Beauty on a budget

If your stress levels are going through the roof you’d be forgiven for wanting a pampering session. But when it comes to the price of vanity not everyone can afford Madonna and Jennifer Lopez’s $1 000 (R9 180) age-defying placenta cream facials. Nicolette Dirk finds out how you can get the beauty treatment you deserve without raiding your entire savings account.

Celebrity facials aside, even a trip to the local salon can set you back quite a bit. Depending on the type of facial you want, one session could leave a not-so-pretty R650 dent in your budget. If you want a pampering session for a special day, such as a wedding, professional make-up artists charge up to R3 000.

Bargain beauty schools
Most beauty academies in South Africa offer beauty treatments to the public at a fraction of the cost of an upmarket salon. Bronze Academy, a beauty school based in Cape Town, regularly allow students to obtain their prerequisite hours of training by offering treatments to the public at a reduced rate.

The academy keeps the beauty sessions fun with weekly special offers like massagathons where anyone can be treated to a full body massage for as little R60.

Every Saturday the academy’s branch in Tygervalley offers up to 20% discounted rates to the public for treatments done by students. The more advanced regimes like back exfoliating, back massages, deep cleanse facials and make-up are  done by second year students.
Terry-Anne Kensley, one of the academy’s lecturers, says that because students are required to gain a certain amount of hours through practical experience, they have to offer their services at a reduced rate in comparison to most salons.

But these reduced treatments are always done under the watchful eye of qualified beauty therapists like Kensley. “I would definitely advise people who want to save money to try out the treatments because students are trained in everything and  the things they learn on campus is still fresh in their minds so they don’t skip any steps in the treatment,” said Kensley.

Sunrae Beauty, Hair and Nail Academy’s principal, Frieda Smith, said that because treatments offered at academies are either free or at a discount, it gives clients a chance to try out beauty treatments they would not usually attempt had it come at a cost.

This Benoni-based academy offers discounted treatments every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday where popular pamper sessions like manicures, pedicures and facials are done by students. On Thursdays the public can book free treatments, which are also done by students.

Be sure to book your treatments in advance. “These affordable treatments have become so popular that students hardly get a chance to take a break between sessions. We used to struggle to attract clients in the past but in the last two years there has been a huge increase in people coming to our academy because of the economic crisis,” said Kensley.

The Academy of Beauty Therapy in KwaZulu-Natal has their own student salon on campus where discounted treatments are offered to the public. The salon is managed by the Karen Nicol, who also lectures at the academy. “Our second and third year students can perform advanced treatments like body wraps, exfoliating and hydro treatments as well as permanent make-up. Our first year students are only allowed to do basic treatments like facials, manicures and pedicures,” said Nicol.Besides the reasonable prices, Nicol says that you get to experience a high standard of pampering from students who take their time with each treatment.

Pros and cons of budget treatments
According to skincare therapist, Nicole Devine, treatments at beauty academies are of a high quality because it is so closely supervised by lecturers. “Not everyone can afford to go to a spa but this is a good way for people on a tight budget to still look good. It is also an opportunity for students to get the training they require because some people don’t readily want a student to work on them,” said Devine.

But she adds that because students are still being trained some may not be strong or confident enough to apply enough pressure when it comes to massages. “Some students may also not have the confidence to interact with clients like we do at professional spas. You also won’t always get a spa vibe with great lighting but overall there are more advantages than disadvantages when you go for a treatment at an academy,” said Devine.

Moneybags’ beauty tips:
1. When it comes to treatments like manicures and pedicures contact the nearest beauty school in your area to find out if they offer free/discount treatments. For those who are more cautious about being pampered by a student, ask lots of questions about the type of products that the academy make use of and ensure that your session is supervised by trained therapists to reduce the risk of something going wrong such as an allergic reaction.

2. Make sure you have ample time to spare as students may take longer with treatments. You may not have a five star spa treatment at an academy but at least you will be saving yourself some money that you can put towards essentials or into your savings account.

3. Alternatively, if you’d rather buy creams from a retailer and give yourself a facial at home, read our story ‘How much should your face cost’ for advice on how to save money on face creams.

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