Posted: Jul 29, 2014 8:00 AM
What is a blowout anyway and will it look good on me? Trust will and for around $40 you can have a whole new "you." Here's what you need to know about going to a blow-dry bar and how the national chains rate up.

I never even heard of a blowout before. I thought it was a dirty word and looked at my friend in disgust when I first heard about it a couple of years ago. Then after she had a good laugh, she excitedly explained to me that a blowout was the best thing that could happen to a women's hair for around $40. Oh! After the red cheeks faded away, I went home searched the Internet and decided that I needed to get in on this trend because I have never been able to do anything with my hair besides the classic ponytail.

In the past couple of years blow-dry bars have been popping up everywhere from coast to coast and essentially, you pay money for a trained blowout stylist to shampoo and condition your hair, give you a scalp massage and blow-dry your hair into one of the signature styles of your choosing. While for some it's become part of a weekly routine to schedule a blowout, for others it's a welcome treat or luxury for special occasions and events. For the most part there are two national chains that started the blowout craze and after visiting both of them, here's what you can expect when you get the opportunity to have your first blowout.

Blo Blow Dry Bar

Price: $40 for all blowouts and $10 extra for a head massage during your shampoo. An Up-do is $65 and a Blo-girl for little girls is $25.

Started in 2007, Blo Blow Dry Bar currently has 43 locations in North America, Russia and the Philippines. Their motto is "Just WASH BLOW GO" and Blo recently partnered with actress Gwyneth Paltrow and celebrity hairstylist David Babaii to collaborate on the brand.

Red carpet and fish tail styles

Photo credit: Blo Blow Dry Bar

Menu^ Red Carpet, smooth with lots of body; Executive Sweet, skyscraper straight; Pillow Talk, messy beach waves; Holly Would, lots of curl and bounce; Hunt Club, the perfect ponytail with volume; High Society, a perfectly coifed high bun; Go Fish, a fishtail braid with volume on top.


Price: $40 for all blowouts and $50 for a blowout and a "floater," which is a 10-minute scalp massage during your shampoo. An Up-do is $80 and a Shirley Temple for little girls (10 and under) is $28.

Started by Alli Webb in 2010, Drybar currently has 37 locations throughout Arizona, California, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Washington D.C. The tagline is "No cuts. No color. Just blowouts."

Mai Tai and Straight up styles

Photo credit: Drybar

Menu^Straight Up, straight with a little bit of body; Manhattan, sleek and smooth; The Cosmo, lots of loose curls; The Mai Tai, messy beachy hair; The Cosmo-Tai, a mix between the Cosmo and the Mai-Tai; Southern Comfort, big hair and lots of volume; Hot Toddy, short and sweet; and an Up-Tini, an up-do

The Experience

Christine Fox before and after

From the minute you walk in, your blowout experience begins. The kind and friendly hostess offers you a drink like water, sparkling water, a mimosa, white wine or champagne as you wait for your stylist. Right away, I'm excited because not only am I getting my hair done for a reasonable price but it also includes a cocktail. As I wait, I am also given a menu of signature styles for me to choose from. The menu offers me several different styles and I decide to go with a simple blowout that is straight with a little bit of body. I'm excited to see what the stylist can do in 45 minutes that I haven't been able to master in all my 35 years.

The stylists are trained to finish within a certain timeframe so I only wait about three minutes before I'm greeted by my friendly stylist that takes me to the shampoo room and we discuss what look I'm going for. She also asks if my hair takes a curl well, if I'm okay with her using product in my hair and if I plan on keeping my blowout intact for a few days. You mean it will last more than one day?

She does an awesome shampoo and condition treatment that I don't want to end but I decided not to do the "floater" scalp massage because I was on a time limit. Even without adding it, she still did a scalp massage that was just enough for me to want more the next time I came in.

After the shampoo, we went to one of the empty chairs at the "bar" and she started the blowout process of making my hair dry, sleek and smooth but with just enough bouncy body that it looks professionally done. While there are mirrors in front, I decided to focus on a couple of magazines that the stylist offered me instead of trying to see what she was doing. I have very fine hair so the blow-dry doesn't take long and then she starts brushing and curling and teasing and spraying product in every direction. After 30 minutes and one full glass of champagne, it's time for the big reveal. She spins me around, fluffs my hair and asks, "what do you think?" I was blown away by the transformation from my everyday ponytail to date night hair in the 45 minute timeframe. It was the hair I've always wanted but the only problem was, it was only 3 p.m. and I had no big plans for the night except to watch The Good Wife re-runs.

I quickly paid at the front desk and made a beeline for my car. After I took a couple of selfies to share my beautiful "new" hair style with all my friends and family, I immediately called my husband and told him it's date night because I'm not letting this new look go to waste even if they do say it can last a few days.

Pro tip!^Check out these tips

If I've convinced you to go for a blowout then get ready for an experience of a lifetime but here's a few things to keep in mind.

  • Just like your regular hairstylist, you should tip. They recommend between $5-$10 per blowout.
  • If you plan on keeping your blowout intact for a few days, the stylists recommend using a dry shampoo in the morning and covering up your hair with a shower cap if you must shower. They also recommend to finger comb your hair if you went with a style that has curls rather than brush it out which will make the curls frizzy.
  • While you can request a certain stylist at your favorite blow-out bar, they do want you to know that they are each trained the same way, therefore all of their styes will be alike.
  • If you have a specific style in mind that is not on their menu, you are more than welcome to bring in a picture but to get it exact, it may cost extra.
  • Stylists recommend making an appointment for the best service, although all of them do take walk-ins based on availability.

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