For the past two years, on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Denis Lash has occupied a chair at Toronto's June Lindenfield Salon, where she has her chin-length brown locks washed and blown dry, the ultimate female luxury.
Yet Lash claims she is no spendthrift. "When I get to the office, everyone always comments on how wonderful my hair looks," says Lash, a Bay Street condominium lawyer who recently was host of the 13-part real-estate series MondoCondoTV.
"I love the compliments. It's become an addiction. I no longer own any bottles of shampoo."
According to Lash, getting her hair professionally done has ended up being cheaper than all the cleansers and conditioners she used to purchase in hopes of keeping her hair as smooth and bouncy as it looks after a cut.
And with prices for a blow dry dropping across Canada, it's become the new hot hairdressing trend.
June Lindenfield, owner of her eponymous Adelaide Street salon, charges $35 for a signature blow dry. But the service ends up costing much less when purchased as part of a $275 three-month unlimited package, especially if the client gets the service more than once a week. "I'd go five times a week," Lash says. "But I think that would be exploiting June."
"Women who used to come in to a salon every six weeks for a cut are now coming at least once a week now, sometimes twice a week," says Beni Sicilia, owner of the recently opened Blowdry Lounge in Toronto. "The lower price point is making going to the salon on a regular basis a lot more accessible."
At Blo Blow Dry Bar in Vancouver, the cost is $31, compared with the $90 typically charged at one of the city's high-end salons. At Blown, a new Toronto blow dry counter inside Hair on the Avenue, colourist Luis Pacheco's sought-after salon, the service is $29, taxes included.
"The blow dry is going the way of the nail salons," Blo co-founder Val Litwin says. "It's no longer an extravagance. We have some women in every day of the week. The blow dry has become a routine part of their beauty regime."
In Toronto, fashion designer and trend forecaster Jennifer Dares is a Blown regular, arriving weekly to have her red curls styled straight. For her, the blow drys are as much about convenience and affordability as looking good.
"It's a huge time save," Dares says. "If I had to do it myself, it would take me more than an hour, and even then, it would never look as good as they make it look in less than 30 minutes."
Across town at Blowdry Lounge, the service takes longer, and costs a little bit more ($35 to $45) as result of Sicilia wanting to "customize" his blow drys according to the length and texture of the client's hair. "A lot of hairdressers say they hate blow drys, but me, I love them," Sicilia says. "I love styling. I love making women look good."
Sicilia grew up in the 1980s sweeping the floor on Saturdays at his late father's salon, La Gondola, on tony Avenue Road. But in opening his own shop on Yonge Street in October, he took pains to distinguish himself from the hair emporia of old. He hired Irfan Bukhari, who designed Fluid Lounge, Club V and Red Drink Boutique, all popular Toronto night spots, to create a chic interior featuring a Zebrano countertop with chrome details and fabric panelled walls in a rich chocolate brown. Chairs are positioned close together for clients to socialize. Instead of styling stations, there is one long centre island, topped by a horizontal mirror.
"I didn't want to create a salon," Sicilia says. "I wanted to reintroduce the social atmosphere of the old beauty shops, with no pretense and where the main focus is the hair."
Back at the June Lindenfield salon, Lash sits under a dryer with a cup of tea. On this recent Tuesday morning, her hair is in curlers, a new look for her. "Because she comes in so often, I've gotten to know her, know what suits her," says Lindenfield, revealing a hidden perk of the blow dry phenomenon - the hairdresser as your new best friend.
Says Lash, as she admires her new 'do in the mirror, "I come to June more regularly than I go to the gym, and for a few dollars she makes me feel like a million. She's going on vacation for a week. And I can tell you, that's a problem."
Blo Blow Dry Bar in Vancouver (three locations): 604-909-9495; 604-734-7599; at the Four Seasons Hotel, 604-609-5460 ( http://www.blomedry.com)
Blown in Toronto , inside Hair on the Avenue, 416-922-5696 ( http://www.hairontheavenue.ca)
The June Lindenfield Salon, 416-603-7000 ( http://www.junelindenfield.com)
Blow Dry Lounge, 416-847-2569 ( http://www.blowdrylounge.ca)Report Typo/Error
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