Save Yourself: Nail a Break With These Tips on Manicure Discounts

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


In this bleak economy, you might be craving the pampering effects of having someone else make your digits dazzle more than ever. Newsweek recently crunched the numbers and found that even that least indulgent of indulgences -- a simple cut, file, polish -- can take a toll on finances: The magazine calculated that a $23 manicure, at a not-that-outrageous six times a year for 68 years, means a lifetime nail bill of $9,384. If you're lousy at painting your own nails, you can at least snag yourself a cut-rate mani. Assuming you can trim $18 a year off services for 68 years, it could add up to $1,224 in savings. How to negotiate your nails:

-- Hit smallish neighborhood salons at off hours. Luy Huynh, manager of Cindy Nails in Rockville (11630 Rockville Pike; 301-881-9614), says Monday through Wednesday and rainy days are the best times to bargain on its $14 manicure. Few clients try to negotiate but, "sometimes we cut off $2, $5," he says, to win a new customer.

-- Promise it's a quickie. Tell the technician, "I just came in last week . . . and I just need a cleanup," says Tina Tull, a nail technician and daughter of The "Joy" Nguyen, owner of Joy's Spa and Nail Salon (2471 18th St. NW, second floor; 202-234-0909), where a manicure runs $20. "Usually, they don't even need to do anything. We just say, 'I just took $5 off.' "

-- Don't push it. It's unlikely you'll get more than $5 off, says Tull, especially at nicer day spas such as Bella Donna Skin & Body Spa in Fairfax County (7025-H Manchester Blvd., Alexandria; 703-313-7945), which is firm on its $22 cost. Nobody has ever even tried to bargain there, says owner Mary Powell.

-- Just be brutally honest. At Vicky's Nail Boutique (1616 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-342-0406), owner Vicky Chung recently gave free manicures (usually $15) to two regulars who confessed they'd lost their jobs as a one-time pick-me-up.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

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