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Let Students Pamper You

Ylan Mui

We love our intern, Emma Carew, because she is enthusiastic and works hard. The same could be said for the students at local cosmetology and massage therapy schools that offer discounted services. Emma found out that these schools can help you indulge without feeling guilty.


When we were kids, my brother and I got our teeth cleaned at the clinic where my mother was pursuing her dental hygiene degree. It was a great experience — it was fun, and the supervising professors spent more time with us than I’ve ever encountered at a DDS.

For years I have gotten my hair highlighted and colored in salons of the cosmetology schools near my place in Minneapolis. It wasn’t something my parents wanted to pay for and the prices at the higher end salons (upwards of $75 each time) were out of my range.

People have always commented that I must be brave to do this, putting my hair and gums in the hands of students. But I know better: Students, much more than any professional, don’t want to mess up. I’ve had great results — the only drawback being that appointments can sometimes take the entire afternoon.

This spring when I tried to book an appointment to get my hair done and possibly try a $40 facial or massage, it was difficult to find an opening.

The Aveda Institute here in Washington reports they’ve seen a 16 percent increase in services this year compared to 2008. According to their menu online, these services are available for $50 or less: a hair cut and deep condition, partial foils, perms, facials or nail services. Across town at the Aveda Georgetown, similar services start at $75 for a cut, $135 for the color, $75 for the facial.

Cameron Russell, admissions manager at the Aveda Institute in Gallery Place, suggests booking during the days on Tuesday through Thursday for best availability.

The students are supervised, with an instructor consultation at the beginning and end of your services. They also add little bonuses, like herbal tea, a hand massage or makeup touch up during your service.

At the Potomac Massage Training Institute in Friendship Heights, increasing demand for their budget services ($37 for an hourlong student massage, $55 for a recent grad) led them to open on Sundays. Kimberly Lovius, executive director, tells me they’ve also seen an increase in people purchasing gift certificates for their massage sessions.

Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons and evenings are the best times to get an appointment, she said, and the sessions can be tailored to your tastes, such as soothing an athletic injury or a Swedish-style massage.

So, cheer up! Major indicators say the economy is slowly starting to recover. Relax. Getting pampered doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.

By Ylan Mui  |  July 27, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bargains , Ylan Q. Mui  
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