Already popular in New York and L.A., blowout bars—singularly focused on washing, drying, and styling hair—are popping up all over town. The notion of letting someone properly style my very long, very thick mane wasn’t a hard one to, well, get my head around. The process can take me close to an hour—most days I leave for work with my locks still damp. Could pro tress management be just what the doctor ordered? I combed the city’s dry bars to find out. —Nicole Cammorata
Blo Blow Dry Bar
The stylist at this South End spot starts by passing the dryer over my hair and clipping it into sections. She builds drama at the roots by extending brushfuls high into the air and blasting my scalp. When she gets to the front of my hair, it has air-dried, and resists shaping. The final look is voluminous—think Bumpits meets debutante. “Foofy,” says my boyfriend. Score: C+
I mention that my hair idol is Gisele. The stylist at this Back Bay shop then loads up my locks with “Southern Belle” mousse and, as she finishes each section, rolls it into a loose coil and secures it. When she turns me toward the mirror an hour later, I’m impressed by the shiny waves with a hint of curl. It looks like model hair but lasts only a few hours before fizzling. Score: B+
The year-old Newbury Street salon seems a bit worn around the edges. My appointment is the last of the day, and I can tell the staff wants to leave. After drying my tresses, the stylist uses a curling iron to produce springy, full coils, and finishes the look with flexible-hold hairspray. At a party that night I’m peppered with compliments. The style lasts for two full days. Score: A-
I have the Lynnfield shop to myself on a Tuesday night and bond with the stylist, a fellow redhead. She shows me available ’dos on an iPad and I pick a basic one: straight and tousled with a slight flip at the ends. As she’s drying, I sip tea and watch a Selena Gomez movie. She keeps my back to the mirror until the final reveal. It’s perfect—shiny and soft, with movement. I could get used to this. Score: A
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