Blow dry bars have hitherto been something of a cool kids affair. A menu of six trending styles served up in 20 minutes, whether it be the season’s take on the beehive or a poker straight finish. And then came along SHOW DRY. The twist is that your options here are essential bouncy, updo and braided, because SHOW DRY is the latest launch from the burgeoning hair empire owned by Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone.
Following the success of her SHOW capsule hair collection last year came a selection of mini blow dry bars within department stores. But this first standalone salon at 173 Westbourne Grove – just a few Louboutin-heeled steps from Portobello Road – is the real showcase.
It’s a small space put to very good use, with just eight styling chairs, floor-to-ceiling windows, vast mirrors and minimalist décor to make it feel airy. The few shelves hold the haircare collection, jars filled with sweets and Diptyque candles that one guesses are picked up daily from the store a few doors away. Downstairs there’s a more decadent feel with black wood floors, big square basins, vibrating backwash chairs that you can tweak to satisfy and some risqué Guy Bourdin-esque artwork on the wall.
Not that we’re talking style over substance: this is day-to-night or party hair heaven. Rather than a strict set menu of styles, there are suggestions including modern updo, signature blowdry and, naturally, red carpet (all from £35 or from £20 for the no-wash Express version). Your stylist will take direction regarding where you’re going, what you’re wearing and how much oomph to inject, so make no mistake, these are most definitely ‘dos’.
If you’re undecided, each styling station comes with a personal ipad where they can take you through some ideas, then leave you to scan Newsstand for reads from Grazia to The Times. There’s a compact menu of fresh juices, Champagne (of course), coffees, macarons and brownies. And with Tamara being a new mum, there are babyccinos as well as children’s blow dries available (from £15).
Having not had a professional updo for at least a decade, I opted for what quickly became an elaborate series of twists and spirals and many, many pins. It felt somewhat wasted walking along Portobello market on a Friday lunchtime, but came into its own later that night. And much to my surprise, despite being spritzed with enough hairspray to hold up a skyscraper, it brushed out easily and left my hair feeling soft, smooth and completely uncrispy (a testament to the quality of the SHOW argan-rich product range).
As you would expect, the opening hours are long to fit the jet-setting lifestyle – 8am to 8pm during weekdays plus Sunday 10 to 5pm. And – of course – you can book an Uber cab alongside your appointment to take you to your onward destination. Just make sure it’s somewhere equally fabulous as your hair.
For more information and to book, see the SHOW DRY website. SHOW DRY, 173 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RS.