"The Twin Cities has the most competitive cosmetology industry in the country," said Dan Lynch, president of Hastings Beauty School.

Since he has owned the school in 2003, five schools have opened in the east metro area alone. But the competition is good news for consumers looking to find a haircut for less than $12, color for $30, manicures for less than $15 and pedicures for less than $25. Ask about other specialty services.

You'll definitely save money at the schools, but at what cost?

Students must have at least 240 hours of instruction before they can work on the public. Prior to that, students practice on mannequins and one another, Lynch said. The most problematic service is color, said Cori Omundson, front-desk manager at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology in Woodbury. Artificial nails can be tricky, too.

Getting services done at a school or training academy also subsidizes the students' tuition, which ranges from $12,000 to $20,000. Without the school salons, the price of tuition would easily double. Training academies such as Ficocello's and Rocco Altobelli charge more than others because the students are recent graduates of cosmetology schools but still less experienced than veterans at most salons.

Note: Most of the schools offer birthday parties for preteen girls for $8 to $20 per child with several services. Some also offer similar parties for adults.

Aveda Institute

400 Central Av. SE., Minneapolis, 612-331-1400, www.avedainstitutemn.com

Hours: 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Mon., 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Services: Haircut, $15; color, $35; partial foils, $30; makeup, $15; facial, $40-$50.

Specials: Classes ($20 each, but the fee is redeemable for $20 in products or services) include Men's Night Out, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 30. Learn men's grooming techniques for hair, shaving, skin and body care. At Aveda Baby (6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 21), learn soothing massage techniques to relax your baby to improve sleep. A Nov. 18 class (6:30-7:30 p.m.) offers quick holiday tips for hair and makeup; sign up in advance.

CENTRAL BEAUTY SCHOOL

538 S. Main St., Suite 110, Cambridge, Minn., 763-691-1431; 2933 Pentagon Dr., Minneapolis, 612-781-3619, www.centralbeautyschool.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays.

Services: Haircuts, $7; full foil, $40 and up; sugaring (similar to waxing, leads to permanent removal over time), including eyebrows, $6.

Specials: For September, $5 haircut with appointment and $5 off any chemical service.

EMPIRE BEAUTY SCHOOLS

Bloomington, 952-881-8662; Eden Prairie, 952-906-2117; St. Paul, 651-209-6930; Spring Lake Park, 763-717-1903; www.empire.edu/mn.html

Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays; evening hours vary by school.

Services: Haircut, $11; spa manicure, $10; spa pedicure, $25; spa facial, $25 (60 minutes); eyebrow wax, $7.

Specials: Hair color, $15; foils, 2-for-$1 (highlights or lowlights); color refresh, $3

FACES ETC. OF MINNESOTA

4419 Nicollet Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-824-3000

Hours: By appointment.

Services: The only professional makeup school in the Upper Midwest, Faces offers makeup services, mostly on location for brides ($125), mother of the bride ($75-$100), bridesmaids ($35), as well as other special occasions. Prices vary based on a makeup artist's experience.

Specials: On Oct. 5 (the first Monday of each month), the school offers makeup application "makeover madness" for $35 by appointment.

Halloween makeup: Cuts, bruises, black eyes, oozing sores, anyone? Prices vary by look.

FICOCELLO'S ADVANCED TRAINING CENTER

496 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-698-7272

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Sat.

Services: Haircut, $20-$24; all-over color, $43-$48; foils, $50-$85.

Specials: Free bang trims all the time.

HASTINGS SCHOOL OF BEAUTY

221 E. 2nd St., Hastings, 651-437-1225, www.hastingsbeautyschool.com

Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Mon., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri.

Services: Haircut, $8; foils, $30 and up; color, $30 and up; manicure, $9; pedicure, $20; spa package with brow wax, mani-pedi, makeup application and shampoo and style, $60.

Specials: For September, $5 haircuts, $7 off perms and 20 percent off retail products.

MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF BEAUTY

20186 Heritage Dr., Lakeville, 952-469-4545, www.mnschoolofbeauty.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Services: All-over color, $30 and up; full foils, $40 and up; facials, $12; basic manicure, $10.

Specials: For September, $22 spa pedicure, $8 haircut and $10 facial.

MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF COSMETOLOGY

1750 Weir Dr., Woodbury, 651-287-2180, www.msccollege.edu

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Mon. and Fri., 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tue., 9:30 a.m.-9:15 p.m. Wed.- Thu., 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.

Services: Full spa pedicure includes a bottle of nail polish, massage and mask for feet, $29; facials, $20 and up; basic manicure, with bottle of polish, $14; highlights, $20 and up.

Specials: Haircuts for $6 on Mondays and Thursdays, 15 percent off Kenra and Sexy Hair products in September.

Nail Tech and Beauty School

6993 N. 35th St., Oakdale, 651-777-0274

Hours: 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. weekdays.

Services: Haircut, $5; facial including free MAC makeup application, $15 and up; manicure, $5; pedicure, $10.

Specials: With a pedicure and facial, get a free manicure in September.

PRO-IMAGE BEAUTY SCHOOL

759 N. Milton St., St. Paul, 651-488-3028, ext. 1, www.proimagebeautyschool.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Fri.

Services: Manicure, $9; haircut with shampoo, $9; perm, $30; full foils, $40.

Specials: Free manicure with a pedicure ($20) through September.

Regency Beauty Institute

Blaine, 763-784-9102; Burnsville, 952-435-3882; Maplewood, 651-773-3951; Minnetonka, 952-697-3000, www.regencybeauty.com.

Hours: 9 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.

Services: Manicure, $11 and up; pedicure, $15 and up; full foils, $40 and up; haircut, $9 and up.

Specials: Free bottle of polish with manicure or pedicure, loyalty card with $10 credit after six appointments.

ROCCO ALTOBELLI ADVANCED EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY

665 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-690-5491

Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.

Services: Haircut, $18.50 and up; color, $25 and up; waxing, $12. Specials: Buy a package of three Claypac Clayons treatments for $46 (regularly $21 each) through Oct. 10.

Salon Professional Academy

4411 Winnetka Av. N., New Hope, 763-504-2772, www.tspacademy.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 1-9 p.m. Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m Fri. and Sat.

Services: Haircut, $9-$12; highlight, $35 and up; pedicure, $22 and up; brow wax, $8; corrective facial, $23 and up.

Specials: Through October, $1 manicure with the purchase of a pedicure, 15 percent off all products that fit in a bag, buy three facials and get one free.

ST. PAUL COLLEGE

235 Marshall Av., St. Paul, 651-846-1329, www.saintpaul.edu

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

Services: Spa pedicure, $25; manicure, $10; color, $30-$50; flat-iron, $15-$20; reconditioning, $20.

Specials: In September, haircuts with shampoo and conditioner are $2.50, by appointment only.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or jewoldt@startribune.com. If you spot a deal, share it at www.startribune.com/blogs/dealspotter.

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