I’ve always had something of an unhealthy obsession with my hair. Usually, I find this to be the case with those who either fixate on how fabulous they believe their locks are (hubris), or those who feel quite the opposite. My own situation is something of a middle ground. I feel that my hair has the capacity to be quite delightful. However, I was born with building blocks—so to speak—that create an endless barrage of hindrance to said hair unlocking its inherent potential.
When I say my hair is naturally curly, many will exclaim at how cute it must be and how I should wear it curly. You may notice, however, that of the several hundred selfies that adorn my Facebook, not a single such curly-haired photo exists. There’s obviously a correlation. I often describe it to people as a texture similar to that of Keri Russell (during the “Felicity” era, before she herself started to straighten it), but without the length and thickness to weigh it down. My own curls are fine in nature and, no matter how much skills and experience I’ve accrued over the years, tend to be a headache to control. And so, like many humans who have ceased to be able to handle their own situations, I’ve turned to the support of chemicals first (a careful scheduled hybrid of Brazilian blowouts and Japanese straightening), and the guidance of a therapist second (and by therapist, I mean regular blowouts).
My name is Aly, and I am a blowout addict.
Unless you are blessed with an appreciable degree of disposable income, a blowout addiction is such that you must either be skilled at finding affordable blowouts or be able to make those blowouts last as long as possible. Much as with retail therapy, a sort of “cost per wear” ratio comes into play: How much play are you getting out of the blowout for the price you are paying? This is a constant consideration.
I’m happy to say I am skilled in both these arenas. I know all the tricks to find affordable blowouts—and I know how to make those blowouts last.
Best Blowout for Your Buck
I think that places like Drybar and DreamDry are great, but I consider them “special occasion blows” (I shudder when my friends consider those to be their “cheap blowout” options). These spots are amazing for a consistent, reliable blowout , and they’re absolutely cheaper than other spots around the city that can run you $80+ a pop, but if you are nourishing a twice-weekly habit? Not so much.
If you are willing to sacrifice luxuries like lattes and mimosas with your blowouts, stop off in Chinatown, where there are a dozen salons that offer walk-in blowouts for under $20. Hop on the subway to Brooklyn, and you’ll score the same at places like Silky Hair in Park Slope or G Concepts Hair Studios in the Sheepshead Bay area. Addicts know the way to get the best deal is by knowing the right spots to get their fix, and we are no different. With a bit of digging, you may even find spots for as little as $10 a visit—I have, and it’s like the haircare holy grail. Note I’m not sharing their names here!
If you have a favorite spot that suddenly appears on a daily deals site like Lifebooker or GroupOn, jump on this opportunity and hoard as many blowout deal vouchers as the special allows. But don’t be afraid to be creative—all addicts have to be, and I am no exception. I make weekly visits to Salon Apprentice, a directory of licensed hair professionals at top salons requiring hair models. This is an amazing way to get free blowouts (and other hair treatments!) at top salons around the city—and you don’t even have to sacrifice that mimosa.
Make That Blowout Last
Endurance is the name of the game, and once you’ve scored the best blow for your buck, make it last as long as possible. I have all the tools: the satin pillowcases, dry shampoo, fabric scrunchies, shower caps. Blowout addiction isn’t about getting as many blowouts as possible. It’s about making those blowouts count.
Sleep: Starting with that very night after the blowout, I do as my own mother (another blowout addict, it’s in the genes) taught me when I was a teenager. Sleeping with your hair down is simply not an option. Pile your hair loosely on top of your head into a loose high bun with a fabric scrunchie ($6, americanapparel.com). This avoids undue hair tension, creases, bends and tangles that you may suffer from hair elastics. Stress-free blowouts live longer, just like stress-free humans. Then, rest that well-coiffed head on a satin pillowcase. Satin is far gentler on the hair than cotton is, which will suck moisture out of your hair faster than you can say dehydration.
Shower: When it comes time to shower, this is a no-brainer. Use a shower cap. Always. Sometimes I wrap my hair in large Velcro rollers under the shower cap—this is a great way to add a bit of a volume later in the blowout life span. But always be capped around moisture. Don’t be afraid to double-cap, either.
Note: Shower cap use doesn’t have to be limited to in the shower. I’ve been known to carry disposable shower caps (you can get a pack of 10 at a place like Sally Beauty for like $3) with me at all times. Whether you get caught in the rain, go for a dental cleaning, end up on an impromptu water ride—there’s all sorts of situations that can potentially put your blowout at risk, and it’s always wise to wear protection. Embarrassed to wear a shower cap in public? Invest in a plastic bonnet. It worked for grandma, and her blowouts would last a week!
Refresh: My average blowout’s life span is a solid three days before it starts to wane. On day three or four, a reboot is often necessary. This may be the time you try the aforementioned shower curler remedy. But, you’ll probably need more—you may want to deal with limp ends by taking your formerly sleek straight blowout and curling some loose waves. Another absolute must is eliminating the accruing grease and shine with a solid dose of dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a blowout addict’s best friend. It’s how we survive; it’s our gateway to salvation between one fix and the next. I’m currently all about René Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo ($24, beauty.com). You want a spray that will restore freshness along with volume and lightness and not create any sort of sticky or heavy quality. Dry shampoos that come in smaller TSA-friendly sizes, like this one and many others, are also an absolute must if you travel often and need your blowout to last throughout your journey.
Dry shampoo can buy you one more day. If circumstances mean you have to stretch yet further—it happens from time to time and it’s a huge test of endurance—start honing your updo and braiding techniques. I recently got a blowout to last through day six by breaking out Heidi-like dual braids. Side twists, buns, braids and ponies are great ways to mask the reality and make your hair look perfectly clean. You’ll get points for creativity, too!
Don’t be afraid of pre-emptive dry shampooing, either. Many of us know the trick of applying deodorant before bed to allow it to penetrate our pores when our body temperature is its most even. Dry shampoo can be thought of in sort of the same way—apply it to roots before grease starts to accrue, and it will absorb those oils before they start to be an issue.
Read more: Confessions of a Dry Shampoo Addict