The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

Pretty Cheap: Beauty Schools for Budget Spa Services

budget beauty schools

Looking for an inexpensive, easy way to freshen up your look for the summer season? While the temperature outside keeps rising, you can keep your spending down with one simple and perhaps counterintuitive change of routine. This summer, try ditching the expensive salon by heading to a beauty school for your hair, nails, and spa services instead.

Although letting a student cut your hair may not be something you’ve considered before, in many ways beauty schools can provide you with service, attention, and value that’s hard to beat. Feeling skeptical? I was too, but after speaking to my stylist, Carrie Bellus, an educator at the Aveda Institute beauty school in Denver, I’ve witnessed and learned firsthand how her students create gorgeous heads of hair rivaling most professional salons. Beauty school students are enthusiastic, skilled, and can provide you with many of your usual services with a smile and a lower price tag.

Here’s everything you need to know about going to a cosmetology school for your beauty services.


Yes, you’re looking into a school for the lower price, but an unexpected benefit of seeing a student is the professional protocol he or she will undoubtedly follow. Last week, at the Aveda institute in Denver, I overheard a student asking her client specific, helpful questions during a consultation. Imagine how thorough and refreshing it is to hear an actively involved stylist — I’m sure we can all remember past stylists who started on our hair with barely a hello. Part of a student’s grade is the service he or she offers, so if you head to a cosmetology school for your beauty needs, be prepared to feel pampered and to be wowed.


Many cosmetology schools offer their students classes in hair, skin, nails, makeup, and massage — and because the beauty industry is constantly evolving, you can also enjoy services that are generally more expensive, like lash tinting, for a lot less money. Many people first try out a beauty school for the discounted haircuts, but you’ll swiftly discover that you can get waxing services, massages, manicures, and more all in one affordable stop.


If you’re the “get in, get out” type, school services may not be for you. These students are still learning, so their attention naturally takes a little more time. Additionally, it is common for educators and teachers to check in with the student and client multiple times to make sure the customer is getting exactly what he or she wants. You can ask the receptionist how long your service should last, but just know that it won’t be quick.


Think of it this way: the students are learning and your hair is the classroom. There will be educators present making sure the students are correctly delivering what they’ve learned, but if you’re looking for absolute perfection you might not have the school spirit. Know that beauty school services are a give-and-take endeavor and that minor mistakes may be made along the way.


You will undoubtedly develop a relationship with a favorite stylist, but until then, you can first ask for a senior student or someone with more experience. It’s helpful to start with a massage or nail appointment to get a feel for the school and how qualified the students seem to be before leaping into a hair service. At many institutions, you can also book a hair consultation where you can talk with the student about what you’d like without any cutting or coloring. This lets you get to know your stylist before you commit to setting an appointment.


We come to the big and scary question: what happens if you absolutely hate your hair? Carrie says that customers usually leave her institution cheerful and smiling. She reassures us that “it’s not that people are never unhappy, but it’s really rare. I’ve seen three [dissatisfied customers] in the past six months which is probably the same amount you’d see in a salon.” Perhaps this is because educators are there every step of the way, and students are invested in giving you the best service. If there is a slip-up, the educator coaches the student through the correction until you’re satisfied. Students are not only being graded on outcome, but they’re also hoping to get some new clients out of their experience. You can be sure they’re giving it all they’ve got.


Beauty school students often perform services daily, so they’re seeing a ton of clients and getting ample practice. This, combined with their fresh training, creates students with potential to be sharper than a stylist who has been working infrequent hours for years and often forgoes classes to update his or her skills.


Going to a cosmetology school is a fantastic way to pamper yourself. There are many tried and true beauty schools that offer great services across the country. At an Aveda Institute such as the one mentioned above, you can treat yourself to a cut and style for about $15 to $20, and if you’re looking to get some deep moisture treatment for the dry summer heat, try a damage treatment for around $30. For super-cheap back massages and bikini waxing, try out an Elizabeth Grady school, where you can relax with a one-hour massage for about $30 and a beach-ready wax for only around $12.50!


Story and Photo Copyright 2010 Shoestring, LLC

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS