should pay to get your makeup done when you can get all dolled up for free at any number of locations. So if you’re regularly paying to get your makeup done or if you’re even contemplating doing so, don’t.
Many department store beauty counters offer free makeup applications and all you have to do in return is listen to their heavy sales pitch. Then there’s Sephora, of course, where you can get a free 15-minute mini makeover just for stopping by. The bottom line? Seek out freebies and you shall find them. Don’t be shy about asking if a store does free makeup or skin touch-ups or consultations – the worst they can say is no!