Ever since GlowDry opened last summer, offering topknots, fishtails, ponies, and braids as part of its basic blowout service, we’ve been curious about quick but chic styling possibilities that fall somewhere between down and up. With ball-dropping and Champagne-popping in mind, I anonymously tested three salon “bars” for an easy look to go from Auld Lang Syne to any ol’ time.
Space: Yachty colors, glam lighting, plush chairs
Verdict: At the newest of the three, a former Drybar employee blew my hair into smooth tresses and expertly whipped them into a chic fishtail—a braid using only two sections of hair rather than three—while a mini iPad with magazines entertained. The style held all day. Braids are a specialty, but an updo like an on-trend Heidi look is $70.
Price: $40, including a complimentary makeup touch-up
3722 Roswell Road, 404-549-8007, myglowdry.com
Style: Low side ponytail
Space: Sunny colors, modern
Verdict: This blowout may have been the smoothest of all, but the hair wrap around the pony wiggled loose in a couple of hours and needed repinning. The salon runs with the “bar” theme; there’s a constant hum of gossip over complimentary mimosas. More extravagant up looks and we’re talking $80.
Price: $50 ($40 blowout plus $10 for the pony)
102 West Paces Ferry Road, Suite B, 404-382-5310, thedrybar.com
MELROSE & MCQUEEN
Space: Industrial hip, retro leather stools
Verdict: The full-service salon launched a blowout and style bar in November. When I asked for something with a bit of oomph, I found myself in the hands of owner Kristo, who spun this dramatic but sturdy bun. Ask for a blowout stylist who can whip you into a pony or a knot—but anything with major pins requires an updo for $60.
Price: $40 ($35 blowout plus $5 for topknot)
337-A Elizabeth Street, 404-909-5245, melroseandmcqueen.com
This article originally appeared in our January 2014 issue.