No one knows stress like Washington—and sometimes, all you really need at the end of a long week or a day full of meetings is a relaxing, secluded hour or two at the spa. Crave the Zen but cringe at the $200-plus price tag? We feel you. Luckily, thanks to Spa Week, you can get the pampering you deserve at a fraction of the cost. The annual event brings together area spas, salons, and wellness centers for seven days of discounted offerings, from hot stone massages to skin-clearing facials to blowouts. The best part? Many of the services are capped at $50. Below is a list of ten luxurious ways you can treat yourself next week—but don’t wait, as appointments fill up at warp speed. You can thank us later.
As the cost of a wash and blow-dry at area salons creeps toward to the $60 mark, the trendy (and affordable) blowout-only concept is an increasingly welcome addition to this town. And not just for the under-$40 price: The no-cut, no-color salons, furnished with luxe decor and offering Champagne and chick flicks, offer a pampering experience above that of a standard cuttery.
Which is why we’re thrilled that Washington’s about to get two more: Blo, a chic blow-dry bar with outposts as far as Moscow, will open locations this year in Dupont Circle and Gaithersburg. The DC location marks the second salon of its kind downtown—the first, Blowout Bar, sits at 21st and L streets, Northwest; the Gaithersburg location will be the Maryland suburb’s first. Georgetown, Bethesda, and Reston are home to similar concepts Drybar and Flow.
Blo—popular in New York, Miami, and Beverly Hills—offers a menu of styles ranging from red-carpet waves to edgy fishtail braids for a flat fee of $40. Add ons, like deep-conditioning treatments and extensions, are just a few bucks more. Also on the menu is something we haven’t seen before: a service for men that includes a wash, dry, and 20-minute head massage for $21, somewhat dubiously dubbed the “Blo Bro.”
While exact opening dates have not yet been determined, a rep tells us to expect the Dupont locale within the next three months; Gaithersburg will follow later in the year. We’re keeping a watchful eye on the spaces in the meantime and studying up on our “Blocabulary.”
Blo. 2127 P St., NW; 317 Ellington Blvd., Gaithersburg.
Erwin Gomez has certainly been busy. Following last fall’s opening of his new salon, Karma, in DC’s West End, the famed makeup artist—whose clientele has included such celebrities as Barbra Streisand, Eva Longoria, and Rosario Dawson—put two tumultuous years in the Washington beauty business behind him to focus his full attention on his next big project: creating a makeup line. After months of anticipation, the namesake collection launched this month, boasting 11 foundations, eyeliners, lip colors, and more, in shades he says are designed to flatter every skin tone. (See a first look at the collection here.) Gomez is recognized for his expert brow-shaping skills, and here he offers his tips for achieving perfect arches. Here are his four easy-to-follow pointers.
1) Color selection is everything.
“Make sure you select the right shade to match your hair. Never use black, no matter what your skin tone or hair color is. Here’s a quick guide: If you have dark hair, do not go darker than your hair color—select a slightly lighter brow pencil. If you have blonde hair, use a taupe pencil. For redheads, use a fawn-auburn-colored pencil to ensure as natural of a look as possible.”
In an unfortunate turn of events founder Alli Webb called an “embarrassing technicality,” Drybar Georgetown abruptly closed its doors Friday, effectively canceling the day’s scheduled appointments and directing walk-ins to the second location in Bethesda. According to a spokesperson for the salon, the salon failed to adequately file its business license when it opened last fall and was forced to close until the issue was resolved. To the relief of blowout-addicted Washingtonians, the salon reopened a day later and is now back up and running as usual, except for one thing: Drybar wants to make up for lost time—and then some—and is thus offering 50 percent off all services through Wednesday, August 28. The news comes from a note straight from Webb, below:
When she “stumbled upon” the blowout concept five years ago, Tess Belsari says she knew one day she’d want to make a business out of it. Given her upbringing—raised by a mother who owned spas and salons around the world—hairstyling seemed a natural fit; though she graduated with a psychology degree, her passion for beauty crept back into her career. “Seeing the joy I can bring to someone by filling a void in the beauty market, this was an ideal and natural endeavor for me,” she tells us.
After years of traveling overseas to research beauty trends and months of training to perfect the technique used at her chic 21st Street salon, Belsari has tried almost every hair and makeup product out there. Here are the five she can’t put down.
Treat Mom to a Makeover (Not That She Needs It)
Bluemercury’s Dupont store hosts Trish McEvoy makeup artists between 10 and 8 on May 10 and 11. Snag a makeover from the pros by booking via phone and purchasing two products. 1619 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-462-1300.
Here’s a steal: A haircut, style, and makeup session at the opulent Karma by Erwin Gomez is $139 this month; $89 gets you an anti-aging facial and lip polish. Can’t make it right away? No worries—the deals are good through the end of the month. 1104 24th St., NW; 202-293-3333.
With a cult following of beauty editors and celebrities already established in New York, the luxe waxing and threading salon Shobha will test the Washington waters when it opens its doors at 1730 M Street, Northwest, the first week of June. The DC location—Shobha’s very first outside of New York city lines—will offer the salon’s signature brow, body, and bikini treatments, including threading, sugaring (the formula is the owner’s family recipe), and waxing, as well as an assortment of at-home hair removal and skin-soothing products.
“We have a surprising amount of clients in Manhattan from Washington that have been asking us to open here for years, so it really felt like a natural progression for us to come here,” says Shobha Tummala, the salon’s founder, who herself relocated to DC in recent months.
Read on to get the first scoop on the upcoming Dupont store, Shobha’s signature services, and Tummala’s plans for world domination.
Why did you decide to open a Shobha salon in DC?
I started this company 12 years ago in New York when I saw a need in the market—a need I had myself—and we quickly grew to four salons throughout Manhattan. When I came to Washington a few years ago, I saw the same need, right as DC really started coming into its own on the retail/fashion/beauty front. I thought then that the time was right to start making plans. We’ve been so well embraced by the fashion community in Manhattan, and I feel like DC is, in many ways, a kindred spirit on the beauty front. This is a city full of gorgeous women who take impeccable care of themselves, and yet this is a need that is barely being addressed.
How is your salon different from other waxing salons?
From the remarkable quality of our treatments and products to the immaculate cleanliness of our salons, we believe in perfection—and in the continual improvement of everything Shobha. We strongly believe in educating ourselves and using what we have learned to evolve and grow so we can provide our clients with simple and practical ways to maintain their hair removal routine, because life can get hairy enough on its own.
As part of our company culture we have been committed to furthering the lives of South Asian women and children. We have sponsored the college education of ten women through Sarada Kalayan Bhandar and have contributed to School-on-Wheels, which converts old buses into mobile classrooms in Mumbai and Pune for street children, offering them an alternative to begging and teaching them that education is their way out of poverty. Most recently, we made a $100,000 contribution to Shobha’s Home for Girls & Women, which is dedicated to my grandparents. The home supports 60 girls and young women who range from preschool to college age. The home is run by two retired professors who value education and are making sure the orphans are cared for and able to attend school. It is our hope that these early philanthropic steps will lay the groundwork for a full-fledged nonprofit organization in the years to come.
The problem with getting a blowout in Washington is that if you work downtown, there’s some travel involved—unlike our Virginia, MoCo, and Georgetown neighbors, we don’t have the convenience of a standalone blow-dry salon in our ’hood. That is, until this weekend.
Look out for Blowout Bar, a chic blow-dry concept opening Saturday near Foggy Bottom (just blocks from our office!). In addition to five blowout styles—including Lola (meaning straight with body) and Stella (Hollywood waves)—at a flat rate of $35, the salon will offer updos, conditioning treatments, and house calls.
The girly, blowout-only concept is hardly new to the area. In January, we told you about Reston’s FLOW, and a few months earlier Drybar made its Washington debut—but as far as we know, Blowout Bar is the first of its kind to open downtown.
And it’s already gotten tons of excitement: In its two weeks on Twitter, the salon has already earned 22,000 followers, so our guess is the appointments will fill up super quickly. Luckily, as of today, you can book one online.
Additional opening info has been pretty hush-hush so far, but stay tuned—we’re on top of it.
Blowout Bar. 2134 L St., NW; 202-290-2109. Opens Saturday, March 30.
Do you like a local day spa, salon, wellness center, or other spot for its wonderful massages, facials, mani/pedis, or other pampering treatments? For an upcoming article on good spa treatments, we’d love your nominations for the area’s best massage therapists, facialists, nail technicians, and more. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1. If you don’t know of anyone or any place in particular but you do have questions about visiting a day spa or about treatments which could be addressed in an article, please feel free to share those, as well.