Once just a finishing touch to a salon service, blow-outs are now the 21st century equivalent of a 20th century wash-and-set. According to the American Salon/American Spa Green Book 2009, more and more women are adopting a time-is-money mind-set when it comes to their hair. In fact, Greenbook research shows that more than six in 10 women (61 percent) spend less than 10 minutes a day on hair-grooming efforts, a 10-year high. One explanation is that natural styles don't require much time to maintain. Still, with in-salon blow-outs showing up on service menus more frequently these days, women who avail themselves of the service can look good for days with minimal effort. "Having a professional blow-out is one less thing for a woman to worry about," says Douglas Di Canio, a blow-dry stylist at Blow Salon in New York City. "Blow-outs used to be a luxury, but now they're a necessity."
A Redken stylist backstage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City
While drying his clients' hair, Di Canio always tries to give them useful tips on how they can duplicate the look on their own. "Some suggestions I give to clients are to avoid drying their hair in the bathroom because the humidity makes it difficult, invest in clips to keep wet and dry hair separate, and always dry hair from the front to the back," he says. "The front part is the most important and when women start from the nape, they tend to tire out by the time they get around to the front pieces."
These tips prove to be extremely helpful for those clients who can't afford to visit the salon weekly, biweekly or even monthly for a blow-out. According to the Green Book, the economy is affecting how much consumers spend on salon services. An ongoing tracking study by ChangeWave Research shows a significant increase in people who say they are spending less, which creates a significant hurdle for salons to overcome as they vie for a share of the smaller pot of money that consumers might be willing to spend for these less-essential services. Many salons throughout the country have recognized both the trend in convenient blow-outs and the struggling economy and have started offering blow-out classes and events.
At Jon Charles Salon in Minneapolis, Blow Dry Boot Camp is held every other Tuesday. Clients sit through a 15-minute lecture on the history of the service and the elements of a good blow-out. They then receive a 45-minute hands-on consultation and lesson with a stylist where they learn to dry their hair like a professional. "These days if a woman's hair doesn't look put together, it's like an unmade bed," says owner Jon Charles. "Our Blow Dry Boot Camp events have built about 20 percent of our overall business. Every event attracts from 20 to 30 new customers, about a third of whom become loyal clients."
At Suite Five Salon in San Francisco, current and new clients are invited to attend a monthly Blow Out to Go Out styling class. The event, which has been around since October 2007, was developed for those clients who have all the salon products at home yet are never able to use them properly and achieve the same look they get at the salon. "We keep the classes small—about 8 to 10 people—so stylists can really focus on the clients," says Jennifer Crane, who co-owns the salon with her husband, Bradley. "They're always sold out. They make our current clients extra happy and bring us many new clients." To ensure clients are advised properly on how to get the desired blow-out, the salon sells the tools and products that are used during the class at a discounted price at the event. "This event has definitely helped us get the word out there about our salon, has helped gain client satisfaction and helped our retail business."
A range of new blow-dryers on the market offers better results in half the time.
1) Andis Ceramic Tourmaline Hair Dryer keeps locks healthy by sealing in moisture as it dries the hair (andis.com); 2) InfraShine UL2 Cool Switch Ceramic Blow Dryer heats the hair from within to preserve its natural moisture, while the cool shot button locks in style and shine (infrashine.com); 3) Turbo Power Twinturbo 3500 is powerful, compact, lightweight and is equipped with two nozzles. One creates perfect waves and the other helps dry hair faster (turbopowerinc.com); 4) Belson Brazilian Heat by Mega Hot features a variable speed dial for unlimited heat and speed combinations (belsonproducts.biz); 5) TIGI Hardcore Blown Away Blow Dryer is infused with powerful tourmaline for shiny, frizz-free hair (tigihaircare.com).
1) iTech HairArt H3000 Tourmaline Hair Dryer is lightweight, quiet and infused with tourmaline technology to dry hair faster (hairartproducts.com); 2) FHI Heat Nano Salon Pro 2100 Turbo Blow Dryer produces higher heat and 25 percent more air velocity than other AC-motor dryers (fhiheat.com); 3) HAIelite Turbo-HAIonic Hair Dryer locks in moisture, seals in color and stabilizes the pH level of the hair (hai-elite.com); 4) Wigo AbstraX Tourmaline Ionic Salon Dryer produces negative ions for faster blow-drying; 5) Hot Tools Tourmaline Ionic Dryer increases hair's shine and softness while reducing frizz (hottools.com).
These products do more than just protect the hair from heat. They also leave hair smooth and shiny.
1) Goldwell Hot Darling provides thermal protection while increasing elasticity and bounce (goldwell-northamerica.com); 2) Profound Beauty Anatomy Priming Spray prepares hair for styling and protects haircolor from UV rays (profoundbeauty.com); 3) Rene Furterer Myrrhea Silkening Fluid controls hair volume and protects hair from heat styling (renefurterer.com); 4) TIGI S-Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray provides a thermal shield for shiny, smooth hair (tigihaircare.com); 5) PureOlogy NanoGlaze Styling Crème creates long-lasting hold and brilliant shine (pureology.com); 6) veda Brilliant Damage Control protects hair against breakage, heat styling and sun damage (aveda.com); 7) Wella Color Preserve Thermal Protecting Spray imparts vibrant shine (wellausa.com); 8) Joico K-PAK Protect & Shine Serum prevents split ends and provides polish (joico.com); 9) Paul Mitchell Heat Seal gives heat protection and shine (paulmitchell.com); 10) Redken Blown Away 09 offers all-day style memory while protecting hair from heat (redken.com); 11) J Beverly Hills Thermotect provides heat protection, shine and body (jbeverlyhills.com).