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Hair today and tomorrow

Entrepreneur Alicia Melanson opens the first blow-dry bar in Atlantic Canada paying homage to beauty parlour culture

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For the most part, I have a wash-and-go type attitude toward my hair. The simpler I can keep my routine, the better. Occasionally, however, I find myself craving those shiny, bouncy curls or smoother-than-glass styles that (for me, anyway) seem only achievable at the salon. So, I was intrigued to hear about the recent opening of Urban 30 Blowdry Bar on Barrington Street. It’s the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada but it’s already a hugely popular trend across the country.

So, on another bitterly cold Friday afternoon, I decide a treat is in order and pop down to check out Urban 30. Owner Alicia Melanson is the proud entrepreneur behind this glam endeavour. With a nod to the days when women regularly visited a beauty parlour to get well-coiffed, Melanson aims to provide a space that’s all about pampering, complete with three old-fashioned inspired hood dryers/warming chairs. The offer of cupcakes, fancy coffees, teas, and a menu to choose your style from provides a delightfully indulgent effect.

“We’re attempting to re-create the culture of the generation of women who would get their hair styled on a weekly basis,” says Melanson. “Because the prices are streamlined it’s really an affordable luxury.”

Sitting at the bar with my specialty tea, I choose the “high roller” from the menu and before you know it, my hair is washed and done up in massive rollers. The décor is all subtle teal hued walls and sparkling gold hanging lamps (resembling sequins) and the focal point of the salon is the long, elegant bar. Although, I don’t consider myself a a girlie-girl, I feel right at home and once I’m under the oddly soothing hood dryer with a tablet full of magazines, I am quite content.

The end result is a departure from my normal let-it-fall-as-it-may hair. I have voluminous, big waves that have extraordinary lustre and sheen. It’s an instant pick-me-up akin to getting a manicure (and around the same price) that would be perfect just before an evening out. The real impression for me is formed over the course of the weekend as my hair maintains its flounce and sheen for days. I feel salon-coiffed on Friday and the next day and the next. When I wake up on Sunday morning with my soft waves still in tact, I can suddenly understand exactly how one might get hooked on this service.

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