November 6th 2019
Postcard from LA: Drybar's brilliant blow dries
February 22nd 2013 / 0 comment
Kinvara Balfour has finally found The One - here she reports on where to go for the perfect blow-dry in LA
We all have our quests in life. Some seek a knight in shining armour. Others, the perfect pair of jeans. Me? I’m forever in search of the perfect blow-dry. The one where I get my hair into a sleek, frizz-free style that’s more akin to something sported by a model in the pages of Vogue than by Bananarama circa 1980.
I want to achieve this glossy perfection in as little time, and with as little stress, as possible – which is not as easy as it sounds when visiting a hairdresser. Every girl knows it can go so right. And so wrong.
I want soft, smooth curls without having my locks smeared in handfuls of greasy product or singed to death by an amateur. I want the shampooist to scrub every inch of my scalp – and I mean scrub. When it comes to the rinse, I want it rinsed. I don’t want to have to make idle, neck-breaking, throat-strangling chit-chat during the operation.
And when it gets to the hair-drying part, I want a heavy, confident hand: someone who drives a hair brush through my hair with the commitment and expertise of Lewis Hamilton. Any sign of limpness within the first three minutes of sitting down and I’m fighting back the desire to cry. I’m being quite serious.
My quest, thankfully, is over; for I have found my blow-dry utopia. In London, it is Josh Wood Atelier; (www.joshwoodcolour.com) everyone here knows what they’re doing. In LA, it is Drybar (www.thedrybar.com). Now a successful chain across the USA, this place gets everything right.
Here, they don't cut and they don't colour. They blow. Period. And the stylist who dries your hair also washes your hair, thus saving you time. This is a production line the Chinese would be proud of - and all from a pretty $35 (a snip, compared to London’s extortionate prices).
It's not just the free cookies and efficient reception team that seduce me. Drybar’s fresh yellow and white colour scheme is as lovely as the impeccable service it provides. All the stylists - and there are loads of them, all working around one central station from dawn ‘til dusk - are good. And they don't talk inane rubbish while they work so I can tap away at my laptop or watch shamelessly cheesy rom-coms on the TV screen in front of me. Thirty minutes later, I run out with hair I like.
They say walk-in appointments are welcome but at Drybar it’s best to book in advance, especially on weekends (the last time I wanted a last-minute blow-dry on a Saturday, I was told I could join the waiting list. Along with 39 other people). Apart from that, this place is officially the world’s blow-dry bar prototype. If only more salons in the UK could mimic this concept, we’d all be happy. They think they have, but compare them to Drybar and you’ll see they haven’t.