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A perfect blow (dry)

Posted in Style & Travel

dry barWhen it comes to doing my hair, my routine hasn’t changed in 50 years: a wash  in the shower every other day and three minutes under the hairdryer. I couldn’t style my hair even with a gun to my head. Nor  am I not very good at articulating what I want done with it – my ever patient hairdresser, Maxime, who has known me for 15 years, has learnt to interpret my “do whatever you want as long as I can pull it in some sort of ponytail”. I don’t even bother to bring pictures from magazines because my frame of reference on what looks good on Jennifer Aniston doesn’t allow me to imagine if it would look on me.

So, sitting in the chair at Dry Bar in Pacific Palisades, CA, faced with the “what would you like question”, I vaguely instructed a girl called Benno to just polish up whatever I came in with.

Dry Bar is a chain of salons that opened a few years ago and has now branched out in most US major cities (you can find a list of locations on their website  (there are also some locations in London by the same name – same idea but different companies). The services they offer are limited to washing and styling your hair. That is it. No cutting, no coloring, no nothing else.

Need an updo for a fancy night out? A blow-out for a friend’s wedding or a job interview? They will deliver whatever you need. Or so they claim. In the interest of finding out for myself and on behalf of those of you who might have one of these salons in your neighbourhood, I decided to find out. And here is the skinny:


  • making an appointment is easy peasy. You can call but it’s much easier to do it on line. You will receive a confirmation within minutes. Special requests such as a preferred stylist can usually be accommodated
  • the spaces are bright, clean and inviting. The staff was extremely welcoming, ready with refreshments and chocolate
  • best of all, there is no wait: clients are in and out within 30 minutes tops.
  • you are asked whether you want conditioner just on your ends or everywhere and if you want products applied during your styling, which I think is a very considerate touch.
  • a little booklet with photos will help you pick your style, such as Straight Up (simple and straight), Manhattan (sleek and smooth), Southern Comfort (Big hair – do women still want that?), Mai Tai (messy and beachy, what I went for) etc.


IMG_1167Shampoo and blow-dry is $35. They offer add-ons like a 10  minutes head massage for an extra $10, Clip-in extension applications for $10, in home blow-dries etc, including assorted snacks for $4 (if you really need to eat during those 30 minutes). Different monthly memberships for the gals who just don’t like to wash their hair themselves are also available.

How is this different than booking an appointment at your regular salon for just a blow-dry? Depending on where you go, this might be a bit or a lot cheaper. For me, the convenience is the timing: no wait, no clients holding each other up because of cutting taking too long and a lot of stylists on hand to get you in and out.

The results? Despite my barebone instructions, I came out looking really good. In all honesty, my hairdresser will get a more modern and more chic look (he would also charge me more than $35) but, all in all, I walked out well put together. I would use it again for a fancy night out or an important business meeting.

This post was not sponsored by Dry Bar

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  1. SofaSister

    Dry Bar has arrived in South Africa as well Tah Dah…! The first opened up in an upmarket mall in Sandton Joburg. They are absolutely fantastic and make a wash and blow now affordbale on a regular basis.

    April 1, 2013
  2. I am all thumbs with a blow dryer – I once got a round brush snarled in my hair so badly I almost panicked! My hairdresser laughs at me when I say that but it’s true. This sounds like a great idea – and it’s nearby!

    March 26, 2013
    • Really recommend it for that hot date with your husband! Or your next job interview

      March 29, 2013
  3. silvia

    There is also another reason why one might want to use their service which I think is great: the impossibility to take a shower for a a few days for matters related to health issues or because your bathroom is under reconstruction.
    I was recently looking for a place like that and I think it’s a great business opportunity for other countries – especially big cities – to develop.
    And darling I’m sure you looked gorgeous!

    March 26, 2013
    • What do you mean? You have the corner hairdresser, with the dirty apron, a lot of gossip and 1990’s styles. Not good enough?

      March 29, 2013

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