Can you really get $500 worth of salon services for $65?
You know the ruse: You’re walking down Michigan Avenue when a compliment—“Great hair!”—comes your way. You pause to thank the stranger, and within seconds you’re stuck with a sales pitch: For just $65, your insincere flatterer says, you can get major salon services. It sounds a little sketchy, but the frugal part of me had to find out.
I didn’t want to exchange money on the street, so after grilling the salesman on whom he worked for, I went online to check out his employer, SalonSensation.com. SalonSensation offers packages for four salons in the city; I chose Mirror Mirror (807 W Randolph St at Halsted St, 312-421-4887), whose offer promised a value of more than $500 for $65. I’d get a haircut, blow dry and style; hair clarifying and conditioning treatments; a minimanicure; a foot soak; a minimassage; a minifacial; and waxing. For other services, like color, I’d get a 30 percent discount. Not bad.
I was excited until I walked into Mirror Mirror: A poorly lit room, stark white walls and peeling linoleum floor almost made me retreat. Fortunately, on my way to the chair, I overheard that the space was in the middle of a renovation. Phew.
My stylist was hip and friendly, but she skipped past the promised hair consultation, “soothing scalp massage,” color consultation, beverage and tailored hair-care prescription—all empty perks offered in the deal. I instructed her to clean up my bob, keeping as much length as possible, and give me a few partial blond highlights and lowlights. After a few foils, snips and primps, I was pleasantly surprised. I left with a flawless haircut, well-tweezed brows,highlights and, after paying for discounted-but-still-not-cheap color, a $171 hole in my wallet.
So yes, these deals are for real; they help salons to lure customers in hopes that they’ll be hooked on the services. If you’re planning to get the luxe-and-deluxe salon experience, it’s a less pricey way to do it. But if you want only a quick snip, smile and keep walking the next time your hair gets a compliment.—Jill Dudones