Brooke McKernan is blessed with long, thick hair but cursed, like so many working moms, by a severe shortage of time.
So when the West Palm Beach financial adviser and mother of two needs a quick ‘do redo, her first stop is often the nearest blowout bar — one of those trendy havens of hair-smoothing.
“Sometimes, with a blowout, you don’t know you want one until an hour before,” McKernan says. “You have an event or a client that calls at the last minute, and if I don’t look my best, I don’t want to go. So I go to a blow-dry bar, and I’m typically calling around and saying, ‘Can I get in?’”
It’s getting ever easier for McKernan and area women like her to book a half-hour appointment at a blowout bar, where dryer-wielding stylists straighten unruly manes seven days a week. They don’t cut hair. They don’t color it. They don’t highlight it. They wash it, dry it and style it for as little as $35.
Over the past few years, blow-dry bars have taken off in major cities like a fleet of hot-air balloons. Celeb stylist Rachel Zoe recently blew into Chelsea with DreamDry, and at the Fekkai Blow Out Bar inside New York’s Henri Bendel, $50 will buy you the Palm Beach Polish (“sleek with a little bit of volume”).
Now, the follicular phenomenon is landing in South Florida. West Palm Beach welcomed Blown Away near the corner of Dixie Highway and Belvedere Road. Delray Beach has FlyDry, Boca Raton is home to Blow And Go, and in the coming months, Blowtox and Airbar will plug into Palm Beach Gardens.
As founder of Drybar, Boca Raton-raised Alli Webb is a pampering pioneer. Since opening her first blowout salon in chic Brentwood, Calif., in 2009, Webb has added 28 Drybars to her still-growing portfolio. Nationwide, her team now executes more than 75,000 blowouts a month.
“There was a huge hole in the market,” says Webb. “There was no place that women could go for a quick, great blowout in a fun, beautiful place at a really affordable price.”
Alesia Alvarez says five-star pampering at Delray Beach’s Cloud 10 Blow Dry Bar & Makeup Salon has made her a regular there (she’ll celebrate her 38th birthday with a private party at the salon later this month). “I’m telling you, I’m addicted to that place. It’s awesome. They can convert just a good day into a magnificent day,” says Alvarez, director of business development for a medical practice in Jupiter.
Before opening Cloud 10 in May, founder and CEO Jodi Dery embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of 29 blow dry bars in six states, creating a spreadsheet of details such as service menu, music, prices, décor and type of drinks served. The result of all that research is billed as Florida’s largest blow-dry bar, with four shampoo bowls with Shiatsu-massage chairs, and 13 styling stations equipped with iPad minis and $700 Icon Prive hair dryers for the quickest, quietest blowouts possible.
“Nobody likes to do their own hair and makeup if they don’t have to,” says Dery, who’ll bring Cloud 10 to Boca this fall. “Every woman wants to look beautiful, and confidence is what we give women when they come here.”
Well, that, and hair that looks good coming and going, says Airbar co-owner Jenny Kotsikopoulos: “It is hard to get the back of your hair totally straight.”
How long does a blow-dry last?
Beth Beattie, before and after her $25 blow-out and styling at FlyDry BlowDry Bar in Delray Beach.