Natalie Harms

Drybar's first Houston Location opened in 2013 at Uptown Park. The second is expected this year in Upper Kirby. " data-image-selection='{"width":3264,"height":2448,"x1":0,"y1":0,"x2":3264,"y2":2448}'>

Photo by: Natalie Harms

Drybar's first Houston Location opened in 2013 at Uptown Park. The second is expected this year in Upper Kirby.

I own a blow dryer and I use it semi-regularly. I also own three to five other styling tools, all of which do not just sit on my bathroom counter collecting dust. On no occasion has anyone ever told me, “Wow, you seem to wear your hair up in a messy bun a lot.” I feel like this is all necessary information for you to not judge me for the following statement: As of a few weeks ago, I hadn't the slightest clue what a blowout was.

DryBar
1141 Uptown Park Blvd.
713-470-4640
drybar.com

I felt pretty stupid when I found out there were places like Drybar and Blow Dry Bar, businesses based solely on blowouts, both of which have expanded to two locations in Houston (Dry Bar's second, in West Ave, is set to open this spring). How could I have missed this seemingly successful beauty trend?

Well, I wasn’t alone. I mentioned it casually to my friends at brunch one day. One thought it was some sort of new way to take a jello shot—I didn’t ask any follow-up questions—and another referred to a particularly littered stretch of highway that has caused many “blowouts” to people’s tires.

Clearly blowouts don’t have a regular presence in my life, but I was intrigued by how they work, and how these dry bars—which sounds like a place for a terrible, sober night to me—are making so much money. 

Turns out, it’s pretty simple: Hair wash, blow dry and style. Basically the whole salon experience, sans cut and color. The way I think of it is that it’s the superfluous fun stuff—the stuff perfect for wedding parties or a girls’ day out.

Sure why not. I’ll try it.

Photo by: Natalie Harms

Everything is yellow, white or bar/hair-themed.

After suffering through the tragedy that is parking at Uptown Park at noon, I walked into what is possibly the most adorable salon I've ever seen, complete with yellow hair dryer light fixture. I checked in for the appointment I made online, at which point I was asked if I would like anything to drink—water, tea, champagne, mimosa (um, yes)—and told to “make myself at home.” With a Tina Fey movie playing, it wasn’t too hard.

Excited for mimosas and to find out the Drybar isn’t so dry, I waited for a few minutes then was led to my chair by my stylist and shown the menu. Everything is bar-themed, I learned. Styles are named after cocktails—the Mai Tai, the Cosmo, the Dirty Martini—and the products are bar related, too—Triple Sec, a three-in-one treatment spray, and 100 Proof oil, for damaged hair.

I decide on the hybrid Cosmo-Tai, which is magazine cover-worthy, but still looks like a relaxed, “I didn’t try that hard on this look” style I can get on board with.

Then, I am shampooed, conditioned and led back to the bar for the main event.

I don’t really like my hair being blow-dried. To me it's a nightmarish 30 minutes of hair-pulling to the soundtrack of a dryer’s high-pitched humming. After getting in a core workout from trying to keep my body still as the stylist yanked my wet hair with a round brush until dry, I was styled and swiveled around towards the mirror to take in my new look.

Natalie Harms

The standard before (left) and after actually puts that short 45 minutes in perspective for me. I'm definitely going back for my next special occasion." data-image-selection='{"width":600,"height":400,"x1":0,"y1":0,"x2":600,"y2":400}'>

Photo by: Natalie Harms

The standard before (left) and after actually puts that short 45 minutes in perspective for me. I'm definitely going back for my next special occasion.

I didn’t hate it. It’s a wavy, bouncy look I have never mastered on my own in my 23 years of life. I can definitely see the appeal to this service for special events, but, as I walked over to the Potbelly next door, I felt like a phony being this glamorous on a random Wednesday. Still, having a little touch of glamour gives me a little pep in my step and a bounce in my hair to boot.

 

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