Salons, spas and studios reward clients willing to go the extra mile.
* BEST DEALS
Yoga Many studios offer free community classes. We tried the weekend classes at Moksha Riverwest(700 N Carpenter St, 773-975-9642; Sundays 3:30–5pm) and Yoga Now Edgewater(5852 N Broadway, 773-561-9642; Sundays 6–7:30pm). The instructors were solid, the participants were fully engaged, and we felt tuckered and limber by the end of each lesson. Hidden cost The Zen buzz is slightly dampened by the hordes of students: At Moksha, it was so crowded we often had to stagger or turn sideways to do some of the poses so that we wouldn’t hit each other. And beware of unannounced cancellations that paying students never have to deal with—we were greeted by a note on the door that said CLASS IS CANCELED at Nature Yoga(2021 W Division St, 773-227-5720; Sundays 3:30–4:45pm) in Wicker Park. Bummer. —Laura Baginski and Stephanie Gladney
*Haircuts By scouring Craigslist and SalonApprentice.com, we found dozens of wanna-be stylists looking for guinea pigs. “I’m really happy with my trim and face-framing layers I got at Joseph Michael’s Salon in the Gold Coast,” says TOC office assistant Katie Salisbury. “The stylist’s boss watched her the whole time so I never felt nervous.” Hidden cost Most stylists want to work with a specific type of hair (bob, curly, etc.), so it could take some fishing around before you score an appointment. Also, prepare to be there awhile: Salisbury’s stylist spent two hours on a straightforward cut that typically would’ve taken less than half that long. —Liz Plosser
Acupuncture As part of the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine(909 W Montrose Ave, suite 201, 773-975-1295), this free clinic offers acupuncture and nutritional and herbal consultations. After answering a lengthy questionnaire (on everything from my sleeping patterns to my bowel movements) in a crowded waiting area, I received 25 minutes of acupuncture with a student. Afterward, I felt relaxed and my back pain had temporarily eased up. On Monday and Tuesday, first-time clients can sign in from 2–7pm. For returning visitors, the free acupuncture is Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 1–7pm, and Wednesday and Friday 1–3pm. Hidden cost Appointments aren’t accepted; I arrived at 6:40pm and didn’t leave until 10:10pm. There’s also not much privacy in the curtained treatment areas. —Martina Sheehan
*Facial A few days a month, facialist Ezzat Goushegir is on call at the Fresh counter in Macy’s(111 N State St, 312-781-3699, call ahead for an appointment). In a private, candlelit treatment room, she performs 30- to 45-minute facials with Fresh goodies. If there’s time, clients get a quickie rundown on the products used and why. The experience is so calming and lovely that I practically floated back to my cubicle. Hidden cost One staffer reported mildly annoying product-pushing, but I felt no pressure to buy anything. —LP