Beauty and the Budget

Frenchie may have blown it in beauty school, but there are many talented students too

Beauty may be pain but it shouldn’t be costly. Many nice salons can charge $70+ for haircuts, not including color, $90 for facials and $30 for a simple manicure. So what is a college girl to do?

Well thankfully my equally frugal cousin Danielle gave me a great tip: beauty schools. Beauty schools around the country offer discounted rates on everything from manicures to highlights to facials in order for their students to practice on live models. And let me clarify, Frenchie is not going to be doing your hair. Many schools only allow their most experienced students on the floor. Additionally, their teachers are on the floor for any questions and corrections, and review their work upon completion.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ever walk into a hair or nail salon and expect the Health Department to burst through the door any second? When you seek out cheap cuts and mani/pedis you run the risk of finding a place that may compromise your health.  I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to run the risk of getting staph and having to pay for a hospital visit because of a botched pedicure. Talk about unforeseen costs. In beauty schools, they take cleanliness very seriously.

If you are nervous about going to beauty schools for a big change like a new hair color or drastic cut, go in for a trim or a few highlights. If you don’t like the cut or color it will not be as noticeable, and oftentimes the instructor will be more than willing to fix it for you.  Or, if you’re like me and simply cannot bear the thought of cheating on your stylist, come in for a cheap manicure, makeup application or a massage.

In October I’ll be checking out the Aveda Institute in Manhattan.  I’m setting aside a bit of my budget for their thirty-minute twenty dollar facial . Keep a look out for my review in the next few weeks.

-Do some research before you chose your beauty school. Yelp and other review websites often review beauty schools as well.  Be warned, you may get an array of different reviews because remember, the stylists are students and some are more talented than others.
-When booking an appointment, ask about the school’s policy. If you are unhappy with the results can you get a refund or will someone fix it? Do you take credit card or just cash? How long have the stylists been in school? Would you recommend anyone?
-Give yourself more time than usual for a service. The stylists are still students and may need advice from the instructor.
-If you get there and do not feel comfortable with the stylist, tell someone. Try to get another stylist if available. If changes can not be made consider leaving. It is better to spend more money and time on a great stylist and haircut than waste money on a haircut/color that you’ll have to get fixed anyway.
-Many times the instructor will ask you about your experience. Make sure to be honest. If you loved it be sure to point out why your stylist was so great. If you hated it, tell them in a calm way. Even if your stylist is within earshot, it is better for them to hear constructive criticism and learn from it now, than develop bad habits that will be hard to break in the future.
-If you love your stylists’ work, get her number! Many students and recent grads work out of their home for some extra cash. Their prices are regularly far cheaper than a salon so it’s a win-win for both of you!

Have you ever been to a beauty school for a service? Let me know!