Can Primark's Duck & Dry Xpress boss the £17 blow dry?

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Posted by Laurel on Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

Over the last couple of years blow dry bars have become the luxe beauty saviour we never knew we needed; we've turned from a nation of home hairdressers to bouffanted babes.

The original Duck & Dry arrived in Chelsea in 2014 and has since opened three more of its luxury blow dry and updo bars in Soho, Oxford Circus and Spitalfields, so when the news spread of a new partnership with Primark offering a menu of speedy services at purse-friendly prices, compared to £35 a blow dry at one of their original salons, I have to admit I was excited to discover more...

Duck & Dry Xpress has set up home on the ground floor of Tottenham Court Road's Primark, a bright, airy space in the beauty department comprising the hair salon, Duck & Pluck for brows & lashes and Duck & File for nails. You can't fault the prices (brow services start at £5, nails from £10 and hair dos from £13 for a braid and £17 for a style), but is the service up to scratch?

Having visited both the Chelsea and Oxford Circus branches of Duck & Dry several times in the past I had high hopes for my visit, though was pretty confused to discover on arrival - with two day old, greasy hair I might add - that despite the website offering a 'Signature Wash & Style' I was informed there was no backwash, no spray and that all styling was done from dry hair. I'm not going to lie, given I had a headshot booked in for immediately after the appointment I felt pretty let down, not to mention misled that it's clearly being marketed as a 'blow dry' bar when there's no washing to be done.

My stylist was lovely and chatty, recommending a wavy tonged style as one that would suit my colour, and the job was done in around ten minutes with a spritz of hairspray to finish, though despite her best efforts, given the aforementioned state of it my hair still felt a little flat and a bit limp. Duck & Dry's products are used alongside Primark's own brand, though it's interesting they've plumped for the former's £16 hairspray, but Primark's £2 dry shampoo. Despite my greasy locks I wasn't offered a spritz of that one.

You can't fault their speed and the demeanor of the staff - they were absolutely joyful. If you're in need of a swift party pimp up post-work or a fun braid for a festival weekend it's a great option if you don't want to fork out for the privilege. I did however feel that the luxury name of Duck & Dry didn't quite translate into a lower-priced product; I know retailers have to stay ahead of competitors in terms of upping the retailer experience and beauty services are a great way to do that, but tis is one partnership I'm not sure I'm convinced by yet, though obviously I can't comment on the nail or brow services.

The fact that there's no washing involved is definitely something to note; don't make the mistake of walking in with two day old greasy hair expect to come out with a fresh bouncy barnet, because you'll leave disappointed. For now I'll be sticking with the original Duck & Dry; a bouncy blow dry accompanied by a glass of fizz is much more me.>

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Your one stop for all things fashion and beauty in London. The latest trends, the latest retail openings, celebrity fashion faux pas and more.

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