A while ago a friend told me about the “Blowout” Dry Bar in Vienna’s sixth district. While Blow Dry Bars are already a popular concept in North America – having grown along with the vintage/retro trend – these places that combine beauty and booze are a rarity in Vienna.
But to quote a friend of a friend – “blowouts are the new manicures”.
If you have no fucking idea what we’re talking about, a Blow Dry bar is like a Fast food drive through for those wanting to turn a bad hair day into a good one, or to simply get styled before hitting the town. No cuts, No colour, just blowouts from a stylist with a hairdryer taming your frizz and giving your hair volume and bounce. And all of this is happening while you have a glass of Sekt in hand.
I try out the Dry Bar before heading to a party. I’m optimistic, but a little nervous that I’ll turn out looking more like the Bride of Frankenstein, rather than Bridgitte Bardot. Saturday morning I’m woken by a text message – it’s the Dry Bar reminding me of my appointment that afternoon. I like getting the SMS. It means there’s no turning back now, as the personal guilt would kill me. I’ve booked a styling session, including a blowout (done using a specialised blow-dry method) and evening makeup.
Dry Bar’s interior is striped in black and white and there are three styling stations resembling a movie stars dressing room, with mirrors framed by light bulbs. The walls are covered in framed prints of the Hollywood starlets that inspire this trend of niche bar. The decor is retro and fun and there’s a black couch that makes me think of classy porn. I immediately know that I’m in good hands once they hand me a glass of Sekt and seat me at one of the stations.
I meet my makeup artist and give her eyes that say – you don’t know what you’ve got yourself into, you’re about to work on your hardest project to date: me. I show her a vintage photo of Sophia Loren and half expect her to say – “We do makeup, not magic.” But she simply nods, smiles and gets to work. Twenty-five minutes later, she’s finished and man-oh-man do I look good. Before I can spend too much time gazing and goggling at myself, I’m sent to the back to get my hair washed. As I lean my head back, the chair comes to life and it makes me think of that scene in Ghostbusters when Sigourney Weaver is sucked into the chair. But then I realise that it’s a massage chair and I settle back into the session.
Then it comes time for the blowout. I’m not sure how to say “the bigger the hair, the smaller the waist” in German, so I whip out the picture of Sophia Lauren again. The hair stylist nods his head and gets started. Another twenty minutes later and my hair has been inflated and it’s delightfully bouncy. But unfortunately, my waist is no smaller. In just over an hour I went from frazzled mum, to hot mama ready to knock back some Spritzers.
The concept is fantastic for a party, or if you’re having the kind of day when your hair stubbornly refuses to change out of the ‘I woke up like this’ look. The Dry Bar team are fast, efficient and friendly – all-round top notch beautifiers. If you’re in need of some pampering, surrender yourself for an hour or so to these hairdryer and makeup brush armed people… oh, and that lovely massage chair.