Beauty School: Beautiful Savings on Hair, Facials, Massage and More

By: Kate Nerenberg, Jasmine Touton

Top hairstylists started somewhere, right?

If you aren’t risk-averse, you can save a lot of money by getting your hair cut or colored by a stylist in training: Beauty-school cuts cost as little as $10.

The tradeoff: Because trainees are methodical and supervisors check the work, appointments take time.

If a student armed with dye makes you nervous, consider that beauty schools also offer cheap massages and facials.

What follows are beauty schools and salons that offer inexpensive student services or training nights. Many other salons, including the PR at Partners chain and Ronnie Elias Salon in Oakton have junior stylists or apprentices who charge less. Places like Hair Cuttery can be a deal, too.

Great Way to Trim Hair Costs
Gloria Harding, who owns Tranquility Day Spa & Salon in Manassas, selects ten students a year for her Tranquility Design Academy. Student cuts are $20 for men, $35 for women versus $32 to $65 at the salon. While at other beauty schools a student cut can last 90 minutes, here trainees take only 15 minutes longer than the pros, Harding says, because they go through four months of 40-hour-a-week training before working on the public. Waxing and makeup application also available.

Another Good Choice for Hair
Graham Webb Academy, which turns out some of the area’s best graduates, has a student clinic for hair and spa services. Stylists who have completed 1,500 hours of training give men’s cuts for $10, women’s for $18. (Color is $42, highlights $55.) The downside: Expect a haircut to take 90 minutes; add an hour for color. Other deals: $12 paraffin hand or foot treatments; $40 facials.

If You’re Ready for a Change
Every other Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Salon Cielo in Dupont Circle opens its doors for $15 cuts and $30 color. (A cut normally starts at $55, color $55.) Part-owner and stylist Jamie Simon says Cielo drops its prices to give its experienced stylists a chance to practice new techniques. “It’s not for someone who has long hair and just wants a trim,” he says.

Good Deal on Facials
Aveda Institute’s beauty school offers simple haircuts for $18 as well as eight other services—including waxing and hair relaxing—for up to 60 percent less than at Aveda salons. A facial done with Aveda Outer Peace products for acne-prone skin starts at $40; it’s $130 to $150 at an Aveda salon.

Best Massage Deal
At $37, a student massage at the 32-year-old Potomac Massage Training Institute is less than half the price of a professional rubdown. Sessions are observed through a small window by an instructor and fellow students, but customers shouldn’t notice any intrusion. Want complete privacy? For $55—still a deal—get a recent graduate who is more skilled. Clients are asked to fill out a postmassage evaluation.

More Time Than Money
A haircut and blow dry by a trainee at Sassoon Salon starts at only $20—but be prepared to sit a spell; students spend one to two hours with scissors. They are licensed and have trained for at least a year in the Sassoon technique. Color starts at $30, highlights at $50—half off regular prices.

Haircuts With a Guarantee
Stylists in training at Paul Mitchell come at two levels: less-experienced Phase 1 students, whose cuts are $10, and honors-program students in Phase 2, who charge $13. Should you not like your $20 dye job, you can come in within a week to let the student try again. There’s no charge to redo a cut, either.

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