Any woman can tell you that her hair can make or break her mood. A great hair day can make a blah day better and a bad hair day can ruin even the happiest of events. Until recently, however, salon-worthy hair was limited to those with an appointment or deep pockets, with an a la carte salon blowout often running in the $65 to $80 range.
Enter salons like Drybar and Blo, both U.S.-based chains specializing in “blowouts,” simple treatments that wash and style client’s hair for a fraction of the cost of a regular salon. Much like manicure/pedicure “spas,” these specialized salons remain profitable by offering a limited service menu but a high-quality product.
The concept has, in recent years, become wildly popular, allowing salon-goers to attain styles ranging from sleek and straight to curly, beachy, or even evening-ready for around the same cost as a pedicure, between $30 and $40 dollars. This affordable luxury has drawn a cult following from Manhattan to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between.
We visited the Toronto location of Blo several weeks ago and the newest location of Drybar this past weekend to test the phenomena for ourselves. At each, we asked for a volumized, curly ‘do that would take us from office to outing. At Blo, we booked a “Holly Would,” described as “fun and flirty with plenty of curl and bounce.” Our stylist washed and dried our hair, using round brushes to hold in the volume while we nibbled on gratis treats and flipped through a magazine. She explained how the salon is often packed as early as the 7 AM opening when visitors would arrive for their twice-weekly pre-work appointments. Two days later, we were sad to wash away the results.
At the newly-opened Drybar in Bethesda, Md., we were awed by the salon’s white and yellow interior. The cheery, airy space had been designed down to the last inch to cater to the professional yet stylish woman, from the snacks for purchase (everything from rice crackers to sour gummies) to the iPod docks next to each station. Here, we chose the “Cosmo-Tai” a mix between their curly Cosmo style and their more messy Mai Tai. As our stylist worked their magic on our hair, we chatted with Alli Webb, the salon’s owner and founder, who told us that D.C. had been the salon’s biggest opening yet. New openings in Murray Hill and Phoenix have also happened this month.
A recent article in the New York Post also explored this “dry” salon trend, stating that women have become so obsessed with the concept that they are spending upwards of $10,000 a year to look and feel like a celebrity.
We’ve loved our experiences (and the results) but can’t ever think we’d go quite THAT extreme with our beauty habit. But we’d love to hear from you… are blow dry bars a great new beauty trend or a passing luxury-for-less fad?