Drybar is a simple-but-brilliant concept in hair salons: No colors and no cuts, just a wash--with an optional head massage for $10--and a blowout styling session for $35. (Plus tip, if you are so inclined--which you should be.) Last week, every chair at the new Houston location in Uptown Park was full for the shop's grand opening celebration.
The best way to describe everything at Drybar--from the atmosphere to the hairstyles--is fun. You pick out your style from a bar-style menu that includes a sleek-and-stylish 'Manhattan' or a beachy 'Mai Tai'; you can add on services for an additional fee ($70-$80 for an 'UpTini' up-do, $20 conditioning treatments). While you get your hair done you can order a cocktail, flip through a magazine, chat with your stylist, and watch chick flicks displayed on flat screen televisions. Whether you want to treat yourself to a little 'me time,' or plan a special day out for a big group of girlfriends, Drybar is equal parts salon, spa, and party.
My stylist, Ashley Reid, sat me down and we talked briefly about my recently cut hair and agreed the wavy Mai Tai was the way to go, as my goal was a good-looking Day Two Bedhead for the weekend. Once my hair was washed, I sat down again in Ashley's chair while she went to work on my head with a dizzying array of hair dryers, curling irons, and round brushes. She twisted strands, blowing them dry and then leaving the brush attached like a giant curler and moved on to other sections, eventually returning to rotate the brush/curler technique all the way around.
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As she worked, Ashley talked about Drybar's line of hair products, as well as their curling iron. "I am obsessed with this thing," said Ashley. She demonstrated how the Drybar curling iron is designed to allow the user to turn the barrel, not the wrist, in order to wrap hair around the heating element. (Another simple-but-brilliant idea.) The iron--called the 'Three Day Bender'--retails for $125, as does the Drybar 'Smooth Operator straightening iron; their signature hair dryer is $190, and brushes retail for $15-$40.
Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar, stopped by my chair to say hello and talk about her Houston debut. "I am just really excited to be here, and to open a Houston location," she said, looking around at the crowd surrounding us. "It's crazy in here today!" We talked a little bit about her weekend plans (Astros games with the family) and we commiserated over past experiences growing out a pixie cut (you have to do it yourself to understand) before she moved on to greet new clients.
If you find you can't live without Drybar, you can sign up for a membership or start a "bar tab"; the former is a way to save on regular monthly visits and includes ten percent off all Drybar products, while the former allows you to purchase expiration-free blowouts at a slight discount.
As for my Drybar blowout? It looked great on day one, excellent on day two, and with the help of an extra boost of dry shampoo I even got some mileage out of it on day three. That's $35 well-spent in my book.