beauty treatment review

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Beauty Experiment: Blow-Dry Bar
I remember being 16, standing in my bathroom in the ovenlike heat of August, aiming a blow-dryer at my head until sweat dripped down my face. My hair—the one thing about me that resembled Heather Locklear—was worth it. After an hour with my Conair Turbo, I felt as if something amazing could happen.

Maybe that's why my first visit to Drybar (the rapidly multiplying salon chain with the tagline "No cuts. No color. Just blow-outs") makes me feel nostalgic. My hair has lately been relegated to a wiry braid that I wash only when the buildup of oil and dry shampoo makes it itch. Deep down, I know this has to do with age-related defensiveness. (I'm getting older, but as you can see, I don't care.) If I preemptively bow out of the game, I can't lose, right?

After 45 minutes of my stylist's deft round-brush maneuvers, I've sunk into a meditative state. And my hair! It's dancing on my shoulders, a soft cascade of movie-star curls. I don't look like the 16-year-old I once was, with boundless hope (and more collagen), but as I walk out onto the street, I realize there's no one I need to impress. It's just me and my hair, greeting the day with all we've got. ($40;

Verdict: Do it!

—Meredith Bryan, articles editor