Blown Away

Orlando blow-dry bars are an affordable indulgence.

Roberto Gonzalez

A great hair day does more than make an outfit—a shiny, bouncy head of hair has the power to alter moods for the better and increase confidence. But not all women have the skill or the time to attain the hairstyle they covet. Fortunately, blow-dry bars, the latest coif craze, are making celebrity-inspired hairstyles attainable in about 30 minutes to an hour for at or under $35.

A blowout, or the process of having one’s hair washed and then blown dry, was once reserved as the finishing touch to a haircut, but these days that service is taking center stage at niche salons popping up throughout Central Florida. “Everyone looks better with a blowout. It’s a treat, just like getting your nails done, and then you look fabulous for the whole weekend,” says Jeannette Jarnes, who co-owns two local Cherry Blow Dry Bar locations (one in Mills Park and another opening this month in Winter Park).

Inside, the salon plays up a pop-glam vibe with bright red chairs, white countertops and a huge flat screen playing an endless reel of chick flicks. Each of its 11 stations is equipped with a blow dryer, curling iron and flat iron, plus a slew of styling products designed to add more volume, shine and longevity to the new ‘do.

When clients arrive, they receive a wash that includes a scalp massage and optional add-on treatments, followed by a consultation of what they want their blowout to achieve. “Each client gets to choose their look. They may want waves, big and bouncy, or sleek [and straight]. Or we can do an up-do,” says Jarnes, who offers her patrons a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to sip during their stay.

The whole experience, regardless of length, texture or thickness of hair, costs $35.

“I saw the trend start about four or five years ago in California,” says Mike Van den Abbeel, who has set aside six blowout stations at his Mosaic Hair Studio & Blowout Bar on Virginia Drive. While the salon still offers cut-and-color options, Van den Abbeel runs his blow-dry business like other such niche salons: regardless of length, clients can get a wash and blowout for $32.

And it’s not just for a night out. Many of Jarnes’ clients are on their way to important meetings, job interviews or speaking engagements.

With the help of dry shampoo and a few useful tools (think shower cap, silk sleeping scarf and sweat band), a blowout can actually last up to 48 hours.

Local wardrobe stylist Melanie Pace—who has worked with the likes of Guiliana Rancic of television’s E! News—recommends blowout bars as a resourceful way for women to gain confidence quickly. “Hair is so important when completing an overall look. It can make or break it. It’s about the total package.”

With Orlando humidity at its highest during the summer, blow-dry bars will certainly come in handy. “A style with lots of volume is in vogue right now, but it’s hard to create that look at home. This is an affordable little indulgence that women will love,” says Van den Abbeel. 

Before After

Blow out courtesy of Cherry Blow Dry Bar

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