30 Ways to Save | Beauty on a Budget

August 21, 2008 6:55:46 PM PDT
Love to get pampered, but can't afford those trips to the spa or salon? Valley cosmetology schools are bringing beauty to even the most basic budget.The main floor at the Paul Mitchell School www.fresnopaulmitchellschool.com in North Fresno looks like any busy, high-end salon. Except the expert-looking stylists are actually students... earning their hours toward their cosmetology license.

Some clients may hesitate asking an amateur to do what's done by professionals. But not Amy Maupin, a regular, who was once a student herself. Amy: "Yeah, there's always that thought, I guess, but you know, you get really good training here."

School owner Gilda Walker describes Paul Mitchell as the "Harvard" of cosmetology schools.: "As I was lying there getting my facial I got up and I was fighting tears because the prior week I had paid $125 and my student who hadn't even graduated yet had given me a better facial." At only $25, that's a big bargain for a facial. A wax starts at $7. A cut-and-style is $10, and color starts at $25.

Across town at the Milan Institute www.milaninstitute.edu in Clovis an entire spa day runs only $40. That includes a facial, manicure and pedicure... which I had to test out. The school tries to make the experience as close to real life as possible, for both the students and the clients. So you can expect the full treatment but at less than half the price. For example, my spa pedicure would have been $45 in a salon, but it's only $18 here.

At that rate, why not add an hour massage for $30? Massage therapists in training give table massages. Or if you're in a hurry, sit down for a quick $10 chair massage.

Instructor's supervise all services performed by students.

But remember: if you get treated like a pro, tip like you would any pro as well.

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