Four beauty service price hacks

Warning: This post is not for the faint-hearted in the beauty department.

But if you’re frugal and inquisitive, then read on, because I’m about to talk about saving money on beauty services.

Although I’ve researched and developed these tips while living in San Francisco, you can apply these to wherever you live. And treating yourself is part of healthy living, so don’t be scared to get pampered every once in a while.

1. It’s all about the time of the day

Whenever I need to get a manicure or a pedicure (notice I said need), I try to make a weekday lunch-time appointment. Many nail salons in San Francisco offer reduced prices during those times, because they are not as busy as evenings and weekends. Yesterday, I got my nails done at noon at Juicy Nails and received five dollars off a regular gel manicure. It was only $25, which is a steal for the Bay Area.

Juicy Nails is in the Nob Hill neighborhood, and it’s an adorable little place.

Juicy Nails SF

Juicy Nails SF

I’ve found that the sweet spot for discounts is usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Therefore, if you have some flexibility in your weekday schedule or can take a long lunch from work, you should ask when making your next beauty service appointment if there are discounts for coming at certain times.

2. It’s all about the newcomers

Did you know that many fancy salons have junior stylists or apprentice stylists? ‘

I have to put a lot of money into my frizzy, naturally curly hair. Whether that is getting keratin straightening or continuing to dye it back and forth from blonde to brown, I’m in the salon every couple of months. That being said, I’m always on the hunt for ways to save, and I’m not about to march into a Hair Cuttery or Super Cuts.

When I first called around to salons after moving to San Francisco, I was not only shocked to find out that weekend appointments booked up months in advance, but I was also shocked that a haircut costs more than $90 at most places. Wow. Uncool.

Therefore, the first time I got my hair done, I went to a junior stylist at a high-end salon. She was overseen by a master stylist and was a total professional. I got my hair cut and foiled for half the price. I went back to her a second time. However, on the third time, she had advanced up the stylist ladder and her prices went up with her.

3. It’s also all about those who are still learning

If you want to save even more money, you can go to a student salon. Look around to see if there is a beauty school in your area, offering student services. There is a Cinta Aveda Student Salon in downtown San Francisco, where I’ve gone a handful of times.

The students are super eager, enthusiastic and professional. They provide a consultation, have a master instructor meet with you about your service, then do what you need.

There was only one time in which I wasn’t pleased with my hair, but most of the time it’s fine with me. However, you should know that when you visit a student salon, your service will take much longer than normal, because you must factor in all of the consultations with the instructor, as well as the slower pace of someone just starting out.

I went to the Aveda Student Salon this week to get my hair done. I also got my eyebrows waxed, which was my first time visiting the esthetician portion of the student salon.

Here’s a snapshot of the inside, which shows you it looks like a normal salon, not a school.

Aveda Student Salon

2014-04-21 14.47.30

I was in and out in two-and-a-half hours, got a wonderful head massage and paid $85 for cut, color and brows. You can’t beat that.

(Why was I primping this week? Because it’s wedding season, and we are off to Dave’s sister’s wedding this weekend in Boonville. More to come on that soon … )

4. It’s all about the online deals

If you aren’t picky about where you get your nails or hair done, then spend some time looking around the Groupon or Living Social websites, if your city is served by these programs. Although you may already get the daily deal emails, you can find many more deals when you go directly to the site and put in search terms of what you want. Whenever I find something good that way, I always call the salon to ask about appointment times before purchasing the deal. I also do a thorough read-through of the recent Yelp reviews to make sure I know what I’m getting into.


Now, if you’re incredibly particular about beauty services or are loyal to a long-time stylist, then these tips aren’t for you. But if you’re anything like me and just want to get it done on the cheap sometimes, then go for it.

Every once in a while, I throw in a full-priced visit, and honestly, it never comes out noticeably better than my discounted services.

For a recap …

Four ways to save money on beauty services

  1. Ask the salon if they offer discounts depending on what time of day or which day you come in for a service.
  2. Ask the salon if they offer junior stylists, apprentices or junior technicians to perform your services for a discount.
  3. Find out if there is a beauty salon school in your area, offering discounted student services.
  4. Search Groupon or Living Social deals for the services you want, conduct some basic research on the salon and call to book before buying the deal.

Saving money is the name of the game for this frugal Lady.

And if you like all of these tips, maybe you want to sell your clothes too? If so, find out how I make money via thredUP here.

Questions of the day

Have you ever gone to a student salon? Do you have a regular salon or do you bounce around for services?

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  1. These are really good tips actually. And since I’m new to the area too, they were helpful for me. I forgot about the Living Social website, since I don’t think we had it in Canada. I’m all about saving money, but sometimes you really do NEED a mani/pedi. I’m just so afraid that certain ones around aren’t as clean with their tools.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Glad to be of service. I definitely don’t go to questionable places, I just find ways to save at the nice places and/or go to students in nice settings. 🙂
      Hope you find some good spots in your neck of the woods.

    1. Hi Presley,
      Thanks for stopping by. Groupon is great. Sometimes it just takes some research to find the good deals. If you get the app on your phone, it becomes so easy to purchase at any time too.

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