Kate Allen
Updated Jun 20, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

Beauty discounts just aren’t as simple as they used to be. Say you purchase a Groupon for your favorite salon or spa, the added contingencies and lack of customer service can really kill your buzz. But there are other ways to get deals besides the group discount. Trust me, I’ve seen it all. As a hairdresser and consumer, I know how the beauty discount works from both ends. I’ve managed a large salon, created marketing campaigns for other salons and spas and worked independently running my own specials. And you better believe I rarely pay full price for any treatment. Here are some insider secrets to saving big time on beauty:

Scour Local Blogs and Social Media

Beauty and fashion blogs in your city are pivotal when it comes to getting freebies and winning giveaways. I’ve been approached several times to give away complimentary services to bloggers and style magazines and if it makes sense to me, I do it. They then host a giveaway of services either at an event or on their blog and the winner gets a slew of fun freebies. I have girlfriends who constantly enter these little giveaways and win the most incredible items— dresses, bags, makeup and more!

The bloggers in your city have the lowdown on local sales and discount codes for online shopping and beauty sites. Also, remember that social media is one of your best friends! Search for hashtags that match your city with keywords like “discount,” “free event” or “beauty.” By checking sites and social media regularly, you’ll master the art of finding the best local beauty bargains around.

Trade Your Skills

When I was a new hairdresser, I was approached by an esthetician offering a trade of bikini waxes for haircuts. The idea that I could barter with other women who wanted my services had never occurred to me. But after that successful relationship, I started offering the same type of deal to other women with swappable skills. I’ve been able to trade so many things since! I’ve gotten manicures, free makeup, laser treatments, microdermabrasions, eyebrow threading, massages, and jewelry in exchange for free hair styling.

Also, know that you can trade any of your skills—they don’t just have to be beauty-related. If you are a marketing guru, offer up a consulting session with your hairdresser in exchange for a haircut or highlights. If you are a florist, offer up some complimentary floral arrangements in exchange for a monthly massage. Whatever your skills are, use them to your advantage. It never hurts to ask for what you want!

Party Down at Salons and Spas

When a new salon or spa opens, there is almost always an exclusive launch party. And usually, all you have to do to get in is contact management, get the details and let them know you’d like to attend with some girlfriends. Typically, there will be employees giving free services or consultations, goody bags, door prizes and special discounts for booking your first service on the night of the party. On top of that, there are usually two to three parties per year once the salon or spa is actually open featuring drinks, bargains and other vendors to scope out.

Without fail, the best way to find beauty discounts is just to ask. Shoot an email to your favorite local bloggers inquiring about new salons or spas, comb press releases for events and even ask your current glam squad (if you have one) about discounts they offer in exchange for new referrals and loyalty. Follow all of these tips and you’ll never have to deal with purchasing an online voucher again!