Local Business

Blow dry bars arrive in McHenry County

CRYSTAL LAKE – There’s nothing like a new hairstyle. You leave the salon feeling confident and hope you run into people just so you can show off your new look. And unless you’ve mastered the art of sleeping in complete stillness, the next morning the effects of a good night’s sleep are all over your tussled and unsalvageable mop.

You try desperately to primp and style your locks, looking to magic products and styling tools. Alas, it’s never that easy, and you never can seem to get it quite right. You can’t get that “salon look” on your own. How can you get that style back without having to wait until your next cut or color?

Enter, the dry bar. 

Much akin to the weekly hairdo appointments our grandmothers and mothers used to have, today’s dry bar phenomenon is a way to pamper your locks and look like a million bucks. Dry bars specialize in blowouts, which consist of a hair wash and scalp massage followed by an expert blow dry and style to achieve a salon-finished look.

In 2008, Alli Webb pioneered a small business offering blowouts in the homes of her clients. That small business turned into the multimillion dollar success called Drybar, which has 37 locations in eight states, including one in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Dry bars are growing in popularity, popping up all over major cities to meet the growing demand.

This trend has made its way to McHenry County with the April opening of Pepper Annex Hair Salon and Dry Bar in Crystal Lake, located near the intersection of Randall Road and McHenry Avenue.

“It’s a simple concept. Maybe you go to the gym in the morning and you want your hair done before work or you have an occasion that you want to look your best for. We want to be able to offer these services to those that live outside of the city at an affordable price,” Pepper Annex owner and stylist Shalyn Hall said.

Hall, along with her co-owner and fellow stylist Marie Hatfield, said they hope to create a warm and friendly environment that’s not just about hair, but about the overall experience.
Pepper Annex isn’t exclusively a dry bar. It offers cut and color services, facial waxing and extensions, but still makes it a point to offer blowouts as one of its premier services.

“We don’t want to be just another salon and spa,” Hall said. “We use environmentally friendly products, and we want to be warm and friendly, not a sort of sterile feeling.”

Since opening, Hall said they have had a great response to the dry bar services, booking a healthy mix of cuts, colors and blowouts at equal levels.

“Blowouts have always been something offered in salons but most people don’t think about the extras, they sort of just come in for the whole thing. It’s a great way to pamper yourself and you feel better when you have a good hair day,” Hall said.

Depending on the length and texture of the hair, a Pepper Annex blowout can take 30 to 45 minutes and costs $30, which is a $10 to $20 less than dry bars in Chicago.

The dry bar trend hasn’t completely overtaken the suburbs yet but rather, is infiltrating slowly with some areas seeing a higher demand than others.

Autumn Martin is a member of the desk services team at Taylor Stevens Salon & Spa in Algonquin and said that she is definitely seeing a broader age range of those booking blow outs.

“It used to be that it was more popular with senior citizens calling for a curl and set, but now we’re seeing more of a younger crowd calling also for blowouts, some weekly,” she said.

Also at the front lines of the booking schedule is Emma Freudenberger, a guest services representative at Mario Tricoci Hair Salon & Day Spa in Crystal Lake.

“We’re still seeing more regular requests for curl and sets on a weekly basis, not as many in terms of the younger crowd just yet. We’re all very familiar with the dry bar phenomenon coming our way, I just don’t know if it’s truly hit the suburbs just yet,” Freudenberger said.

Pepper Annex

What: A new hair salon and dry bar

Where: 1295 Randall Road, Suite 111, Crystal Lake

Phone: 815-893-0849

Web: pepperannex.com

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