Beauty Schools: Pretty on the Cheap

Beauty schools just aren’t what they used to be. No overly coiffed, bubble-gum-snapping high school dropouts with bad attitudes. No ma’am. These days, breaking into the spa business is as serious as a heart attack (okay, a mild heart palpitation). And with the Valley’s bursting-at-the-seams spa industry, top beauty and relaxation schools aren’t hard to come by. That’s where we come in. By offering deeply discounted spa treatments to the public, the future aestheticians and massage therapists of the world can gain practical, hands-on experience.

For discounted skincare services, you can’t beat the treatments offered at these Valley aesthetics institutions:

IMAJ Institute, Scottsdale
Among the nation’s premier laser and clinical aesthetics training schools, IMAj has helped to shape the medical spa industry through research and education for more than 20 years and offers a modern, energetic setting for high-end cosmetic treatments like microdermabrasion and collagen treatments. Ask about their MedSpa Membership Program, which allows a select number of members to take advantage of a wide range of medically supervised skincare and anti-aging services for a substantially discounted flat monthly fee.

Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics, Tempe
Grounded in the holistic side of skincare, the Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics (SWINA) offers seven completely private, Zen-like treatment rooms including a Vichy shower room and a “Hollywood hall” for mineral makeup applications. Facials start at $25, body treatments at $45 and if you’re up for something different, try threading (starting at $7) or an Indian facelift treatment ($50). Best bet: ASU students can present their ID and get a facial for $15.

The Skin & Makeup Institute of Arizona, Peoria
The founder of the Skin & Makeup Institute, Pamela Springer, has got it going on. She’s been on Oprah for heaven’s sake. Doesn’t that say it all? The new spacious digs in the Arrowhead area offer an elegant spa facility with semi-private treatment areas. The Scottsdale location, a landmark for more than five years, is no longer open to the public and is relocating to a new location currently under construction in the Gilbert/Chandler area. Facials start at $30, mineral makeup applications at $25 and body treatments at $35. Best bet: The Party Girl Package, which includes a spa facial, makeup makeover and custom-made lip gloss for $50 each person, up to six people.

More Valley beauty and massage schools:

  • Arizona School of Massage Therapy, Tempe and Phoenix
    A skilled massage therapist has got to start somewhere and rumor is that some of the best start here. Fifty-minute massages start at $25 and are offered on weekends only.
  • Empire Beauty Schools, locations statewide
    Manicures start at $7, pedis at $15 and haircuts at $7 with walk-ins welcome.
  • Classic Beauty College, Phoenix
    Manicures start at $7, pedis at $17 or with the online “A Beautiful New You” coupon, get a manicure, pedicure, deep condition, haircut and style for $19.95.
  • Cortiva Institute School of Massage Therapy, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson
    Formerly Phoenix Therapeutic Massage Colleges, services start at $30 with a student and $40 with a licensed therapist.
  • Kohler Academy, Scottsdale
    Haircuts starting at $10 and facials at $30 in a contemporary, no-tipping facility.
  • Marinello Spa Academy, Mesa
    Skincare and makeup services.
  • Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Tempe
    Next door to the Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics, SWIHA offers 60-minute massages at $30 with a student or $40 with a licensed therapist. Get $5 off your first visit.
  • The Bryman School of Arizona
    Massage therapy students put their skills to task in a semi-private, supervised clinic. Services start at $25 for an hour massage.
  • The Studio Academy of Beauty, Chandler and Phoenix
    Cosmetology services with haircuts starting at $10, nail care at $8 and facials at $25.

For more beauty and wellness schools in greater Phoenix, visit the Arizona Board of Cosmetology for a full listing of licensed institutions.

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