4 July, 2013

airplaybar – we put Hong Kong’s first blow dry bar to the test

4 July, 2013

airplay bar hong kong

As Sassy’s resident hair-obsessive, I was very excited to check out airplay blow dry bar, the newest addition to the plethora of Hong Kong’s pampering options. The concept is a US import – a one-stop styling shop, focusing entirely on the finishing touches that make your barnet beautiful. There’s no cutting, chemical treatments or colouring here, just pure and simple styling.

The space is quite something – bright, airy and ingeniously located within W Place on Wyndham Street, meaning it’s a no-brainer for a quick post-work spruce before hitting the bars downstairs. Although decorated in a very girly shade of pastel pink, airplaybar somehow avoids looking too syrupy, and white leather chairs combine with the odd touch of chrome to offset the ice-cream accents. The theme continues all the way through the salon – from the shampoo ‘shooters’ (choose by scent for perfectly perfumed ‘do), to the rosé bubbly and macarons you’ll be offered while you’re coiffed.

airplaybar offers a menu of blow-dry options, all named after cocktails. If big, bouncy waves are what you’re after, the Sea Breeze will have you pumped up and ready for a night out. More a poker-straight kind of girl? The Long Island Iced Tea promises to iron out all your kinks and leave hair with a mirror shine. I opted for the Singapore Sling, which offers you a choice of different updos, depending on the look you’re wanting to rock.

First though was a wash with some of that lush scented shampoo. After some deliberation, I plumped for Mandarin (other scrummy scents include Cherry Blossom and Green Tea). The tilting sinks are cleverly designed to take the strain off your neck as you rinse, and the wash comes with a sadly-all-too-brief head massage that felt heavenly.

airplay bar shampoo bar hk

Into the hotseat, and the first thing I noticed was that there was no mirror in front of me… kind of weird for a salon! The idea is that you don’t get to see your hair until the ‘grand reveal’ at the end, when you spin around to check out your newly pristine locks in the mirror behind you. I have to say, my personal preference would always be to see what’s going on (I have a vested interest in making sure I look alright!), but given that a blow-dry or updo can be quickly and easily changed if you’re not 100% happy, I can just about get on board with this.

The dry was quick and efficient, and the powerful dryers are low-noise enough to make conversation possible, which is a plus if you’re here with friends. I’d chosen a half-up, half-down braided number; glam enough for a night out, but low-key enough to wear to brunch. As an added challenge, I also tasked the stylist to style my heavy fringe to a natural-looking parting – no mean feat, as anyone who has ever grown out a fringe will confirm! Clearly, my difficult hair was no match for her expertise, as before I knew it, I was braided, pinned and spritzed with a final blast of MoroccanOil hairspray to keep everything in place.

airplay blow dry bar hong kong

The style was everything I’d asked for – pretty, un-fussy and natural, and I can confirm that it held up well in the humidity for several hours afterwards. I was also extremely impressed with the speed with which it was achieved – around 45 minutes from start to finish, making this a realistic option for a quick fix at lunchtime, or even after your morning yoga class (airplaybar is right next door to Pure and opens at 8am!).

And it’s not just me that loved it! Sassy’s Maura also popped in for a visit after a long day in the office. Handing it over to Maura…

“I have long been a fan of things that speak to the ‘busy girl’. While I am all about fashion, fitness and beauty, I tend to gravitate towards things that take a minimal amount of time. My go, go, go schedule leaves me with little desire to dedicate hours to pampering so when a solution comes up that enables me to add some pampering seamlessly into my day, I am all over it!

So I jumped at the chance to try airplaybar as a true test to how well it works for a busy girl-on-the-go. I had a meal to attend in the evening and on days where I am racing from work to dinner, I tend to skip the gym – after a good workout session, my hair just looks like a sweaty disaster that has no business being anywhere near the bars and restaurants of trendy Hong Kong!

But thanks to airplaybar, I found I could do it all. I went to the gym during lunch, got a quick 30 minutes in on the elliptical, showered and threw my hair into a ponytail, picked up a take-out lunch and raced back to my desk to finish out the day. After work, I smiled all the way to Airplay knowing that after a quick 45 minutes with their fab team I would be ready to go for a night on the town!

airplay bar updo hong kong

The day I visited was ridiculously humid and as much as I wanted to try their Long Island Iced Tea, I knew that an updo would be humidity safe so went for a bun with braids, to make it look styled and more special than my normal look – and I absolutely loved the result! I actually quite like the fact that you can’t see the finished result until the end (I’m usually the type of person who freaks out sitting in the hairdresser chair!) so I liked the big reveal and the fact that I could just enjoy the experience without over-analysing every little tease and movement the stylist made.

airplaybar for me is 100% girl-on-the-go approved and it checks all my boxes when looking for a pampering spot that fits into my g0, go, go schedule!”

…So that’s two Sassy seals of approval already! Airplay would also make for a fab bridal, baby shower or engagement party venue, or just as a kick-start to a good old-fashioned girl’s night out.

At $280 per session, this is an affordable treat that also hits just the right note when it comes to time vs. treating yourself, so this is surely the first of many blow-dry bars to come to HK. I, for one, am thrilled, and look forward to not having to tough out my bad hair days any more!

All blowouts and updos (including the aromatic shampoo bar) cost $280. See airplaybar’s full menu of services here.

airplay blow dry bar  7/f, w place, 52 wyndham st., central, hk, Hong Kong
2641 9888  www.airplaybar.com

kate f and maura_sig

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