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7 Splurges People Are Still Buying

Little Indulgences That Defy the Recession and Boost Spirits

6. Beauty School Drop Ins

Beauty schools are more crowded than usual with people seeking hair, skin, nail, and body treatments at a lower cost than what they would pay at a pricey salon.

The lower cost comes with a lengthier appointment. It takes time for students -- who are supervised -- to cut, color, primp, and pamper customers. The extra time is needed because it's a learning environment, notes Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools.

Some customers pick and choose their beauty school treatments, notes Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools.

For instance, Cox says a woman might "have her nails done at the school but she'll continue to have her same hair stylist ... or maybe she'll have the cut done at the school but have her color done at the salon."

Call ahead for an appointment, and if you're nervous about your first visit, ask for a senior student, suggests Lynelle Lynch, who owns the Bellus Academy and two other beauty schools in San Diego, where services include women's haircuts for $12.50 and pedicures ranging from $10 to $15.

7. Relaxation SOS

Sooner or later, people need to unwind, even if the recession wolf is still at the door. And some people are doing that at yoga class and even at high-end spas.

Danielle Tergis, director of marketing and communications at the Yoga Alliance (a nonprofit group that registers yoga teachers and yoga teacher training programs), tells WebMD she heard anecdotal reports of a "dip" in yoga class attendance when the recession began, "but since then they've come back up to the levels where they were before" as people seek stress relief.

Kripalu, a yoga center in Stockbridge, Mass., is seeing some visitors sign up for training programs in yoga or ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) to supplement their current income or as a new career after being downsized, says Cathy Shamir, Kripalu spokeswoman.

In Tucson, Ariz., people are still coming to the Canyon Ranch for spa vacations, but they're coming for shorter times and are booking at the last minute.

"Canyon Ranch is a 'vacation of need.' Guests who are booking last-minute are doing so because they feel a need to get away from daily stress, and to regain balance, energy, and focus in their lives," Lynne Brown, Canyon Ranch's sales communications manager, tells WebMD via email.

It's not that they're waiting for last-minute specials, Brown says. "Any specials we have are an added bonus, but we find they are not booking late because of them."

They're also increasingly turning to Canyon Ranch's spiritual services (such as "soul coaching"), life management (classes in behavioral health), metaphysical services (such as tarot card reading and astrology), and alternative energy therapies, such as acupuncture, Brown says.

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