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Bristle buzz: the blossoming of blow-dry bars in Manila

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Monday, 18 February 2013 - Last Updated on November 20, 2014
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It is a fact: hair can make or break a woman’s day.

A great hair day can spell a big difference in a woman’s confidence level (and pretty much how her day will go) so much so that women sacrifice one hour of snooze just to make sure their hair is perfect to a tee.

And this is exactly where blow dry bars come in. The concept of a single service, “wash, blow, go,” no-cuts, no-colors blow dry bar started in the U.S. six years ago, and Manila is now catching up.

There’s the Spaholics Nail and Blow Dry Bar of The Wellness Alliance in Ortigas, Blow Out Bar in Legaspi Village, Makati and the Tokyo Posh Hair Extensions and Blow Dry Bar, which, as the name suggests, does hair extensions too.

The result? Beauty junkies are listening and bustling with pleasure.

Realizing that the Philippine market is ready, the owners of Blo, America’s Original Blow Dry Bar, decided to put up a franchise in Manila. With 26 branches in North America, Blo recently opened its 27th and 28th franchise in Asia – Blo Rockwell and BloSerendra — giving Filipinas a chic option for their hair and perhaps causing some hair salons in Manila to raise their eyebrows.

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How it works

It’s called a blow dry bar for a reason. Once a client (which Blo in their Blo-cabulary calls “Hair Cadet”) comes in, she is handed a Blo Menu of seven styles to choose from.

There’s the skyscraper straight “Executive Sweet,” smooth tresses with lots of body option called “Red Carpet,” the polished ponytail “Hunt Club,”  the high-altitude hair aptly called “High Society,” the fun, flirty, with lots of curls and bounce “Holly Would,” the tousled curl power “Sex, Hugs and Rock and Roll” and the Goddess-like “Boho Braid.”

The last one takes the longest to style, according to one of the “Blo-ers,” but most styles take around 45 minutes tops.

The menu, according to co-owner Edward Lee makes it different from existing hair salons that merely offer a shampoo and blow dry service.

“When it comes to hair, sometimes customers can’t make a decision on what they want and what they really like. They struggle. Therefore we came up with a menu of styles and the staff can also give advice,” Lee said in an interview during their soft opening in Rockwell last February 8.

Clients can also bring in pegs of their desired styles, which the stylists can execute.

“We make the Blo experience personalized and customized,” Lee said.

Blo is banking on the hook “you’re not cheating on your hair-dresser,” a message to both clients and their hairdressers that Blo does not change hair cuts, but rather enhances the style of the clients’ tresses.

Blo’s Corporate Style Director Jacqueline Romero also explained that Blo discovered a discontinuity between hair cut and styling.

“What we found out first is that so many women would go to hair-dressers for hair cuts and colors and assumed that styling will be right up to par. And you know, when they go home and wash, they style it again. We found that in  every hair education that we’ve ever been to that styling is not part of the curriculum. To fix it, we created Blo so that women can go to get their haircut and come here right after for a perfect styling,” Romero said.

On the go

The art of a perfect blow dry is something not every woman can master.

Some women blow-dry their own hair just to be presentable before rushing to work, never mind that the resulting “do” is not bouncy and stylish enough.

Blo Dry Bar hopes to help Filipina women attain the perfect look for an important meeting or presentation, a corporate night gala, or whatever event a woman is attending, where hair cannot be compromised.

“It’s for women on the go. For a working woman, which I think so many women are now, time is everything,” Romero said, emphasizing why they made sure all their bars are wifi friendly.

Whatever the style a client picks, each session costs P500.

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Blo also goes beyond the four walls of their bars with their “Blo on the Go” service for group styling sessions in a set, at work, and home, and with “Blo Bridal” service, available both in bar and on location.

Well, who wouldn’t want a perfect blow dry? And for P500 per in-bar session, it really depends on the Filipina whether a blow dry is a bang for the buck. As for the salons, they might want to reassess their irons and blowers. And since we know how ever  adaptive Filipinos are, menus are probably in the works as of this writing, which makes it more interesting for us, yes?

Blo is open from 7 am to 9 pm. Blo Rockwell is located at Stall #019 P1 Level, Power Plant Mall. BloSerendra is in 2-C01A 2ndfloor, Serendra. For reservations, call 0917-6-BloDry (256379).

Photos: courtesy of Blo Blow Dry Bar, Manila

Alina Co (46 Posts)

Alina Co is a broadcast media professional, working as Writer and Producer. She is also a voice-over talent for commercials and AVPs, and a professor at Assumption College teaching broadcast communication. She loves traveling, meeting new people (yes she is lakwatsera and hyper!), drinking coffee, hunting bargain books and writing fiction.


About Alina Co

Alina Co is a broadcast media professional, working as Writer and Producer. She is also a voice-over talent for commercials and AVPs, and a professor at Assumption College teaching broadcast communication. She loves traveling, meeting new people (yes she is lakwatsera and hyper!), drinking coffee, hunting bargain books and writing fiction.

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