Hi. We’re Molly and Caroline, and we’re addicted to blowouts. So when we were offered the opportunity to try out two brand-new services that promised unlimited blowdry appointments in NYC for a monthly fee, we both jumped at the opportunity.
We tried BeautyPass and Vive (currently in Beta), respectively. Both offer New Yorkers a package similar to the business model of “ClassPass” — for $US99, members can schedule unlimited monthly blowouts in Manhattan (BeautyPass also offers its services in the Hamptons). When you request an appointment, you’re matched with a participating salon nearby.
But first: Are you wondering what a blowout is?
A blowout is when you go to the hair salon and someone washes your hair and blows it dry with professional styling tools and expensive product. Yes, lots of people own blowdryers. No, we don’t know how to make it look that good ourselves.
Blowouts are perfect for the times you want your hair to look, smell, and feel like it does right after a haircut, without actually getting a haircut. But they’re a luxury — blowouts can cost anywhere between $US40-$US90 at salons in Manhattan, including places like DryBar that only provide its clientele with blowdrying. On-demand apps that offer blowouts at home (like Glamsquad and Priv) are convenient but also require us to fork over more cash; usually between $US50-$US60.
It’s a lot of money to spend on something you can technically just do yourself for free.
So BeautyPass and Vive exist to solve that issue — a flat-rate $US99 buys you into thirty blissful days of blowouts. Even if you only get your hair done two or three times, it pays for itself.
BeautyPass and Vive: The Similarities
- Both are $US99/month.
- Both require members to tip in cash — that’s an added $US8-10 per blowout. We decided it’s best to think of the $US99 membership fee as your key to a world of $US10 blowouts.
- Both are best if you’re looking to get a blowout during the day or after work. Lots of the participating salons don’t open early enough for a pre-work style, which is a point for at-home services that will show up at your apartment as early as 6am.
- You only have minutes to cancel if you change your mind. Both services will charge you $US20 if you cancel your appointment more than 10 minutes after making it. This is also similar to ClassPass, which charges you if you don’t show up to the exercise class you signed up for. This hopefully prevents people from being flaky.
BeautyPass and Vive: The Differences
- BeautyPass boasts its texting function, which enables you to set up appointments via text message. You text a concierge with your neighbourhood and what time you’d like to have your hair done, and they get back to you within 15 minutes.
- Vive requires you to request an appointment via its site (no app yet!) which means you have to be at a computer to schedule a blowout. Then it notifies you via text and email. In our experience, the mobile version of Vive had a few glitches, so we trusted our desktops.
BeautyPass and Vive: What We Loved
- We both decided in order to make the monthly expense of about $US180 (that includes the tip) worth it, we’d have to schedule at least two blowouts per week. If the average blowout costs about sixty bucks, we saved ourselves hundreds of dollars.
- Going to the salon on Tuesdays and Fridays also made the most sense — one carries you through the majority of the work week, and one takes you through the weekend. We almost never had to deal with our hair ourselves. It was great.
- A lot of the salons were right near our office, which made it worth it for Caroline, who lives in Brooklyn. Neither service offers blowouts in Brooklyn. Molly lives in Manhattan, so she made Saturday morning blowouts a habit — not a bad way to start the weekend.
- The salons both BeautyPass and Vive partner with are mostly catering to a high-profile clientele, so many offered us champagne or wine or bottled water.
BeautyPass and Vive: What We Didn’t Love
- After the novelty wears off, it starts to feel a bit tedious. We know, tedious to have your hair done by someone else — break out the tiny violin. But we both agreed that sometimes we just didn’t feel like spending an extra hour to get our hair done. As relaxing as a salon can be, it just isn’t the couch.
- It was cool to try out a bunch of new salons. Through both BeautyPass and Vive, we both found a new favourite blowout spot in the form of RPZL, right around the corner from our office.
- But if we got appointments with RPZL, it was based on luck. If you have a great experience with a salon, there’s no way to request to be sent there for your next appointment. (RPZL, if you’re reading, we will pay you $US150 a month to exclusively have our hair done with you!)
- It would have been helpful to browse around the BeautyPass and Vive websites and have the opportunity to select what we wanted so that we had some more control over which salons we wound up with.
- Molly experienced a glitch with BeautyPass when she requested a blowout on the Lower East Side and ended up with a confirmed appointment in SoHo, twice in a row. The people behind the app might want to make sure they have their neighbourhoods straight.
- Early on, Caroline experienced a glitch when a salon didn’t receive the notification that she had scheduled an appointment (and was confirmed!) She showed up and ultimately, they couldn’t squeeze her in. Vive promised it would never happen again (and it hasn’t.)
The Verdict: We’re In
Life is all about choices, and we both thought forking over the cash for unlimited blowouts beat out a few spontaneous Uber rides or Seamless orders. Both Vive and BeautyPass offer similar services so it’s hard to say which one is better or which one you’ll be happier with — we were both happy with our experiences. If the ClassPass business model proves to be effective, it’s going to save everyone a lot of money.