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Drybar hair salon hopes to make wash-and-dry a habit

Alli Webb’s Brentwood spot charges $35 to suds and blow-dry a ’do. She’s hoping it will become a ritual for customers.

February 28, 2010|Melissa Magsaysay, Los Angeles Times
  • STYLER: Brentwood's Drybar skips the cut and color services of a typical salon.
STYLER: Brentwood's Drybar skips the cut and color services of a typical… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

Women will endure straightening balms, flat irons — even semi-permanent treatments that can put your head in a cloud of chemicals and your bank account in a precarious state — all in pursuit of sleek, straight and voluminous hair.

Stylist Alli Webb is familiar with this state of affairs. For years, she operated a mobile "blow-out" service in West Los Angeles, driving to clients' homes on a weekly basis to wash, dry and style their hair.

Webb, 35, charged her clients (many of them fellow moms from the Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades areas) $40 for her at-home hair service, less than other mobile services such as Spa-Go where a wash and style started at $125. But she has since outgrown her small mobile business and two weeks ago opened Drybar, a salon in Brentwood that skips the cut and color services of a typical hair salon and gets right to the most transformative part (a wash and a blow out), which costs $35. (At the nearby Juan Juan salon, the same service starts at $40 and climbs to $60.) By West L.A. standards, the $35 price tag looks like a deal.

"Being a curly-haired girl, I totally get it," Webb says. "For years, I never wore curly hair. I would blow it out myself or get it done because I never felt done or finished if I didn't. But it's really hard to do your own hair and get all the right angles, especially the back."

The salon at 11677 San Vicente Blvd. has eight blow-dry stations, a "bar" stocked with hair products and a light and airy space where clients can sip Champagne and watch movies while they wait their turn to be washed and dried. Webb hopes to make the blow-out as accessible a beauty ritual as the regular mani-pedi.

To that end, she has created a "menu" of styles for her clients, who can make appointments by calling (310) 442-6084..

The Cosmopolitan gives the hair "big, loose curls, like Kate Hudson," Webb says. The Mai Tai is sexy beach hair à la Gisele Bundchen. Southern Comfort incorporates full body with a lot of height at the crown. The Manhattan is for ladies who want a no-nonsense, stick-straight style. And Straight Up is as it sounds, simply straight but full of body and with a slight curl at the ends. Other menu items include a Shirley Temple, which is a preteen blow-out, and a 10-minute head and neck massage.

Webb has armed each drying station with Bio Ionic Power Light blow dryers, and bar shelves are stocked with items from Toni & Guy and Leonor Greyl. "I'm working on getting yellow blow dryers but haven't found any yet," Webb says, referring to Drybar's signature accent color that pops up throughout the narrow, mostly gray-and-white space.

Webb is quick to point out the adjustable sinks (with padded neck rests) situated in the back for shampooing. "It's funny being a hair person, I was critical about everything," she says. "Neck inserts on the sinks are something I had to have so people are comfortable while getting their hair washed."

melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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