Tis the season to go party, fa la la la la la la la…
Yep, it’s that time of year when even the most shy and retiring wallflowers find themselves being dragged along to burn the midnight oil and stick tinsel in strange places at seasonal soirees and holiday parties galore.
It’s occasions like these where you might find yourself lacking the time or indeed, inspiration to get ready for a night out… and as someone who has put serious consideration into whether pyjamas fit the description of “smart-casual” and whose most adventurous hairstyle is the ponytail, I definitely know the feeling. Which is exactly where Airplay Bar comes into play.
Airplay is Hong Kong’s very first blow dry bar – no cuts, no colours, just simple (or not so simple!) styling – a concept that’s big in the States and Europe but which, in true HK fashion, took absolutely bloody ages to reach our shores. Their first location in Central is exactly the kind of space you’d like to enjoy some prime pampering time in; the décor is soft and feminine, with invitingly comfy white leather chairs and Project Runway on loop on giant screens, whilst the place itself is far bigger and more open than the photos do justice.
Your Airplay experience begins in the way that most of the best experiences do – with treats! Think gummi bears, chocolate cookies and glasses of bubbly whilst you flick through Airplay’s iPad of style inspiration to decide upon your ‘do and take your pick from a shot rack of delicious-smelling shampoos. I settled on a deep conditioning Argan number for my shampoo, and wavy tresses in a half-up half-down braid hairstyle… so let the pampering begin!
My shampoo came with a wonderful head massage – seriously, the rest of the world needs to catch on with offering these as standard with hair treatments. After that, my hair was expertly teased, curled and braided in seemingly record speed (around 30-45 minutes including a shampoo, blow dry and styling), resulting in a really soft and pretty look that had me flipping and tossing my hair with all the confidence of a million Beyoncé GIFs.
My hair is very straight, meaning any curls are about as short-lived as an X Factor winner’s career. Although my waves definitely became looser as the evening wore on, they were still at least present by the end of the night – whilst the braid was still going strong and in pristine condition right until the moment I let it down to go to bed.
Given its fluffy girlie atmosphere, I think Airplay is even better enjoyed with a coterie of BFFs, making it an ideal and inspired venue for a birthday party, hen do or baby shower, as opposed to Hong Kong’s other blow dry venue Amika which isn’t nearly as spacious. I’d brought along my dessert partner-in-crime and style fairy godmother Sabrina, who went with big loose waves for her hairstyle. Suffice to say, she looked gorgeous (but when does she not, right?) and as a new mum, relished a bit of dedicated pampering time.
Airplay also offers make-up services to fully complete your party look. Although Sabrina was pretty happy with hers, I was a little disappointed with mine – I wish there’d been more communication from my make-up artist about what colours or look I wanted, or the products she planned on using. I liked the complexion and lip products, especially the peachy pink lipstick/gloss combo, and was glad that it all felt reasonably light and not heavy or mask-like. However as an eyeliner fiend, I wasn’t a fan of the black liquid liner used; given that my crazy-sensitive eyes are a challenge to even the most skilled MUAs, it was no surprise that the product ended up nowhere near my lash-line (I re-did it myself using a warmer brown pencil). Similarly, given that Airplay carries both The Balm and Urban Decay cosmetics – both of which are not easy to come by in Hong Kong – I wished my make-up artist had focused a bit more on using these ranges… especially as I was desperate to try the Naked 3 Palette!
Nevertheless, the hair really is the mane attraction here and if you’re lacking a little going-out mojo, then Airplay is the perfect place to get your groove back. The venue is gorgeous, the concept is genius, and the fabulous range of hairstyles will have you feeling like you’re straight out a L’Oreal commercial. For some party-ready pampering, hair’s looking at you Airplay!
Blowouts/styling and shampoo cost $280, 25-minute make-up sessions cost $280; see Airplay’s full menu of treatments here
Airplay Bar locations in Hong Kong:
– Shop B223, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2388 8824
– Shop 317, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2388 8179
Photos by Sabrina Sikora Photography
Note: this trial was by invitation