Hot Air Millionaire
June 2, 2016 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Sex. Race. Class. Inequality. Personal branding. Millenials. Selfies. Affordable luxury. Femvertizing. Unattainable beauty standards. And a glass of free champagne. Put it all together and what do you get? $100 million a year in less than a decade. Buzzfeed's Sapna Maheshwari takes a deep dive into the success of Drybar.
posted by Diablevert (97 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have seen a drybar. I have been aware that, as a dude, I am on the threshold of a space built around fashion and style ideas that I don’t understand at all. I will read this. Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine at 7:49 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


If I still had long hair, I would totally try this once because why not?

Except champagne, infused water, or coffee, no hard liquor....why no beer? Women like beer! The place I get my hair cut offers a beer! I'd like it if they had bourbon or Scotch, too, but when I am offered a Lagunitas of course I say yes.
posted by rtha at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Huh. When I had really long hair (which is also very ridiculously thick) and lived in an apartment with crappy water pressure, I used to go to the local old lady salon for a wash and dry (or sometimes just a wash, no dry, because it takes forever and ain't nobody got time for that). They charged me like $10.

Anyway. I had never heard of Drybar before and for some reason it kind of makes me ragey? But I'm a literal hairy-legged second-wave feminist so I imagine it making the likes of me ragey is a feature rather than a bug.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:01 AM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


Read most of it, want to reread already. Thorough, funny.
posted by hawthorne at 8:06 AM on June 2, 2016


The rise of the complementary alcohol at place like this is something I find fascinating because it's such a quick way to signal what type of client you're expecting. My wife's hipster haircut place has PBR in a mini-fridge, Drybar has champagne, I got measured for a suit at a measure you and ship the measurements to China place that offered me Scotch despite it being like 10:00 a.m.. It's such an easy way of distilling (pun intended) the vibe of a place down to one quick thing that captures what you want people to think of your business.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:07 AM on June 2, 2016 [27 favorites]


I have super curly hair, so luckily, this is not an expense I am tempted by. The few times I have worn my hair straight, my partner has looked at me like I was an alien.

I do really like my salon, though, partially because they give me cappuccino.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:12 AM on June 2, 2016


Great piece. I never understood indulgences like this until some friends introduced me to pedicures a few years back. It's weird that all these places are so gendered, though. (There's a barbershop around the corner from me, for instance, that is ostenatiously manly, down to the cooler full of beer you can drink while you wait.)

However, this:

“When we talk to investment bankers, I pull up our database and see how many [customers] each has and I give them a hard time,” he said.
[...]
[H]e went into the Drybar database and found 44 women from the firm who were customers. He cross-referenced each with details on the firm’s website until he found “the absolute jackpot” — a senior woman at the firm who was also a frequent Drybar customer. “I sent her an email at like 7 o’clock at night[...]"


is profoundly creepy. Most businesses think nothing of selling these databases to marketers, too.
posted by phooky at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2016 [22 favorites]


There was a lot to like about this article, the writer has a real eye for the telling detail.

One of the things I find fascinating was that on the one hand it's a shining example of a woman entrepreneur succeeding --- obviously she was pretty comfortable beforehand monetarily, but still, here's someone who spotted an opportunity, roped her brother in, and built something for herself.

And the opportunity she spotted was to make women feel great! And what the women feel great about about is having the sensation that they have finally met society's impossible standards for ideal feminine beauty!

Until it rains.
posted by Diablevert at 8:16 AM on June 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


“The idea of knocking out a beauty treatment and getting work done just made sense,” said Brod, who is a Drybar investor and employs more than 60 women at her firm. “Nobody necessarily needs to go to lunch, but everybody loves having their hair done.”

I do not want to live in a world where lunch is optional.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:17 AM on June 2, 2016 [44 favorites]


There has been a rise of blow-out salons in my town too and I never understood what they were for. But then I get my hair cut and styled every six weeks and it never ever looks as good every day as the day I leave my hairdresser. From this article, if you can afford it, you can have that fresh awesome hair from the salon look as often as you'd like. I like that in theory as an occasional indulgence--for example, I would totally go to a blow-out salon if I had a job interview that I really wanted to make an impression for or maybe a friend's wedding--I could go there and feel pretty great about my hair 30 minutes later. It's silly and small, but as someone who has never been very confident about her appearance, I like little morale boosters. I'm never going to rock a pair of heels and fancy clothes, but dang, I'm down with having my hair look fabulous.
posted by Kitteh at 8:19 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Curious: Do the prices for a blowout differ depending on location? Because around these parts, $45+tip will get you 95-100% of the way to a full cut at a pretty nice salon. #flyoverprices
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:24 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


There's a place across the street from me that offers a "Brazilian Blowout." Make your own jokes.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:25 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


is profoundly creepy. Most businesses think nothing of selling these databases to marketers, too.

Yes, agreed. Also I really wonder if he would have done the same thing with a database full of male customers.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:25 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm a guy with long hair, and I literally only went to Supercuts until I had my first hair cut in over 2 years at a "real" salon that a friend of mine recommended (her hairdresser, who is also a friend of hers). I felt very strange going into the salon, but after a few minutes of, "Who's the hippie?" the chat picked back up and I had a lovely conversation with the woman in the chair next to me, and everybody stopped by and talked about my hair and I got to drink some free seltzer water (because I don't drink wine, which was what they were serving) and it was terrific. If I wanted to spend the money, I can understand why this would be a fabulous thing do do every once in a while, between haircuts.
posted by xingcat at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm glad that they touched on women of color at least briefly, and in particular black women. My hair is not currently in a configuration that this kind of service could work for, but if it were, I'd still be super skeptical that a place like this would be "for me," regardless of what the CEO says about how it's "just hair."

Becky with the good hair, indeed.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:28 AM on June 2, 2016 [24 favorites]


It's such an easy way of distilling (pun intended) the vibe of a place down to one quick thing that captures what you want people to think of your business.

The presence of free alcohol in any business immediately causes me to think "they must want me to pay too much for this."
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 8:29 AM on June 2, 2016 [16 favorites]


I absolutely hate styling my hair. It takes forever and I suck at it and it never turns out how I want and I just don't think anyone should have to spend twenty minutes on their hair in order to look "professional" or "together" or whatever. But goddamn if good hairstyling doesn't make me look significantly better. All of me, not just my hair.

Practically speaking, blowouts would be a waste for me, because I'm outside enough and active enough to sweat any amount of product off within 36 hours. But in a magical fantasy world where I had enough time and money and central AC, I could totally see myself getting regular blowouts.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:29 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm going to the all-ladies craft beer session in Toronto next Saturday and just googled where to find a blow-out bar near Yonge-Dundas Square. It's part vanity and part professional as I'm planning on bringing my digital recorder to get some quick interviews with other female attendees.
posted by Kitteh at 8:31 AM on June 2, 2016


Curious: Do the prices for a blowout differ depending on location?


Their website says CA, NY, DC, Boston, Las Vegas, & Vancouver pricing will vary from what is listed online.

I go out to long island for my haircuts because 01) it's the same guy I've been using for 10 years who used to be by my mom's place in queens and 01) it's $75 instead of the $200+ that salons in the west village cost. So yeah, for me, drybar charging $45 for a blowout is a great bargain.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:33 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hadn't fully realized, or grasped, that we're still relying on hot air to dry hair. Or rather, to dry large volumes of hair quickly and in a way that creates or protects a fashionable look/quality.

But still... hot air! I guess I was expecting that there was some bit of clever engineering that got to the look, and faster, and without having to a hold electric heater to your head.

Anyone know if the "blowout look" has been characterized well (at the strand, protein, etc level?) What is it about the blow dry that makes that look?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:34 AM on June 2, 2016


If I could afford this, it's probably the only way I'd grow my hair out again. I have so much of it, and the curl has gotten more cantankerous, and in the two hours it takes to blow out and iron (and it's a painful two hours, because unfortunately my arms are attached to my body) I've started to sweat into my hair, ruining the blow out.

Hell, I would pay half that just to periodically have my short hair done up fancy. Hairdressers generally want the cost of a dry cut to do anything, which for me is at least $60.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:39 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just saw the phrase, "the Drybar of skin lasers," and honestly stopped breathing for a little bit.
posted by lauranesson at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I cannot replicate the effect of the blow-out and style my hairdresser does, mostly because: a) I don't have much time in the morning to do it before work, b) I am not that skilled at styling my own hair (it has a very determined flip at the end that can only go away if I also bring out a straightening iron), and c) did I mention the time it would take?

So yeah, like most women, I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. At least I stopped wearing it pretty long after nearly twenty years.
posted by Kitteh at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2016


I think a lot of people don't realize the time and effort that it might take a young female executive to look fashion forward while also maintaining an active lifestyle (like going to a gym because the current beauty expectation is maintaining a trim and toned figure).

My wife used to maintain long hair (also color treated because she started go grey in like college) and she was already getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go work out because that's her only window and the thought of having to come home every morning and spend 20-30 minutes styling it after a shower because going to work all sweaty is a total no-no was just a massive time suck. She decided that after a period of time that she felt comfortable enough that she could rock silver hair (it's popular now and she doesn't look mousy with it) and she could go short especially if that gave her the option to swim laps several times a week because chlorine is murder on long hair. Plus she wanted to give out daughter the message that you don't have to do things to make yourself beautiful for other people (do them for you).

However a ton of women don't necessarily have the luxury of completely challenging they established social order while still advancing in their careers so I can totally understand why places like this exist.

Yes there is some inherent white people problems going on with getting a blowout several times a week but if your most important (and rarest) commodity is time the idea of getting to relax for 45 minutes while you get you hair did instead of trying to master the perfect styling yourself is totally compelling.

If straight razor barber shops weren't such a total pain in the ass to find in most of the US I could totally see myself going in for a shave on a weekly basis because I hate shaving and there is something kind of relaxing about a shave and let's be honest you can get better results by letting someone else do the work (assuming that they are a competent barber and not someone trying to shave you with a disposable).
posted by vuron at 8:47 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I'm a dude with super-wavy hair that I usually wear at about 1/8". Twice in the last decade I've grown it out for 9-12 months -- to six inches, give or take -- before I decided it was way too much trouble and shaved it off (flat-ironing and spraying into super-tall mohawks before I finished the job, naturally).

I really can't imagine how long-haired people do it, and definitely wouldn't begrudge anybody the $40 blowout if it turned a wavy mess into something resembling a hairstyle.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:48 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people don't realize the time and effort that it might take a young female executive to look fashion forward while also maintaining an active lifestyle (like going to a gym because the current beauty expectation is maintaining a trim and toned figure).

I strongly, strongly disagree with the idea that young women should care about being fashion forward.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:49 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think a lot of people don't realize the time and effort that it might take a young female executive to look fashion forward while also maintaining an active lifestyle (like going to a gym because the current beauty expectation is maintaining a trim and toned figure).

Or any age of female in any kind of profession, including homemaking. It's obscene the amount of time I spend on personal grooming. I think I trained myself to love makeup early on so that I wouldn't be resentful of all this extra unpaid (+ expensive) labor I do every day.
posted by witchen at 8:54 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've been developing a brand new relationship with my hair over the past couple of months. My one sister has breast cancer and my other sister and I did a fundraiser/solidarity barbecue for her and people shaved our heads. We both went from have years of long hair to her being totally shave and me with a crowdsourced style which I call viking hair. It's all shave except for a bit on top which I can braid, top know or put in a ponytail. Most people have said it's a cool cut ( it is) but I knew there were times when I needed a more regular professional style so we went wig shopping.

I ended up with a couple of fairly tame style wigs and one long, curly purple mermaid hair one.(It rocks!) The wigs are pretty awesome and I think I may stay with them even when/if I grow my hair back out. Get up in the morning, put on the wig and it's instant salon style. And it stays that way all day, no matter what you do! I have a blow out styled hair whenever I want. It's pretty cool.
posted by Jalliah at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have never heard the word "blowout" before this morning.

Is this the common term or something invented for marketing/branding?
Has it always been a "blowout" and I've somehow missed the term my entire life?

I've heard of a "wash and set" but it brings to mind hood dryers and rollers which doesn't seem to be the thing here.

*In regards to hair, not sports.
posted by madajb at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2016


I strongly, strongly disagree with the idea that young women should care about being fashion forward.
''The most important thing I have to say to you today is that hair matters,'' she continued, deadpan. ''This is a life lesson my family did not teach me, Wellesley and Yale Law School failed to instill: Your hair will send significant messages to those around you. What hopes and dreams you have for the world, but more, what hopes and dreams you have for your hair. Pay attention to your hair, because everyone else will.''
We still live in the kind of world where Hillary goddamned Clinton has to say stuff like that. We can both disagree that with the idea that women should have to care about appearances. But that doesn't change the fact that we do.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:02 AM on June 2, 2016 [49 favorites]


I strongly, strongly disagree with the idea that young women should care about being fashion forward.

Well, me too. But it's not the young women's fault for caring. There are businesses that still require female employees to wear high-heeled shoes, for chrissakes.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:02 AM on June 2, 2016 [15 favorites]


Part of the reason the blowout is so popular, I think, is *because* it's time consuming and/or expensive. Like everything else in our culture, it's aspirational.

And unfortunately, while it's true that women shouldn't have to give a fuck about their appearance even if they hold a high-level position...it is very very difficult to get a high-level position if you are not traditionally attractive and fashionable, including being not-fat and white and not-old-seeming and wearing your hair in an approved style and color. And it's really hard to change that from outside those positions, so for now we are going to need some undercover operatives to get their hair blown out and sneak in there.

(And, as witchen says, it's not even "high level" employment. Not-fitting-in is a luxury hill to die on, if you need something from other people ever. This is all still, for white women, a drop in the bucket compared to what women of color have to deal with just to get any job or be allowed to stay at West Point or whatever.)

The Brazilian Blowout someone referenced above, for those who don't know, is a chemical straightening process that lasts 4-8 weeks. It reduces a lot of the drying/ironing workload but is expensive and hard on your hair.

The ultimate way to get most of that particular aspirational look is with extensions, again expensive and time-consuming and, in the end, still kind of a pain in the ass to maintain.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


You might disagree with it but for a large number of women especially those placed into client facing roles appearance is still a vital part of how they are evaluated even if it's not explicitly called out like in the days of Airlines forcing women to maintain very rigid body weights for female employees.

It's not explicit and it shouldn't be condoned but it's still very much implied at many jobs.

Often times it will result in the new "ugly duckling" being taken in by existing female employees and given a lot of advice on how to dress to impress (or dress for the job you want not the job you have). More often the hiring committee might just decline to hire the less fashion forward new applicant because "they aren't a good culture fit" or some made up reason that will pass muster with HR.

Furthermore there is intense pressure on women to be better than their peers in every possible way if they want to advance in many organizations and that results in pressure to always look completely put together in many companies.

Even in supposedly egalitarian tech companies you see evidence of this expectation as men can routinely dress in the uniform of Dockers + Polo shirt which literally takes less than a minute to put together whereas women routinely wear much more expensive outfits with vastly shorter time of being "in style".

Think about the last female coworker that came into work in ugg boots, leggings and a north face fleece hoodie on a regular basis. That is basically the default casual wear for a large percentage of women in this target audience but think about how many industries would let people get by with that. In contrast the default work casual uniform is pretty much industry standard outside of a small group of professionals that are clinging to the men's suit.
posted by vuron at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


Has it always been a "blowout" and I've somehow missed the term my entire life?

That's always what I've used, and I"m 36.

We still live in the kind of world where Hillary goddamned Clinton has to say stuff like that. We can both disagree that with the idea that women should have to care about appearances. But that doesn't change the fact that we do.

I guess to me, caring about your appearance is different than spending a long time doing your hair and makeup.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2016


well, but this is a thread about hair.
posted by zutalors! at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


Totally fair and true. I feel lucky to have hair that I can throw some mousse in and go right out of the shower.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:08 AM on June 2, 2016


Ugh, the blow-out. The fix for one of two female beauty markers that marks me, a Jew, as "ethnic" due to my curly hair and larger than average nose. Fuck that straight hair noise. It honestly fills me with rage that people willingly spend hours blow-drying their hair to hide their natural texture, but I guess do what you gotta do to make yourself feel pretty.

I haven't even gotten a haircut in two years. No hair-dresser has ever been able to give me a cut that works with my natural texture and looks better than just letting it grow out. Either they do a cut that works with straight hair and only looks good when you blow it out, or it's a cut that "works" with curly hair if you put a million products in that make it look wet and crunchy all the time. It's a money-wasting scam.

The only thing I do to my hair is brush it most mornings so it doesn't mat and shampoo it every couple weeks. What the hell did people do before blow-dryers? Somehow their hair still looked pretty nice. Worst case scenario, twist it into a bun or braid it.
posted by permiechickie at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


We've seen "rage" twice in this thread toward the idea that women pay to get their hair blow dried. It's frustrating that we need to police women's choices to the degree that it "fills you with rage" that other people might use grooming techniques you don't, for reasons you admit that you don't understand.
posted by zutalors! at 9:15 AM on June 2, 2016 [28 favorites]


I guess to me, caring about your appearance is different than spending a long time doing your hair and makeup.

What? I think you're getting wayyyyy needlessly hung up on the word "care" as if it means "love," or "feel deeply voluntarily passionate about." It just means "am aware that this thing is important."

I "care" about my appearance like I "care" about paying my rent, it's important shit because of how our stupid garbage world is built.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2016 [19 favorites]


for reasons you admit that you don't understand.

Another Jewish curly hair girl here. My sister has hers chemically straightened. I understand why she does it. But I think a large part of American society places value on having straight, non-frizzy hair. So yeah, there's some rage that it's even an issue.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am not Jewish but my hair might as well be, and I get a smoothing treatment and I blow dry. So I'm not talking out of nowhere on this.
posted by zutalors! at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2016


It honestly fills me with rage that people willingly spend hours blow-drying their hair to hide their natural texture, but I guess do what you gotta do to make yourself feel pretty.

You get that women in various professions are expected to do so or lose their jobs/face repercussions, right? And honestly who gives a fuck if women feel like looking pretty. I'll save my rage for the shitty societal expectations rather than throw it at women themselves.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:21 AM on June 2, 2016 [34 favorites]


Think about the last female coworker that came into work in ugg boots, leggings and a north face fleece hoodie on a regular basis. That is basically the default casual wear for a large percentage of women in this target audience but think about how many industries would let people get by with that. In contrast the default work casual uniform is pretty much industry standard outside of a small group of professionals that are clinging to the men's suit.

If I could get away with even business casual at my job, I would. I am not a huge fan of my job--as I have said before on the Blue--but the office is small enough that as long as my clothes are clean and tidy, my hair is combed, my bare minimum make-up is okay, I will be fine. I don't think I'd get hired or last at anywhere remotely corporate at my current work clothing standards.
posted by Kitteh at 9:23 AM on June 2, 2016


My rage isn't towards the women who do it, it's towards the culture that insists upon it. Capiche?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:23 AM on June 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


It make straight hair the normative "good hair." How many "make-over" scenes start with a curly haired "ugly duckling," blow-out her hair, and suddenly she's beautiful? I'm not going to go picket a drybar, but I still wonder how in this day and age of body acceptance we have no problem still acknowledging that blown-out hair is the most prestigious hair, and that it's ok for certain professions to demand it.
posted by permiechickie at 9:23 AM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's not just about hiding your natural texture. It makes it much easier to style after sweating a little, or humidity, or pulling it up and taking it down. When I put up curly hair, it gets stretched out when i take it down. And also it can dry in weird ways beyond my control. if I have something important to do, it's a relief to have it reliably shiny and bouncy and straight with some curl on the ends.

Plus the whole blow out process is relaxing and fun. I can't fathom why people need to get angry about it. Don't do it if you don't want to.
posted by zutalors! at 9:24 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of people don't realize the time and effort that it might take a young female executive to look fashion forward while also maintaining an active lifestyle (like going to a gym because the current beauty expectation is maintaining a trim and toned figure).

Very true. My office has a gym, so many of my fellow gymgoers are headed straight to work, and most of them have large gym bags full of all the hair and makeup stuff they need to look office-appropriate. Just carrying all that stuff around is probably a workout in itself. And I don't work in a super-polished office full of Miranda Priestly types; it's your average business-casual workplace.

I'm one of the more casually-dressed employees who uses that gym and locker room, and it still takes me about ten minutes to get from sweaty gym clothes to the absolute bare minimum of acceptably groomed - i.e. not smelly or dripping wet. Long enough for me to resent the time spent doing it, not long enough to get results I can feel good about. (And I can't work out after work anymore because I have only about two hours of time to spend with my kid before his bedtime. Having It All!)
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:25 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


(capisce)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:25 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


It make straight hair the normative "good hair." How many "make-over" scenes start with a curly haired "ugly duckling," blow-out her hair, and suddenly she's beautiful?

I know all about that, and as a curly haired little girl with glasses it always bothered me that the glasses were removed and the hair straightened and she was pretty.

But basically, hair is a big cultural thing, especially with curly haired women. I can talk to another curly haired women for seriously an hour about all of our various hair choices and hair life experiences. Some of those choices involve chemical or other process straightening. Don't police people's choices.
posted by zutalors! at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't like actually getting a haircut because the small talk stuff pains me, but I really like the five minutes of hair-washing-plus-scalp-massage, it's just really soothing to me for some reason. So every time I do get my hair cut I think I sort of wish it were still a thing to get just this part done weekly. Which is to say I am probably the exact target market here, and I suppose once Pittsburgh gets this thing I will not be able to help myself from checking it out.

But I'll probably still love my regular salon more, because it has an in-house dog. If someone invents Drybar + Dogs and sets it in Pittsburgh, I'll be your loyal customer even though I might be mildly ashamed of myself about it.
posted by Stacey at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


i worked at my friend's hair salon (as a receptionist/etc.) for a few years and i really miss having ultra easy access to getting my hair done. i'd always thought the blowout thing was kind of silly until i was in a position where i could have my hair done for free whenever i wanted - blowouts are hard!! like really hard!!! since i'm super bad at doing my own (weird, half-wavy, super thick) hair, so i don't begrudge anyone who wants to drop $40 one or two times a week to get it done - if my budget allowed for that now, i surely would too. plus, honestly, it feels awesome having someone else wash your hair for you

but also, the aesthetic/culture doesn't really seem like something aimed at me or my cohort - i would feel pretty out of place there. would that there were a drybar-type place that didn't feel so aggressively geared towards the high-powered professional / sorority girl crowds
posted by burgerrr at 9:39 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hate the game not the player.

These women are using their relative affluence to take advantage of a valued service that either provides better results or simply frees up unpaid work time.

I strongly suspect that for a decent number of people the time spent in the salon getting a blow out is probably being used for double duty in that they are getting other errands done or working on work emails via a smartphone.

It sounds like for some of these people this is being done instead of eating during a lunch break. So they are basically valuing the services these salons are providing more than the luxury of eating at a restaurant.

And pro-tip this is yes an effective tax on women in a particular socio-economic bracket but it's really no different than basically being required to send clothes to dry cleaning because who has time for that and lots of clothes are dry clean only.

Taxing the affluent (or aspirationally affluent) has been the ticket for success for lots of companies over the years and I refuse to get angry about women taking advantage of a service that is being offered. I completely agree that the underlying system is broken and needs to be fixed but where is it that the client or the salon in this system have any influence on the underlying social reality.

Yes it's unfortunate that affluence or aspirational affluence requires adhering to a fucking ton of obscure and expensive bits of etiquette and access to those the services that allow one to navigate that landscape is heavily predicated on how affluent your background was but that is the existing social order and holy shit do some people fight like hell to maintain it.

But you can either decide to play within the system no matter how inherently sexist it is or you can take the risks of refusing to play within the rules and often suffer the consequences. Considering how many people need an income in order to pay the rent I can totally see why some women choose to accept these sorts of places as a necessary evil.
posted by vuron at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


Goddamn, being a woman is exhausting. Especially when other women will police any choice I make about my own appearance if it doesn't match the choices they've made for themselves. I have ambiguous hair that sometimes curls and sometimes is sleek and straight but often is just a mishmash of both textures that looks like a haystack of shit on top of my head, and I have thought that a blowout for a special occasion (job interview, major social event, Treat Yo Self day) might be nice, because sometimes it's fun to briefly change my appearance and it's certainly a better job than I could do myself (and lord knows I have tried)... but I forgot, not railing against this makes me a bad feminist.
posted by palomar at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2016 [17 favorites]


i would pay like $60 for a blowout at a place that was basically my neighborhood dive bar turned into a salon
posted by burgerrr at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Curious: Do the prices for a blowout differ depending on location? Because around these parts, $45+tip will get you 95-100% of the way to a full cut at a pretty nice salon. #flyoverprices

I find that here (Chicago) the blowouts run $35-45 plus tip, with the occasional "$25 special" on slow days, but haircuts (at a "pretty nice" salon) routinely run $70-100. So there is an element of "savings" if you primarily use it as something for a special occasion that falls between haircuts, say. For example, I haven't been able to afford my usual cut and color for a while -- it's something like $140. But if I had a wedding to go to or some such, a $45 blowout would make my shaggy mane better looking/easier to style, and be within my budget.

i would pay like $60 for a blowout at a place that was basically my neighborhood dive bar turned into a salon

OH MY GOD BRB HEADING TO THE DIVE BAR WITH A HAIR DRYER.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:45 AM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


im picturing a simpsonsesque cartoon lady riding on a motorcycle in a leather jacket bristling with hairstyling tools and products, on the front of the bike like a ship's figurehead is a giant chrome hairdryer

heart's barracuda is playing
posted by poffin boffin at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2016 [21 favorites]


im picturing a simpsonsesque cartoon lady riding on a motorcycle in a leather jacket bristling with hairstyling tools and products, on the front of the bike like a ship's figurehead is a giant chrome hairdryer

heart's barracuda is playing


This is the career change I've been looking for.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:52 AM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


your drink options are olympia, fireball, fernet, or schlitz

everyone is wearing either a motorhead or high on fire shirt

there is a guy that just sits at the end of the drybar reading the newspaper while drinking a miller lite
posted by burgerrr at 9:53 AM on June 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


I took a peek at the website for my Salon With A Dog in Pittsburgh. Looks like shampoo+style (basically a blowout, I guess?) is $35 and up, while a cut+style is $45 and up. The person I see for cuts is more like $60/cut, but I'd probably be happy to let one of their more apprentice-level people do a blowout for me, so it could be a significant price difference depending on who you see there.
posted by Stacey at 9:55 AM on June 2, 2016


when you ask for the "Malört" I unceremoniously shave your head.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2016 [15 favorites]


I just want to state, since this was taken more personally than I had foreseen, that women can do whatever they want that makes them feel good, whether it's blow outs, makeup or dieting. What I don't like is the societal expectation that blown out hair is required to look good and polished, because I find it very ethnocentric for a certain type of white people that naturally have that hair, and who I feel we are all forced to imitate under that expectation.
posted by permiechickie at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


codifying touches like blow-dryer chandeliers and welcome mats that say “Nice Shoes.”

And I thought irony was dead.

The welcome mat is ironic, right? Right? Please be ironic.
posted by Yowser at 9:58 AM on June 2, 2016


I find fascinating because it's such a quick way to signal what type of client you're expecting. My wife's hipster haircut place has PBR in a mini-fridge, Drybar has champagne, I got measured for a suit at a measure you and ship the measurements to China place that offered me Scotch despite it being like 10:00 a.m.

My last haircut, they gave me beer in a mug that had a mustache guard on it. I think I may have become a hipster that day.
posted by Hoopo at 9:58 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Man, this make me appreciate being a dude with short hair whose morning routine if necessary can be compressed to "splash face with water" and who can forget to shower for a day or two and still look basically the same.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2016


i would pay like $60 for a blowout at a place that was basically my neighborhood dive bar turned into a salon

I would also pay $60 for such a place. Because I don't have hair. I have seaweed. DIFFERENT KINDS OF SEAWEED. Some of it's that long wavy kelp stuff and some is seaweed salad. There's the kind with weird polyps. The kind they call dead man's fingers. And the kind that touches you and it's kind of weird and you shudder. My hair is terrible seaweed and blow drying it or setting in actual hot curlers is the only way to make it look consistent and yes I get my seaweed blow dried before big meetings and presentations because I don't have the skills to make it look like just ONE kind of seaweed instead of a seaweed museum sprouting out from my head. *sob* And I blow my entire coffee allowance for the month on it sometimes and it's WORTH IT and I hate feeling like I do when I walk into those places as it is, but a DIVE BAR with BLOW DRYING? Startitup startitup startitup, start a kickstarter, I'll give YOU my coffee money. That is AWESOME. YOU ARE A GENIUS.
posted by barchan at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2016 [21 favorites]


I cut my own hair and I've never been to a Drybar, but I do own some of their products, including the fancy dryer. On the daily, I do the wet hair in a messy bun thing, but for special occasions, their products make my thin, fine hair look amazing. Volume! Shine! Bounce! My daughter has ectodermal dysplasia, (as do I, but my hair grew in while hers didn't) and although her hair is sparse, what she does have coarse and Jewish curly. Drybar products are the only things that tame it.
posted by Ruki at 10:21 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just want to state, since this was taken more personally than I had foreseen, that women can do whatever they want that makes them feel good

I think it's dismissive to say "this was taken personally." It's not that it's personal, it's that policing women's choices is wrong, whether it's about shaving or birth control or make up or blowouts. And not everyone is getting blowouts because they have unfortunate hair or whatever. Some people don't want to splash their face and go. The attention to certain detail does make a difference.

Also, I find it patronizing to talk about this white based ideal that minority women are so forced to toil under when we're talking about choices. It's like the "why do women paint themselves" argument with make up.

Not trying to pick on anyone, but it's not appropriate to dismiss something as "taken personally," IMO. It's the kind of thing where if we were talking about say black people wearing their hair naturally or not people would tread a bit more carefully (or not), but if it's reasonably affluent white women then it's fine to mock and rage at them and dismiss their desires as frivolous.
posted by zutalors! at 10:29 AM on June 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


say black people wearing their hair naturally or not people would tread a bit more carefully (or not), but if it's reasonably affluent white women then it's fine to mock and rage at them and dismiss their desires as frivolous.

These are opposites, though.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:37 AM on June 2, 2016


what is an opposite?
posted by zutalors! at 10:38 AM on June 2, 2016


The choice to defy society's expectations of your hair and let it be natural or the choice to conform to something else.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:45 AM on June 2, 2016


The choice to defy society's expectations of your hair and let it be natural or the choice to conform to something else.

So, by your logic, it would be totally okay to mock black women who have their hair relaxed, because they're conforming to something else? I don't think that's what you mean to say.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:48 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because I don't have hair. I have seaweed.

You do get to swim around sunken wrecks and make out with Tom Hanks tho, so it's not all bad.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:48 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, by your logic, it would be totally okay to mock black women who have their hair relaxed, because they're conforming to something else? I don't think that's what you mean to say.

It's not okay to mock anyone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:50 AM on June 2, 2016


Then I literally have no idea what you're talking about. The comment you picked on was saying that the mocking, dismissive response to (presumably) affluent women who use Drybar and its ilk is inappropriate.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Man, this make me appreciate being a dude with short hair whose morning routine if necessary can be compressed to "splash face with water" and who can forget to shower for a day or two and still look basically the same.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:06 AM on June 2 [+] [!]


Eponysgusting!
posted by straight at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think its inappropriate to say "this shouldn't have to be."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:59 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that there has been some commingling of "rage" and "mocking" in this thread (which, incidently, is not dissimilar to what went on in the Blue Apron thread).

It's uncomfortable to read comments about how the existence of this service makes people "rage" when there are plenty of comments in this very thread from women who use and enjoy these services (or would, if they were cheaper, or more appropriate beverages were served).

This is especially true when we're talking about something that can implicate the supposed "vanity" of the women who indulge in these services (or invest the time and effort of giving themselves blowouts). Even when couched with: "I don't like the fact that these services have to exist because patriarchy..." type language, it's still dismissive of women who maybe just like to get a blowout and look fancy every now and again.

It's like caring about your appearance is acceptable if you're forced to in order to "conform," but looking nice for your own sake is somehow frivolous and vapid.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:02 AM on June 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


codifying touches like blow-dryer chandeliers and welcome mats that say “Nice Shoes.”

And I thought irony was dead.

The welcome mat is ironic, right? Right? Please be ironic.


People are taking pictures of their feet while standing on the welcome mat - Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are FULL of them - I don't think it's ironic, I think it's a whip-smart branding touch.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:02 AM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I do not get the blowout thing at all. I was trying to get the long layers cut that I had discovered in Portland done in San Jose, so I went to a more upscale salon than is my wont. The guy basically totally ignored my request, I didn't get the layers I wanted, and he did this stupid-ass blowout that I thought looked horrible even right afterwards, apart from taking a tediously long time. And it's supposed to be about making hair straighter? My hair could not get any straighter. It is super fine utterly straight hair in every length from crop to waist-length.
posted by tavella at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2016


I don't think its inappropriate to say "this shouldn't have to be."

This is getting absurd. Everyone on this thread knows this shouldn't "have" to be. Nobody is arguing that straight, blown-out hair is a moral imperative or a universal virtue. But instead of talking about an imaginary unicorn world where there is no patriarchy and women's appearances are a nonissue, we're talking about TFA.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:14 AM on June 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Tangentially, this thread reminded me how makeup and hairstyling can be a form of art. As art, it's incredibly underappreciated. I follow a stylist on Facebook who has literally recreated famous paintings in hair. Her color work is sensational. BRB, gotta go make an FPP.
posted by Ruki at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


I follow a stylist on Facebook who has literally recreated famous paintings in hair.

Is that a stylist in the Akron, OH area? Because a friend in that area just got Monet's Water Lilies on her head and omg it looks SO COOL.
posted by palomar at 11:57 AM on June 2, 2016


BRB, gotta go make an FPP.

A couple weeks ago I found Georgina Ryland's eyeliner art (the literal cat eye is amazing!) and thought about FPPing it. There's so much cool stuff people are doing with makeup and hair, and it rarely makes it out of the hair-and-makeup circles of the internet.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:10 PM on June 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


This thread is interesting combined with the "why do so many actresses on TV and in movies now have curled hair?" one from a while back. I can't not notice how curled hair--but rarely natural looking curls, usually clearly curled with lots of styling products and round brushes and curling or flat irons--is everywhere on TV. (Daisy/Sky on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was one that I couldn't stop thinking about the whole time I was binge watching this season. Both Leslie and Ann in Parks and Rec are another one.)

It's like the patriarchy wants women with straight hair to feel like it needs some volume/curl, AND women with curly hair to feel like it needs to be straightened/tamed in some way. The worst part is knowing this intellectually, yet still feeling that "my hair isn't good enough" emotional pull. Blowouts are not a thing that my hair needs because it's naturally stick-straight, but I wrestle with wishing it had some curl and life on a daily basis. I'm too lazy to *actually* curl it day-to-day and too cheap to buy the product necessary to keep a curl, but you can bet I bust out the curling irons for certain occasions.

Right now I'm trying to figure out a way to fit a cut and some really fancy color into my budget for a special event-filled vacation at the end of this month. It'll probably be $200 or so. I know I shouldn't spend the money, but I'm still trying to figure out a way to make it happen.
posted by misskaz at 12:13 PM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Eh, I feel like even if the patriarchy didn't exist people would still feel shitty about their hair. Even in a world of perfect gender equality, where your beauty or lack thereof was irrelevant to your profession, people would still want to look good. Because there's still that component of having the people you want to fuck want to fuck you back, of being considered desirable. There will always be power in beauty. Just you know, if we work real hard we may get to a point where guys worry about it just as much. 🎤 Imagine all the people...
posted by Diablevert at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason the blowout is so popular, I think, is *because* it's time consuming and/or expensive. Like everything else in our culture, it's aspirational.


I don't doubt there's some segment of the population for which that is true.

But I get blowouts when I can because without them I have Einstein hair and with them I have hair you wouldn't look twice at.

It's not so much that I want to project a certain look, it's that I don't want to project the idea that I'm too unwell or eccentric to abide by general standards of grooming, which is what happens when I leave my hair to its own devices.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 2:39 PM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


>Femvertizing

Hey universe, can we not?
posted by emptythought at 3:08 PM on June 2, 2016


I do think there is space for objecting to the way that this sets a certain kind of white hair as the ideal without attacking people who are choosing to do what they must to get by. (And as a not-white person from Orange County, the fact that this is headquartered in Irvine is so very perfect.) I also think there is space to ask what kind of responsibility we take on when we act in ways that sustain oppressive norms, even when we do so to support ourselves or because they are convenient. That's one of the central issues faced around third-wave choice feminism.

My personal solution to the hair issue is to spend stupid amounts of money on a haircut from a curl-focused salon that looks great with no effort. It is also short and not very "feminine" but that goes with my lack of makeup. But I have to dress nicely to keep that all in balance and not go toooo far away towards a total unprofessional lack of effort. But really, I recommend more money on the cut, less on everything else.
posted by dame at 3:57 PM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, us. What the fire truck are we to become.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:49 PM on June 2, 2016


To dame's point, I'm working on that FPP I mentioned, which currently features four hairstylists. Two are white. Two are black, one of whom specifically focuses on Afro-Caribbean hair, plus one of my additional links is to a site that features POC almost exclusively. I have other good links I could add (about Hot Irons and Salon Style), however, I am aware that the Afro-Caribbean hair experience is beyond my ken as a white woman. I don't want to be all about the white person hair ideal, but I also want to be respectful (as in, I don't want to accidentally whitesplain black hair).

Also, Metroid Baby, I'd looooove to see a good makeup FPP. My mom actually emailed that Starry Night pic to my daughter. Hair, makeup, nails... I really do think they can be art. But it's coded feminine, so it often gets dismissed. See also, cooking is a "woman's job", but haute cuisine is coded male.
posted by Ruki at 9:32 PM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh weird, I went to a Drybar for the very first (and likely last but not because it was a bad experience) just last week. I'm job hunting and a friend who is a professional photographer volunteered to do a headshot to replace the grainy selfie that's currently on my Linkedin profile. Getting 'official' photos taken fills me with dread for many reasons, not the least of which are because my hair and makeup skills are non-existant. The makeup part I can easily solve because while I can't manage to paint my actual face, I'm absolutely fantastic with Photoshop (used to retouch photos for Hollywood actors for a living) but hair as profoundly mismanaged as mine cannot be Photoshopped into something reasonable, so off to Drybar I went.

A few random observations:
The two people at the reception desk were very cheerful about greeting me and taking my drink order. The drink itself never arrived. Because I have deep insecurities about being in places with any hint of upscaleness, I had to fight down the thought that she didn't get my drink because it was clear I didn't belong. Then another woman entered—someone who was already perfectly coiffed and was wearing the appropriate social signifiers that I lack and she didn't receive her drink order either, so I perversely felt better.

I like their shampoo stations. The bowl has a cutout for your neck and sort of tilts toward you while you remain mostly upright, rather than you having to rest all the weight of your upper torso on your C6 vertebra in the usual style of wash basin. I especially liked this because when I go to my regular stylist, I spend the entire time she is washing my hair wondering if this is the day that I suffer a beauty parlor stroke.

It was disconcerting to not have a mirror to watch the stylist at work, my view was of a patron on the other side. She was on her cellphone the entire time while her stylist brushed out some sort of partial hairpiece that lay on a towel on the counter as though it were a cat. The patron had a full head of hair, this was just...more hair and my session was up before I got to see exactly where it got attached (I was pretty invested in this hair saga at this point). At the end of the session, the stylist spun my chair around as though I was a judge on The Voice and said, "Ta da!" as she pointed me at a mirror. My first thought was "This is a great way to protect your styling techniques because I have no idea what you did up there to get to this."

Each seat has an iPhone/iPod holder/charger (the old 30 pin kind) built into the front of the bar. Of the 5 patrons being worked on, all but me had their earbuds in. Related: I tried to strike up a conversation with my stylist, asking her if her clientele was more cheerful on average because they were getting done up for an anticipated Event and she said, "Yes, we are supposed to ask what the occasion is" and fell silent for the next 20 minutes. I suck at small talk too, so I sympathize there. She probably was wondering why I didn't just stick in my earbuds and shut up.

There's a small discrete sign next to the register (which was actually an iMac with a CC reader attached) that says tips were not required but if you did happen to want to tip, $10 was the recommendation. It seemed a circuitous way of just saying "Tips: $10."

My hair was Very Big afterwards and the style aged me in a not-great way. It wasn't a bad style per se but it felt much more like I was given the style because that's what the stylist thought I should have rather than my getting the style I picked out of their menu.

I was totally reminded of the generation before mine's weekly hair sets and do's.
posted by jamaro at 2:15 AM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I loved the article. It was well-written and funny and non-judgemental, which I love to see when reading about businesses founded by women or businesses used/loved by women. Thank you for posting it!

As a woman in her early 40s, I'm always looking for small ways to pass (for lack of a better word) as a little bit younger than I am, especially at work. Let's call them youthhacks. For me, this looks like a pretty affordable and effective youthhack for the occasional day when there is a Board Meeting or when I have to present to younger co-workers who immediately think anyone over 35 has the tech skills of their grandparents.
posted by kimberussell at 5:57 AM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


The weird thing is that I really don't like the way my hair looks when it gets styled by my hair-cutter, and I feel awkward until I'm able to go home, wash it, and blow-dry it the way I like it. That may partly be because I live in the hinterlands, and I have a really hard time conveying to hair stylists that I don't want big bouffy hair. But to me, there's not a lot of appeal in getting my hair professionally styled, because I think I look weird when my hair has been professionally styled.

Anyway, I am totally intrigued by the grooming rituals of women with money in big cities. It's not my world, but I find it kind of fascinating.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:47 PM on June 3, 2016


I have a public reading coming up on Monday, and having good-looking hair makes me feel less anxious in this sort of situation. I'd just finished making an appointment for a blowout when I started reading this thread. It's given me some pause but I guess I can relax given that a) its not a drybar but just my neighborhood place where all I get to drink is honey ginger tea, b) it's for a big-deal occasion, and c) she's charging me something like $25.
posted by tangerine at 8:55 PM on June 3, 2016


This is also an accessibility/disability issue. I have long hair because it pleases me. I resent the idea that I'm so programmed to conform to a feminine beauty ideal that I can't possibly go ahead and make a decision about something that is a part of my body on my own. Sometimes, my hands don't work very well. I'm grateful for services like these that allow me to look how I want to look. When your body works against you, anything that restores even a little piece of your sense of self is precious.
posted by batbat at 8:12 AM on June 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I fit the demographic quoted, live in a major city and get a blowout at a drybar or similar location every other month or so- usually before a big meeting or other event. Quite frankly, doing your hair right, and to the right professional standard is a bitch, and if you baby the blowout, it will last a few days. I totally suspect a few of my colleagues have standing appointments, but I judge them for this the same as I judge them for the flotilla of heels under their desks(I compare the size of said shoe flotilla to mine). In some industries it is just expected you'll look a certain level of presentable and I don't blame anyone for taking what shortcuts they can.

As mentioned above, hair is important enough that Hillary Clinton had the scrunchi incident. Until things like that don't happen, hair will continue to be important.

And while in some places and industries there is no need for this, I sure as fuck am not giving up the advantage of a $40 blow out in making me look presentable. Different uniforms for different roles...
posted by larthegreat at 3:19 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The only haircut that makes sense anymore.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:42 PM on June 5, 2016


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