Hot Air

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No cuts. No color. Just air.

That’s the motto at the brand-new Arid Blow Dry & Beauty Bar in Royal Oak. The not-your-average salon is the beautiful brainchild of Amy Craig, who has 10 years of cutting, coloring and styling hair under her belt at salons including Avalon and Luigi Bruni, both in Birmingham, as well as continuing education classes across the country at Bumble & Bumble, Redkin and L’Oreal Paris.

“I loved what I did, and I loved the salons I worked for,” says Craig, 35, of Royal Oak. “I never really had any interest in opening my own salon. But when I traveled, I heard about the drybar concept. I got really excited — it seemed like a perfect fit for me, my goals for my clients and my own skills.”

The drybar phenomenon has been gaining speed the last couple of years in cities across the country, from Manhattan to Dallas. When Craig realized there was not a single drybar in Michigan — that offered only a blowdry and style and nothing else — she jumped on it, with the encouragement of her husband, Michael.

She did her research, created a business plan and since Aug. 21, when she turned on the phones, women of all ages couldn’t wait to get their spot.

PHOTO 1 - get-attachment“It was scary and overwhelming, but it’s really like a dream. What I’ve always loved about what I do is making women feel good. Now, I’ve created an environment where women can come in, be comfortable, and for not that much money, walk out feeling like a million bucks.”

For a flat rate of $35, women can be washed, blown and styled to perfection by stylists who specialize in the end result.

“Every stylist has her own talent — some are great at cutting, but not so great at styling,” Craig says. “Here, we have attracted stylists who specialize in blow-outs, both locally and nationally. We have the best of the best in this genre.”

Clients sit along a comfortable “bar,” where there are enough mirrors to see what’s going on but not stress about every hair being in place — and where it’s easy to form a camaraderie with other clients, if they choose.

“The goal is for the whole experience to be fun and relaxing, a break in your day,” Craig says.

Clients can choose from pin straight to beachy waves to smooth curls and more, and clients can add extras, like a braid for $5 or a 10-minute scalp massage for $10 (Arid also offers styles for kids under 10 for $20, and updos for $50). For $35, Arid also offers a light makeup touch-up.

“It’s affordable luxury, and it makes you feel great. It really can turn your day around,” Craig says.

“When I was cutting hair, every Saturday night when I would get off of work, I wanted someone to do my hair, but everyone wanted to leave. At Arid, you can pop in on Saturday evening before a date or special event, and you’re good to go.”

Arid Blow Dry & Beauty Bar, 32956 Woodward, Royal Oak (248-268-2590; ariddrybar.com).

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