No cuts. No color. Just blowouts. Such is the philosophy of Drybar, a hip blow-dry-only hot spot that got its start with one location in Los Angeles in 2010 and now boasts nearly 30 locations throughout the country. The concept is simple—an affordable price for a blowout at a place that specializes in them. “Drybar really came out of personal necessity for me,” says co-founder Alli Webb. “I was so frustrated with overpaying for blowouts at my salon and couldn’t stand the discount chain alternative. I knew if we created a fun experience in a beautiful atmosphere where ladies could get an incredible blowout at a fair price, they would come running. And they have.”
Drybar is one of several blow-dry shops that have been finding smashing success in the marketplace. Blo is a blow-dry chain that debuted in 2007 in Canada and now has nearly 30 outposts in North America. For $35, clients can choose from one of seven different looks and receive a wash, blowout, and style. In New York City, Blow opened its doors in 2005 as a blowout-only bar. Today, it offers a shampoo and style for $40, $50, or $60, depending on hair length and texture, as well as glam updos, blowout parties, cuts and color, extensions, its own line of products, and even a blow-dry academy for its stylists, further proving the growth potential of a blow-dry bar.
The marketing opportunities are also endless—and fun. Blo’s company motto is “Scissors are verboten. Dye, ditto. No cuts, no color: Just WASH BLOW GO.” Services are performed by Hair Cadets, and all marketing materials are designed in a catchy bright pink shade. “We are cheeky and pink,” says Lizzy Marks, Blo corporate’s franchise operations manager. “Our messaging has appealed to a wide range of markets and demographics. People really dig our light approach to marketing. The pink gets their attention, and the sass makes them laugh. It’s a winning combination.” At Drybar, guests can peruse a picture booklet of styles when selecting their blowouts. Options include Straight Up, straight with a little body; Manhattan, sleek and smooth; The Cosmo, with lots of loose curls; The Mai Tai, messy beachy hair; Southern Comfort, big hair with lots of curls; and more. Updos and the Shirley Temple kids option are also available.
The blow-dry bar idea is not just a stand-alone concept, as many spas are quickly discovering. A great example is the Blowout Bar on Fifth Avenue at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa (New York City), where clients pay $45 for one of three styles. The idea is also aimed at a very specific clientele—the promotion is available Monday through Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. “We’re targeting women who want to be in and out pre-work or before their day starts to look and feel good and ready to take on the day,” says George Lopez, general manager.
The four-station Dino Palmieri Blow Dry Bar at the Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa Eton (Chagrin Falls, OH) features a menu where guests can choose from one of six looks. Each blow-dry is $40 and includes a conditioning treatment, the blow-dry and style, and a shower cap to help keep the look for a few days. The FlyDry Blowdry Bar, which has a stand-alone location in Delray Beach, FL, recently opened within Deborah Koepper Beauty (Palm Beach, FL). There, a flat $35 fee includes a signature shampoo, scalp massage, and blowout service.
This blow-dry-bar-within-a-spa idea is one that has legs. “What a treat to get that ‘just-stepped-out-of-a-salon’ look and confidence more than just a few times a year,” says Kate Fogarty, founder and president of FlyDry. “We are literally saving women time by taking the lengthy and tiresome chore of doing their own hair off their agendas.”
Blowouts also pair perfectly with spa services. “The Blowout Bar provides us with the opportunity to talk about other services clients may not have thought about or know that Red Door offers,” says Lopez. “The client who comes in as a blow-dry bar guest is more than likely going to start seeing one of the stylists for cuts and color, as well,” adds Angela Presti, salon manager at Dino Palmieri. Fogarty also believes a blow-dry is the perfect add-on service for spas. “Because facials, massages, or other treatments can leave clients with wet or oily hair, it’s a great way to offer them the opportunity to leave the spa and go straight out to dinner or even back to work,” she says.
Aside from “soundproofing your walls,” which Marks jokingly advises, there are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about bringing the concept to your spa, the first of which is talent. “Having the right number of stylists on duty at any given moment is a moving target,” says Fogarty. “Hiring great people who love to style and are comfortable leaving cut and color behind is always a challenge.” Lopez reiterates that it is important to ensure you have employees who can do blowouts efficiently and expertly. “You want your guest to say ‘wow’ at your blowout,” he says.
It’s also important to be available when clients need you, so your hours may need some tweaking, and you will need to have stylists available for walk-in services. Blo, for instance, is open as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m. by appointment, seven days a week.
Still, according to Presti, it’s an idea that you should seriously consider if you’re looking to keep your spa current and grow your revenue. “Do it,” she says. “It is fun for the staff, and clients love the whole concept.” Indeed, it’s one bar that is certain to remain on the scene for many years to come. After all, asks Fogarty, “What woman doesn’t want a blowout? For many women, it is a luxury now made affordable.”
Help your clients achieve a stylish, lasting look with this selection of products.
Agadir Spritz Styling Finishing Spray: Enriched with vitamin E and antioxidants, this non-aerosol spray keeps hair in place while smoothing, de-frizzing, and providing shine. www.agadirint.com
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Perfect Blowout Crème: Infused with caviar extract, cytokine, and vitamin C to restore hydration, strength, and vibrancy, this cream creates sleek, smooth blowouts with radiant shine. www.alternahaircare.com
Aveda Pure Abundance Style-Prep: This naturally derived formula infuses hair with all-day weightless volume. It detangles and helps refresh volume on non-shampoo days. www.aveda.com
BlowPro Ready Set Blow: This express blow-dry lotion speeds up the process. Residue-free, it primes and smoothes hair. www.shop.blowpro.com
ECRU New York Sunlight Finishing Spray MAX: This weightless, fast-drying, brushable spray provides brilliant shine with maximum hold. www.ecrunewyork.com
Gloessentials Infinite Shine Smoothing Oil: A blend of argan and coconut oils and proteins work together to reduce frizz and drying time and create resilient, stronger strands. www.gloprofessional.com
It Factor Simply It Quick Blowdry Smoothing Lotion: Used on wet hair, this lotion reduces blow-drying and styling time. It also detangles, eliminates frizz, and leaves hair soft, smooth, and shiny. www.itfactorbeauty.com
Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Perfect Hold Hair Spray: This food-grade spray uses certified organic plant power to provide lasting hold. www.intelligentnutrients.com
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum: A blend of silicones smoothes texture while delivering a layer of crystal-clear gloss for polished, frizz-resistant styles. www.johnfrieda.com
Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Collection: Three patent-pending formulations offer tailored solutions for individual hair types. When used prior to blow-drying, they protect the hair, leaving it feeling silky, shiny, and manageable. www.kenra.com
Keranique Volumizing Lifting Spray: This weightless, alcohol-free spray targets the root area to add instant volume, bounce, and shine. It protects each hair shaft against breakage and harmful heat damage caused by styling irons and blow-dryers. www.keranique.com
Neuma Blow Dry Lotion: Containing a proprietary blend of plant extracts and essential oils, this weightless formula adds hold and manageability while protecting hair against damage caused by hot styling tools. www.neumabeauty.com
Pravana Nevo Collection Hydra Pearls: This concentrated elixir is comprised of natural oils to provide moisture, shine, quicker drying time, and a smooth texture. www.pravana.com
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap: This protective hair treatment fortifies distressed hair with protein to smooth the cuticle and reduce breakage and split ends. It also provides heat protection. www.redken.com
Repêchage Hydra-Amino18 Hair Spa Serum: This formula is designed to nourish damaged hair and restore a youthful shine while protecting hair from styling stress, fading color, and frizz. www.repechage.com
Schwarzkopf Professional BC Hairtherapy Oil Potion Finishing Treatment: Argan oil fortifies hair to create soft and smooth strands and protect against humidity and heat styling while speeding up the blow-drying process. www.schwarzkopf-professional.com