Treat Yourself

Here are seven places to get pampered without breaking the bank.

I’ll be honest—I love my hair stylist, but it makes me sick that I pay him $70 every two months to keep me well-coiffed. Not that he isn’t worth it—I just can’t help yearning for my college days when I scored a relatively decent do at a full-service salon for just $19. I realize that statement dates me back to, well, before electricity, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t deals to be had on local salon and spa treatments. From basic haircuts to massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, even glycolic peels, you can find lots of pampering out there that allows you to hang on to that pretty penny.

Brian Utting School of Massage

900 Thomas St., Suite 200, 206-292-8055

Massage has got to be one of the best beauty bargains, since the risk is all but nonexistent—you won’t walk out with mental-patient hair or a complexion that erupts 24 hours later. But at $40 for a 90-minute massage here, would you really care anyway? At less than half what you’d pay at most spas, it’s such a steal, you almost feel guilty.

But take note before you develop an addiction: The clinic is only open eight months out of the year, and appointments fill up fast. You can request that available dates and times be mailed to you in advance so you can schedule your appointments ASAP. There’s also a waiting list and a “short-notice” waiting list if you don’t mind being summoned to work out your kinks at the last minute.

Gene Juarez Academy of Beauty

10715 Eighth Ave. N.E., 206-365-6900;

2222 S. 314th St., Federal Way, 253-839-4000

If you’re really strapped for cash, you can’t beat getting your locks chopped here for $9.95. The biggest drawback actually isn’t so much the wariness over inexperience but the waiting: The stylist will confer with his or her instructor, who then keeps tabs on the entire process, including providing a sometimes-laborious review of the final product. My visit consisted of just a simple trim that ended up taking well over an hour, although I was pleased with the resulting style.

Euro Institute of Skin Care

10904 S.E. 176th St., Renton, 425-255-8100

Touted as “one of the finest schools of esthetics in North America,” this skin-care center offers luxurious treatments at prices that won’t send you running to Money Tree. You’ll leave scrubbed, pink, and happy, thanks to classic facials and body treatments offered in a private, relaxing setting.

Services here are at least half what you’d pay at a typical salon. The traditional European facial is just $38, while my favorite treatment of all time, the 50-minute Dead Sea Salt & Honey Exfoliation, rings up at $35. Waxing services are also an incredible buy, including $8 for brows and $15 for a bikini wax.


415 Pine St., 206-624-7003; 2618 N.E. University Village, 206-526-9110; 141 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, 425-467-1337

Typically, you don’t pay a visit to this makeup mecca looking for bargains, but even in the company of Christian Dior, Frederic Fekkai, and Dr. Hauschka, you’ll find some deals. A good starting point: Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of the pros on staff. You can ask for pointers on just one area, such as eyes or lips, or give them free rein with your whole face for an entirely new look. A purchase isn’t required but is encouraged; if you’re pinching pennies, the Sephora line is a super bang for your buck, featuring high-quality cosmetics at reasonable prices—including eye and lip liners for just $4.

Spa Noir

2231 Second Ave., 206-448-7600

All right, so you’ll have to do some planning to take advantage of the specials at this swank Belltown spa. That’s because they’re only available on the last Tuesday of the month, when all services under a half-hour or less than $30 are offered at reduced prices. Plus, there’s always a special promotion on more intensive treatments, such as September’s “introductory glycolic peel” for just 20 bucks!

What’s even better is that the fun starts at 3 in the afternoon, and the last appointment is taken at 10:30 p.m. How’s that for accommodating us night owls? And I gotta say: The ripe, juicy red and black decor is downright sultry. It’s like honeymooning in the Poconos minus the cheese factor. And, yes, bubbly is included. Cheers!


2740 N.E. University Village, 206-985-7033;

102 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, 425-452-1031 for more locations

Got a couple hours to spare but not a big chunk of change? Here’s where you can get pampered head to toe—massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure—for a total of $108. Yes, $108 flat, because InSpa employs a strict “no tipping” policy. Ask for the “Express” manicure, pedicure, and facial and the Tension Relief Massage (30 minutes concentrated on the back, neck, and shoulders—no robes, no nudity).


3131 E. Madison St., Suite 103, 206-325-9582

This Madison Park staple may not fall into the babbling brook–trickling, Wyndham Hill–playing category of day spa, but there’s a reason they’re usually booked at least a month out: top-notch manis and pedis at sensible prices. If you can get over the high-decibel nail room (and the incessant “ladies who lunch” chatter), you’ll come away with perfectly painted tips and tootsies. Manicures start at just $19; pedicures at $38. On your way out, peruse the pricey, J.Lo-worthy Crème de la Mer skin-care line—and try to remember to be a model bargain hunter.