Promos on beauty services: is there a catch?

My colleague just told me how she ended up paying S$2196 for getting her hair cut. Well, okay, the price for the haircut was $196 but she was sold a package which was priced at $2k, definitely not something she intended to fork out initially. The story goes like this: she saw an advertisement from a reputable hair salon promoting their haircut at a 50% discount. She decided to try them out because the owner used to be the personal hairstylist for some famous celebrity. The haircut turned out pretty normal and definitely nothing to rave about. Yet, she ended up paying a lot more just to enjoy 50% off his service!

So if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that.

Personally, I’m very leery of companies in the beauty industry that frequently bombard consumers with advertisements promoting cheap deals. I’m sure you’ve come across those – $18 facial, $28 IPL treatment or $38 massage. These are the type of salons that I will never dare to set foot in as the deals all sound too dubious to me. In fact, I’ve been approached by companies to help them promote their services and they were even willing to pay for an advertorial on this blog. While I won’t deny that I was tempted by the money but I was very skeptical about the promotional price offered to my readers. The companies even assured me that there won’t be any hardsell but come on, which company is willing to advertise without seeking returns?

Would you try?
So how do you feel about beauty salons that are frequently promoting their services by way of special offers and discounts? Would you try them? Or would you run a mile from them?


  1. MsLips says:

    Yes, usually I’m wary of such promos and would not take up the offer. In the past I had experienced extreme hardsell when I took up say a $38 dollar facial promo. I usually steer clear if the deal is for first time customers cos usually they will try to sell a package. But I make an exception, recently, on a coupon website that offers special deals e.g., $10 for a Paul and Joe makeover and make up kit.

  2. youngorgeous says:

    i had a good and bad experience with the promotions that beauty services offered.

    the bad – I was supposedly selected for a free trial for a facial at this spa. somehow, the consultant mentioned that I needed to add an extra service as my skin was very dry. I succumbed to it; knowing deep down that nothing in the world is free. But what bugs me was the consultant kept coming into the room to ‘chat’, trying to get me to sign up for a package. All this while my face was being cleansed, scrubbed etc.

    the good – i sign up for an anti-dandruff offer which was posted on the consultant was waaaaaaaaay nicer. no pushy tactics. in fact, she even told me to consider it first before making a decision. and best of all, I paid exactly what was printed as promotion trial price.

  3. CT says:

    I read about the salon before, it was online forum which mentioned their services are really bad. Anyway, for promote services, we need to leave our credit cards at home and be firmed..

  4. BlovetBeauty says:

    I’ve been cheated so many times with these super cheap facial sessions that lure u in and trap u in the negotiating room !!! I hate it. It’s full of hidden cost and nonsense to be honest. The sales personnel are the worse part of it all, they attack our weakness and make us feel like we neeeddd to have this or that done. Overall, I like things stated clearly but many beauty business don’t run like that

  5. stella says:

    i’m extremely wary about these ‘promotions’ as well as they almost always try to hardsell me some package. i do make exceptions, but sometimes even they disappoint; case in point: my insurer sent me a birthday voucher for a free massage/facial; thinking it was bought by the insurer anyway and so probably ‘safe’, i went for it and was sat down in a room after that for a sales session; so i didn’t budge and came away unscath, but it definitely put me off any of such freebies. i’ve also had experiences when treatment staff tried to sweet talk me into packages during the treatment process itself, i hate it! in fact these days, unless it’s a big international name which i know wouldn’t bother if i don’t take up a package, or is extremely safe (from closure) should i be so happy that i would sign on a package, else i wouldn’t go at all–free or not; what’s the point of a supposedly relaxing treatment if i’m subject to hardselling and sales pitches?! so i guess it’s to the spas/salons’ detriment that there are consumers like me who wouldn’t even step in for a first time trial as the sector’s general reputation is just, well, unpalatable

  6. yl says:

    i stay as far away from these “deals” as possible. when i was younger, i got a deal on a facial treatment for my mum and i. when i rejected the hardsell that followed after, they all but chased me out of the place even though i wanted to stay to wait for my mum (i later realised she bought a package… she never completed it btw, said they were always pushy even when she had lots of sessions left). being 18, i wasnt as assertive as i am today and i found myself outside their premises and had to wander around taka waiting for my mum to finish. i believe they have closed down, and i cant say im sorry for them

  7. Rennie says:

    I am kind of wary about salons that give “discounts” almost always, they are not worth paying.

    It’s kind of like being wary of being on sale skincare, you just have this feeling that the skincare is horrible because its on sale.

  8. chenyze says:

    yuck i hate all of that. thank god you’re not posting their hogwash ads!

  9. sesame says:

    I guess the promo went okay? I find the bigger brands are less likely to promote with strings attached due to their reputation. I would probably try those too.

  10. sesame says:

    I’ve heard many stories about the consultant coming to the room to push packages while the customer is still having her facial. I think they know that’s the most vulnerable time to attack! Geez!

    But good thing you have a good experience too. Goes to show that there are still sensible business pple around.

  11. sesame says:

    Oh, I was quite surprise to learn that hair salons also resort to such tactics. The business at the salon must be poor, or that is their way of making revenue. Tsk tsk.

    Leaving your credit card at home is a good idea!

  12. sesame says:

    I spoke to one spa consultant and she told me that this is so for the staff trained in most establishments. Usually, their package is also tied to their commission and they’ve to hit a certain amount each month. For some of them, it’s like 10K.

  13. sesame says:

    I am quite “fierce” with such push people but the thing is, it leaves a bad aftertaste and it isn’t pleasant so like you, I prefer to avoid such situations.

    Unfortunately, this seems to be the practice for most of the establishments these days; from beauty, spa, hair to nail palors. Scary!

  14. sesame says:

    So rude of them! Your mom was in there giving them business and yet, they chased you out. I’m not sorry they closed shop too.

  15. sesame says:

    For skincare, I won’t mind so much if the brand is established and the expiry date is stated. However, I’ll be worried about new brands going on sale. The thing with skincare is, there’s usually no one to bother you. But with services, it’s another story.

  16. sesame says:

    At first I thought it was okay without thinking through but after much consideration, I thought it will be a bad idea as readers might get fleeced. I am now more careful with promoting beauty services.

  17. stella says:

    tell me about it; i really wonder what these people are thinking–with the internet, i can complain or check up on any place before i make up my mind

  18. fwy says:

    With news started since last year about spas going bust & customers not getting any refunds, I had stop going to places where you need to sign up packages of any kind.

  19. Paris B says:

    If its by a reputable salon, I’d try it. After all, its getting an experience at a smaller price than I would usually pay ? But I’m quite used to saying no to hardsell and I know I’m not one to stick to one salon for too long so its quite easy for me to try and the leave ? BUT I’m glad you chose not to take the ads. I got approached too but also turned them down as the services went against my principles.

  20. Hazel says:

    my friend’s strategy is to leave her credit cards at home if the beauty parlour is nearby.
    Personally, i’ll stay away. When i was abt 20, i saw an ad. on the papers for eye treatments – at 50% off.
    Since eyebags are my nemesis, i decided to try it out. Half way though the eye treatment, the lady told me – “you do know that for 50% off, i can only do it on one eye, ya?”

    I was speechless & couldn’t give the lady a reply . . .

  21. sesame says:

    Most probably these are less Net savvy and have no idea the power of the Internet and beauty forums.

  22. sesame says:

    I see…I prefer to steer clear too. Sometimes, the level of service drops tremendously after you sign up a package.

  23. sesame says:

    Ya, they first wanted me to try their service and when I said no, they suggested an advertorial. I’m glad I’m a procrastinator in these things…gives me time to rid my mind off the clutter and think clearer.

  24. sesame says:

    What??? Really? 50% means one eye? Oh man! This is incredulous! No wonder you’re not keen on facials…maybe that experience turned you off too.

  25. Cheng says:

    I used to take up the special offers until I got tired of all the hard-sell after the services. Initially, I signed up for packages (slimming, facials, massages) but after a while, I became immune and inured to the sales talk. One typical way to get you to sign up is to let you know that the price of the package is a 1 day only special and if you came back tomorrow, the price would no longer be applicable. Once, the hard selling began even before I was ushered into the facial room & when I gave the excuse that the package price was out of my budget, I heard the person who’d spoken to me tell the beautician in another room about my reason for not taking up the package which really made me want to walk out immediately.

  26. sesame says:

    Ya, they have their tricks no matter what you tell them. I used to tell them that I’m a housewife and I need to ask my husband before I can sign up.

  27. zzzmadison says:

    oh dear.. and here i am, thinking of going to a $28 spa haha..

  28. sesame says:

    Well, don’t get deterred. You can still try as not all of them are pushy. Maybe you will have better luck.

  29. Astarte says:

    After reading this, I feel lucky to live in Lithuania. There are many beauty salons EVERYWHERE. Two are a walking distance of 1-2 minutes (in the same building as I live), another 4 are just across the street. However all of them are small beauty salons usually owned by one or two people and they rent out places/rooms/tables for individual specialists.

    The prices, cosmetics used etc. are all up to the individual specialist that you go to. And I’ve never seen any of them take money in advance for treatments.

    Usually you just call the person and sign up for an appointment. When you show up for it, at the begging you’ll usually just talk about what you want done and how much it will cost and pay at the end. At which point you are free to make another appointment or not.

    But this way I’ve found that people are more likely to stick to the same person for their treatments, even if they change places.

  30. sesame says:

    You’re lucky! This marketing tactic seems unique to some countries in Asia. It’s too competitive and the salons advertise heavily so this is a sure way to recoup the cost.

  31. sharon says:

    They are usually very aggressive in their sales. Their strategy is to get the customers in the door and then hard sell them all the way.

    I would only go if I like the product, environment (perceived). But am likely to stay cool-headed and objective even though they way there is a validity to their promotion. I learnt my lesson the hard way 7 years ago when i went for a facial, I ended up buying their package which cost $3K, but it lasted me for 3 years. Still, a rather big sum to fork out at one time.

  32. MsLips says:

    I got the coupons but haven’t tried to book the service yet heheh. Will let you know separately via e-mail how it went.

  33. sesame says:

    Same here! It happened to me more than 10 years ago and after paying for the package, I couldn’t see a lot of improvement and I found it a total waste of money.

  34. sesame says:

    Okay…hope it’ll turn out a good session. ?

  35. joy says:

    this is scary…it feel more like been cheated…

  36. sesame says:

    Ya, these things always leave a bad aftertaste. I’m very scared of such establishments and most of the time, run a mile from them.

  37. toh88 says:

    totally agree with you!

    frankly, I was always tempted by the prices screened on tvs. but didnt grab enough courage to try them out fearing that I will be “pestered” to pay more than what I intended to.

    I have a friend who had gone to this K***** saloon for a haircut. not her 1st time though…..however, her regular hairstylist left so she was attended by another.

    somehow, comments were given that “her hair was dry and needs to be treated blah blah…..and proposed to her to sign up for a package of 6 treatments. in turn, she will save (on a long run) (sounds familar??)

    she admitted that she didnt want to be labelled as “no money” and wanted “her face” so she signed up!

    but somehow, she bluff her way through saying she didnt have so much money with her (and not having her credit cards), she told the stylist she can pay only half of the amount.

    they agreed to her “terms”!! and say “dont worry, you can come back your next visit to pay the balance, you are still entitled for this package”

    somehow, my friend didnt go back thereafter and that goes to say, she forfeited what she paid upfront and “save” on the balance.

    she told me – now I want to be firm. anything also pay by per visit. packages may be attracted at the moment but I cant use my money to roll and may even lose more.

    she’s willing to “pay more” by each visit!

  38. sesame says:

    She paid half and forfeited? That’s a waste of money isn’t it?

  39. toh88 says:

    I told her the same too! her reply was “i would rather ‘waste’ my deposit than continue to ‘waste” more money!”

    what she said though sounded ridiculous but it makes sense too! one may just be tempted or lure to further pump more money!!!

    I have another friend gone for a facial recommended by her friend. her 1st visit, she was lured to sign up a slimming package which was like almost $4K!!

    I asked her how come she signed up. she told me it was attractive at that point of time! and now she regretted!! because each visit she makes her way there, somehow, she was lured to sign more to further “enhance” her package.

    until she cant take it anymore and told the executives there “I truly have no more money, please do not try to sell me anymore packages.”

    she told me “for now, all she want to is – quickly finish off ‘her entitlement’.

    when I looked at her – I told her “wei, you dont look any different lehz….”

    her reply “dont remind me can?”

  40. sesame says:

    Wow, $4k? The most I ever spent was $2k+ on a package and even then, I negotiated to pay in 3 installments. Your friend could be right to forfeit the deposit if it’s not too much cos apart from the package, she’ll likely be pressured to purchase products too.

Leave a Reply