Will Boston Embrace Blow Dry Only Salons?

A new blow dry only spot is opening on Newbury Street, just the third in the city.

Blow out salonsBlow out image via Shutterstock

If you’ve lived in any big city other than Boston, you’ve probably seen them before. South Florida, New York, and California, are already awash (sorry, couldn’t help myself) in blow dry only salons. The latest trend in hair care is growing at a fast pace. It is perfect for women (and men) that want a fresh-from-the-salon look for work, before a date, or for a wedding or other big event. The concept is simple: For $35, and around 45 minutes of your time, you get a wash and a blow out—no cuts, no color. Every menu is similar and offers a variety of styles like stick straight, bouncy waves, updo’s, braids, and more.

Blo in the South End opened this past July and sees a steady stream of customers, mostly Thursday through Saturday. Their detailed menu explains all the different options like the “Red Carpet” which is described as, “smooth tresses with lots of body and gentle arcs toward the neckline” or the “Executive Sweet” which is described as, “skyscraper straight.” The franchised company started in Canada and has 23 locations in North America so far.

Hairo opened on Newbury Street late in the summer and manager Cameron Ryan says that due to their location near hotels and condos, they see a lot of business before and after work, but they are even busy on Sundays. The menu includes options like the “Hairo” their signature style which is described as, “big hair with lots of body” or the “Beverly Hills” which is, “soft curls and soft waves”. Ryan says that Hairo is different than other blow dry only salons because they have their own product line which is made in small batches in a lab in Cambridge. According to Ryan, the products (shampoo is $25 for 16 ounces; conditioner is $22 for 8 ounces) are sulfate and paraben-free with a pH that is close to water.

Just two blocks away, also on Newbury Street, another blow dry only salon is opening soon called Gust-o. Their “coming soon” website says that their blow dry salon will be “all of the frills and none of the frazzle.”

But what do traditional hair salons think of this trend? Some owners of established salons on Newbury Street are not impressed. Michael Albor, owner of The Loft Salon and Day Spa, thinks it is a fad. “I’m happy to see people coming in for weekly blow outs again,” Albor says, “But you are not going to get the same quality hairdresser at those places.”

The Loft Salon offers competitive prices to the blow dry only salons. Depending on the stylist, a blow out can cost only $25, but also goes up to $50. “Education is everything. We offer BYOB [bring your own brush] workshops for clients so we can show them how to style their own hair,” Albor says. “We have working relationships with our clients.”

Will Boston embrace this hair care trend? Is it just a luxury or a necessary service? What do you think about blow dry only salons?