Alli Webb Talks New Book, The Drybar Guide to Good Hair for All
Waking up in the morning is hard enough. But creating that perfectly coiffed hair style? Forget it.
Alli Webb, founder of the popular blowout boutique Drybar, understands the modern woman’s struggle. With more than 100,000 blowouts performed each month across her brand’s 65 locations in the US and Canada, you might call Webb the queen of blowouts. Now she’s bringing her expertise out of the salon and into your home with a new book, The Drybar Guide to Good Hair for All, out October 18.
Ahead of the book release, we spoke with Webb about Drybar’s success, her new book, and more.
What inspired you to open Drybar in 2010?
After trying to figure out what I wanted to do in my early 20s, I decided to go to beauty school and found my passion doing hair. I was a stay-at-home mom for about five years and as much as I loved it, I kind of got the itch to get back out there. So I started a mobile blow dry business in 2008, which was basically me running around blow drying all of my mommy friends’ hair. I got very busy very fast and quickly realized that there was a big hole in the marketplace for Drybar—a place where women can go and get just a blowout without the pressure of a haircut and color, at an affordable price. It’s something I’d always dreamed of as a kid, so that’s what we did.
How does Drybar differ from other blowout boutiques?
I think there are a ton of things that separate us from copycats out there. I believe they are great because they raise awareness overall, but everything we do—from the training of our stylists to our philosophy on customer service—[is what make us stand out]. Coming at this as a hairdresser and the pickiest client you’ll ever meet, I think we check a lot of the boxes that make a really great experience.
What was the catalyst behind writing a book?
Despite our many locations, we have found over the years that there are a lot more places we aren’t reaching. We have a ton of how-to videos and a dry-it yourself series where I get great feedback like, “Oh, I never knew you held the brush that way,” or “Oh, my sections are too big.” The feedback is always about whatever problem is preventing you from getting your hair the way you want it to look. The book is kind of an extension of that. Women struggle with their hair, which is a testament to why Drybar has been so successful. The videos and the book really demystify everything I’ve learned. The book is a guide to not only doing all of our styles but to understanding general tasks like how to get your bangs straight and what things you should and shouldn’t do. It also has pieces of my personal story.
Why should readers pick up a copy?
The thing about hair is that it’s so subjective and specific to each individual. And that’s what I think is so great about the book: there’s something for everybody. The book is broken down into all the styles we are showing on different hair types and textures. For example, if you’re trying to get our Cosmo, which includes lots of curls, but you have straight hair, you’re going to use different methods than someone trying to get the look that has naturally curly hair. We tried to make the book user-friendly regardless of what type of hair you have.
What hair products do you swear by?
One of my go-tos right now is our Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray, which is this really great spritzer you can put in dry hair to give it those beach-y waves. We also released a detox dry conditioner for your ends when they haven’t been washed for a few days and start to feel crunchy. It makes your hair feel so smooth and silky.
Who’s your hair style icon?
The first one that pops into my mind is Brigitte Bardot. When you think of her, you think of long blond, bombshell hair. I’ve always loved that. But I get inspired all the time. I’m also really inspired by a short, textured bob. I think Rose Byrne has one right now that is really cute. That’s one of the things I just love about the industry: you can always change your hair. You can always do something different and almost reinvent yourself.
What’s your number one tip for quality hair care maintenance?
I think it would be not washing your hair every day, which really helps with the textured, dirty look that I like. You want to give your hair a break. As great as it is getting a blowout, whether it’s at home or at Drybar, it should be done once every two to three days because less is better for your hair.
What kinds of hairstyles do you think will be popular this fall?
I really think we’re going to continue with this textured trend. The dirtier the better. During New York Fashion Week, many models sported straight hair, so I think we’ll probably see a lot of that as well.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
You can pick up a copy of Webb’s new book at one of Drybar’s three locations in Back Bay, Chestnut Hill, or Harvard Square for $25 starting October 18. The book is also currently available for pre-order on Abrams, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound.org, Books-a-Million, and Indigo (Canada only).