Let's Discuss!: What Do You Think of Groupon Beauty Deals?

Monday, July 22, 2013

You can thank my cousin for today's post.

She texted me over the weekend, telling me about her nightmarish mani/pedi experience at a new salon she was trying through a Groupon deal. I've included the picture, but as my cousin swore up and down, the image doesn't do it justice. After claiming the 10-year-old kids I babysit could do better, she removed the nail polish as soon as she got home. 

I've only ever tried one Groupon beauty deal before, and the experience was enough to put me off them. Last year, I booked an eyebrow reshaping appointment at a swanky spa, dragged my poor cousins along with me, and then spent the afternoon regretting ever walking through the door. The "brow reshaping" included the aesthetician rushing through an explanation of brow shape I could have gotten off Google in two seconds, and then shaving (not plucking or threading!) unwanted hair. My cousins and I kept requesting that she not do our respective brows a certain way, which she promptly ignored. I told her that my eyebrows are dark and thick on their own, but my eyes are small so I need my brows to be a little on the thin side--definitely not too dark or heavily penciled in. She vigorously nodded. 

I looked in the mirror when she finished, and one particular Disney villain immediately came to mind. 

My iPhone lens didn't do those evil caterpillars justice

I've had good experiences with some Groupon food and activity deals I've purchased, so I'm not knocking the concept--but there's just something about the beauty deals that has more potential to go wrong. Obviously, a haircut or waxing can go badly a lot more easily than a scrapbooking class, but the trouble is that no matter how reputable the salon or spa, I never know how the staff at the establishment will treat the Groupon client.

You would think that they would be extra courteous to new guests (if broadening their clientele is the whole point of companies participating in Groupons), but I've read reviews of salons doing quick and careless jobs on Groupon customers, where "normal" clients swear by the customer service and quality work. 

I've never purchased a beauty deal at a place I haven't first researched and read reviews of, as there's no point in trying a salon I wouldn't want to go to. My cousin does the same thing, and I'm assuming just about everyone else does too. But despite the research, there's still that chance of staff blowing off the Groupon customer, which makes Groupon beauty deals very hit or miss. 

With that in mind, here's the question: with things like haircuts, waxing, and facials (beauty services that can go seriously wrong), is the chance of the Groupon being a huge miss worth trying it out in the first place? 

I've actually just booked myself a few laser hair appointments through a Groupon deal, so I may have to update this post in a few weeks. As for my cousin, she had previously purchased a haircut, deep conditioning treatment and blowout Groupon, and since her mani/pedi disaster has opted out of the haircut, since there was "too much room for them to screw it up."

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts--leave a comment!


  1. You're doing a great service to your readers: consumer reporting at its grass-roots finest. If I could snap my fingers and make things right, you would have 100k daily readers and a 6-figure salary. That's not to say it can't happen sooner than the current pace would dictate; but, just keep it up and your aspirations will be realized. This applies no matter what career field you choose. You have the tools; keep them sharp and keep using them. Also, you are gorgeous — caterpillars and all!

    1. Aw, G.G., your comments always make my day!

      If your idea of a fair world is one in which I have 100,000 readers and a six-figure salary, let's all hope for some justice to kick in! =)

      Thanks for the motivation and wisdom--your comments are always so appreciated!

  2. I find that many Groupon/Living Social deals are so tricky! Many time they advertise for some special treatment (sea scrub manicure , deep conditioning hair), but it ends up being one additional (and quick) step (many times, no additional step, just using different products to the service). For example, the "sea scrub" manicure I got was this jar labeled "sea scrub" that was very rough while exfoliating my skin. And the "deep conditioning" was a longer conditioning process (8 minutes) instead of a regular conditioning. The salons can name the original price whatever they want and name the service much cheaper. It really isn't worth it in my past experience. The salons are usually not nice to begin with, and the service and expertise of the staff are certainly not up to par. Pretty much every time I think of how the Groupon salons I am in can be in the next episode of Tabitha's Salon Makeover.

    Though I have had a few okay experience in massages/facials using Groupon/Living Social, I'd advise that it's important to read the reviews first. However, they can still be inconsistent. For me, I would prefer to spend more money on a service that I know I will be satisfied with, than going for a cheap(er) deal that ends up being a waste of money and out with an annoyed mood.

    1. Yes, Anon, I totally forgot to mention the whole business of false advertising!

      They can really spin whatever extra step, as you put it, into a whole big to-do and we would be none the wiser. The examples you gave are just absurd--especially the "deep" conditioning one. What do you suppose the solution is? Calling ahead for more information on the service, maybe?

      I LOVE the Tabatha comment--I haven't had too many grimy salon experiences, but it would make sense for the shoddier ones to be involved with Groupon, out of necessity.

      And I think I'd agree with you overall on saving money for a (hopefully) guaranteed quality service.