“Water? Coffee?” the receptionist pauses and smiles, “Mimosa?” she asks. I’ve just stepped into the air-conditioned Blo Blow Dry Bar from an unusually sticky DC summer day. A thick headband barely holds back the frizzy curls surrounding my face; it’s obvious I’m in need of some hair help. I arrived early to my appointment, eager to scope out the company run by Vogue’s “king of curls” David Babaii and more recently, actress (and owner of some luscious locks herself) Gwyneth Paltrow. The Blo I’m in, located on P Street in Dupont, is four months old and the first in the district.
Actually, of the 43 Blo locations in the US and Europe, most are relatively new and the first in the city they reside in. The company was founded in 2007 and the concept is still confusing to some. To clarify, the Dupont location has the Blo logo painted on one of its walls in curly pink writing, “You’re not cheating on your hairdresser”. It’s true—Blo is strictly for, wait for it, blowouts. The drawers and tabletops are stacked with hair creams, sprays, curlers, straighteners, and of course, blow dryers, but there are no scissors and no dye. It’s simply washed, blow and go. But as my name is called and I head past the receptionist to get started, I learn there is nothing minimal about a trip to Blo.
My stylist for the day, Jasmine, is also the lead stylist at the Dupont location. She has a sleek bob and tells me she was a stylist at another salon prior to working at Blo. Before she begins washing my hair, she hands me the styling book, or rather, the Blo bible. The book lists the seven types of blowouts they offer, including “Red Carpet” (basic), “Executive Sweet” (straight), “Holly Would” (va-va Voom curls), “Hunt Club” (a chic ponytail) and a few others. Each style is $40. If you want to go off the book (a specific updo for a special event, for example), the price goes up to $65. Blo can also put in extensions for $55. I go with “pillow talk,” at the advice of Jasmine, which offers those loose, beachy curls I can never seem to replicate on my own.
Jasmine washes my hair (at which point it does feel like I’m cheating on my hairdresser!), using a bundle of fruity, European products. It’s mid-afternoon and I’m one of the few people there. Jasmine tells me the majority of customers are there mostly early in the morning before work or later in the evening before a night out (they open as early as 7 AM and close as late as 9 PM for appointments).
Blo has had a great response since it’s opening, but it’s still working on getting the word out to more people. There are several hints around that Blo is a new business. As I get up from the hair wash, I spy a business card that says “BLO hearts sorority girls”. Blo is new to Maryland, as well. An extravagant location in Gaithersburg opened just last week. In addition to blowouts, it offers body pedicures and brow shaping. There is also a section on Blo’s website specifically for curious investors that details why investing is a “brilliant business decision”. So far, I don’t doubt it.
Jasmine leads me back to her station and begins the actual blow-drying. She separates my hair into several sections as she intricately dries it and then does the same with a curling iron. Including the wash, the whole process takes about an hour. I learn about the different styles Jasmine has tried and she gives me advice on whether or not I should try a keratin treatment to tame my frizzy hair. Again, I’m offered a mimosa. I declined only because I’m so relaxed it might just put me to sleep. Jasmine turns me around when she’s done and my hair is that silky smooth I usually only get after my twice-a-year haircuts. Jasmine knows what she’s doing. I text my friends to let them know we need to find somewhere to go out tonight- hair like this needs to be shown off!
My trip to Blo was fun and easy- great for those who may want blowouts several times a week or for those preparing for special events. I leave the air conditioning eager to show off my look and excited to go back. Given the especially humid forecast over the next week, it won’t be long until I do.