Beauty fix: Airplay Blow-Dry Bar's Sea Breeze Blowout
I've never voluntarily gone to have my hair "set" (the one time was as a bridesmaid, but that was under duress), so I turn up at the new Airplay Blow-Dry Bar feeling somewhat sceptical. It's described as the first of its kind in the city, which I take to mean it's like a regular salon, except it doesn't offer haircuts, colouring, or perms.
The moment I enter the fresh, white interior, I'm offered a glass of sparkling wine. Two friendly, stylish hostess/bartenders with impeccably styled locks are manning a bar, serving snacks and refreshments to a line of ladies who are sitting down and fiddling with their mobile phones or staring at Project Runway on the television screens in front while having their hair done.
Behind the bar is a line of pastel-coloured bottles full of mysterious, unlabelled potions, while pockets inside the bar surface hold styling tongs and tools. The menu features a series of contemporary looks (each one named after a cocktail), make-up services and various combos.
Having the photos and descriptions to hand makes it easy to choose, although may lead to rather homogenised results if you're going in a group.
After a short wait, I'm taken to a row of basins for a gentle hair wash. The basin is slightly too high to be comfortable, but I'm soon led to the bar where I notice details, like the fact that the television show has subtitles (it's on mute so as not to disturb the lounge atmosphere) and the snacks on offer (nuts, chocolate, macarons, fruit and crudités).
Curiously, there are no mirrors in front of us, supposedly to create one of those "surprise" moments you see on television after a beauty makeover. However, this doesn't allow clients to see where their hairstyles are going. The woman next to me wanted to see the back of her hair with a handheld mirror but the wall mirrors behind us were too far away to get a proper look.
After much tong twisting and careful blow drying, my "Sea Breeze" blowout - described as loose, surfer-style waves - looks suitably airy and casual, to the point that I wouldn't blame anyone for not noticing I've had it done. But I do notice it feels lighter and despite the humidity outside, has more body than usual - even the next day.
While I wouldn't say I'm a blow dry convert, Airplay's hip location (above the Opera Gallery and across from LKF hotel) and tasty extras make it ideal for an all-girl pampering session, or for anyone with time to kill before a night out in Central.
Airplay, 7/F W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central. Blowouts take around 45 minutes and cost from HK$280 and include a drink (free refill) and snack