Q&A: Alli Webb, Founder of Drybar

Drybar founder Alli Webb

Drybar founder Alli Webb

As Drybar gets set to launch in Canada, the queen of blowouts answers our Proustian beauty Qs

Seven years ago, Alli Webb was a trained hairstylist turned PR pro turned full-time mom of two in L.A. Knowing the transformative power of a good-hair day—delivered on demand—she decided to start a mobile blowout service, Straight-at-Home, just to “earn a little extra cash.” She would zip around to her mommy friends’ homes with tools in tow, charging US$40 a pop.

Soon, the demand was so high, she couldn’t meet it solo. She had found her niche: fast and fun blowouts as an affordable indulgence. So after persuading her older brother, Michael Landau, to get on board as an investor/business partner/co-founder, Webb opened the doors to her first Drybar, in the posh L.A. neighbourhood of Brentwood, in 2010.

Today, the business innovator runs a full-fledged beauty empire—on track to reach US$70 million in annual revenue for 2015—with nearly 3,000 employees and more than 40 Drybar salons across the U.S., not to mention a whole line of styling products. Webb’s success story sounds so Hollywood-perfect, Universal Pictures is now making a movie based on her life.

Soon, Canadians will be able to get the Drybar treatment, too: the brand’s first international location is set to open September 18 at the new Nordstrom Pacific Centre, in Vancouver. With five styling chairs, the space will offer the signature cocktail-themed menu of looks—such as the Cosmo (loose curls), the Southern Comfort (va-va-volume) and the Manhattan (sleek and smooth)—at $50 each. 

Also later this month, the hair products will unroll at 53 Sephora doors across Canada, including stores in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. As Drybar gets ready to go global, we interviewed Webb for her beauty wisdom.

What is your idea of perfect beauty? Quiet, inner beauty and confidence. 

How do you look when you feel most like yourself? When my blowout is on point, I feel my absolute best. It’s been that way since I was a little girl. 

If you could create a fragrance that encapsulated your personality, what would it smell like? It would be a subtle blend of sandalwood and fresh rose. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten at a beauty counter? I have dry skin, but love a dewy look. I was once told to load up on moisturizers because most creams quickly absorb into my skin. So now I apply three different serums and face creams (with SPF!) every day. 

What is your biggest beauty extravagance? For me, it’s so important to indulge in the things that make me feel refreshed and renewed, like weekly massages, mani/pedis and blowouts (the Floater scalp massage may be my favourite part!). I think a lot of women don’t allow themselves the time to do things that make them feel their best, both physically and emotionally. I firmly believe in finding that balance. 

Which one of your signature beauty techniques should every woman know? Developing a regimen is key for great-looking hair. I’m a huge believer in weekly (or bi-weekly) hair treatments, like our Bay Breeze Shots, or a hydrating/reparative mask, like Mudslide.


Alli Webb’s Beauty Picks


Who do you admire as a living icon in the beauty world? Julianne Moore really stands out as an iconic, timeless beauty. Her hair is to die for, and she is always poised and perfectly put together. 

What is your greatest beauty regret? Not taking better care of my skin when I was younger. I have a great daily and nightly routine now that I wish I had had years ago—you know, when you think you’re invincible and will never get wrinkles.

What is your anti-aging motto? While I’m happy in my own skin, I also believe in taking the very best care of myself so I can grow old gracefully. 

What do you deem a beauty crime? There are so many options and ways to have good hair, it drives me crazy when people don’t put in the effort. I feel like our hair is the frame to the face, and is key to looking your best. 

What do you consider an underrated skincare commandment? SPF. I think people underestimate the importance of protecting our skin from the harsh sun. 

If you could change anything about the beauty industry, what would that be? I really love the beauty industry, but I’d love to see more innovation and less copycatting.