It wasn’t exactly happy hour at Drybar yet, but half a dozen girls nursed cocktails as if it was, while stylists hovered around them with yellow hot tools. Mine, Stephanie, a cheery refugee from Rita Hazaan Salon, was going to will my stick-straight hair into the tousled, loosely wavy hair everyone wants. “People come here for 45 minutes to look like they rolled out of bed, but I love it,” she told me as she shampooed. I was testing out their $40 Dirty Martini blowout, a looser than loose curl look you can get starting September 4th. I was intrigued because of the recent uptick in the trendlet of undone, imperfect hair. “It’s the ‘IWokeUpLikeThis’ thing,” she told me.
They came up with because people were asking for a blowout in between their Mai Tai (curly blowout) and Straight Up (straight blowout). It’s the sex hair look of Victoria’s Secret models, but normals are welcome to try it. Whether normals who don’t walk around with fake wings could wake up like this the morning after depends on the texture of your hair. Even if women do stranger things for beauty — like volunteer to be covered in snails, get smacked with huge leaves, or let someone give them a haircut with fire — paying to look like you rolled out of bed seemed weird to me.
Confession: I’m awful at girly girl things, and it was proving impossible for me to get curls that lasted without hair spraying them into a crunchy fire hazard. But with this, there was no stiff hair spray component. Achieving this kind of effortful effortlessness involves: Hot Toddy heat protector and frizz fighter, Triple Sec texturizing, amplifying and refreshing spray (3 in 1 dry shampoo to slurp up the oils), Texas Tea volumizing conditioner, Texas Tea volumizing spray, a blow dryer, a specific medium-sized round brush for a brush curl, and a curling iron. She sprayed my hair down with Hot Toddy. (That’s what gives it that tousled Victoria’s Secret look.) What’s that scent? It’s their frizz fighter that smelled nothing like a hair product and everything like what I suspect private beaches I can’t get into smell like. That the products were named after cocktails, and that it felt like a bar was really working on me. (There’s also champagne and teeny tiny cookies, but I didn’t treat myself to because of journalistic ethicism reasons, which is my own incorrect life choice.)
Stephanie used her specific medium-sized round brush to activate some typical bombshell blowout curls, which she draped over my shoulder. (The plan was to loosen them up later so they’d look messier.) Her blow drying increased at a rapid rate, and she whipped the nozzle around in tiny circles. Meanwhile, she stole glances at the saddest scene of Love Actually on the flat screen, which was fine because this woman has hair down pat. “Oooh I want to kill him,” she told me. “She’s such a strong woman. She just pulls herself together.” Of course she was talking about the part when Emma Thompson’s character, Karen, realizes her husband may be having an affair. The movie was fitting because every surface of the place was girly — a tray of candies here, a shelf of glass bottles with powder pink and powder blue labels there. It was a scene that invited comparison to wedding prep salons in rom-coms that you wish were real. Rom-coms like Pretty Woman and Breakfast at Tiffany’s actually play on the flat screens behind the bar. “I’ll take a glimpse, and I start choking up. It’s so embarrassing,” she said. I told her it was cool if she needed to cry into my hair. Do girly girl tears give you Victoria’s Secret sex hair? I wondered.
That dry shampoo defeated my naturally oily hair, which I need to wash every day. It was clear, which was refreshing, because I’m a brunette, and my current dry shampoo leaves some suspicious icky white stuff that makes me look like I’m prematurely aging due to Twitter stress. The brush curls looked bouncy and glam, but then she pinned up my hair into pigtails and moved in with her curling iron. Twirling from the middle, she left my ends out of it, and stretched each curl to de-prom it. “Building the curl with the brush maintains the blow job,” she said. I didn’t comment because it was too easy. After all, this was a girly girl safe zone where you can reasonably justify watching Christmas movies in August and “blow job” always defines the only relevant blowing profession there is — the one for your hair.
So let’s skip to the part where I get dirty sexy hair, and I thank Stephanie for her efforts to make me look effortless. She had me look at the ceiling so she could fluff me into a tousled non-mess mess, and she beamed with pride when it was time for me to behold it in the mirror. Like magic, my hair looked as close to Blake Lively’s as it will ever get, and it looked healthier with the loose princess hair curls. I had tried this Dirty Martini for ridiculousness’s sake, but I can attest to its power. My hair “dirty” does not look like this. It looks like The Ring, so I could never duplicate this on my own. My seasoned stylist confirmed she couldn’t get it quite right on herself either. The distinct difference between a regular blowout and a dirty martini blowout is that with the former, people really know you got your hair done, but with the latter, rumors that you had a roll in the hay, and are a genetically superior being might percolate. When I woke up the next day, the soft curls were looser, but I’m low maintenance anyway. It’s worth $40 to wake up like this.