"It might be something new to them, but it's definitely not new to me," said Mosley, who is black.

Yosayda Santiago, 33, owner of Latino American Beauty Salon By Jossy on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, has been doing blow-outs in Baltimore for the past decade.

"When I first moved to Baltimore, there was no place here," said Santiago, who came to the area 10 years ago from Puerto Rico. "There was only one salon, and I was working in it. Then I opened my own."

Since then, nearly a dozen Dominican hair salons have opened in Baltimore. Santiago said she had not heard about the new crop of salons purporting to be the region's first to specialize in fast, inexpensive blow-outs. In addition to Haute Blow Dry Bar's two locations, there's also Hot Air Dry Bar, which opened last spring in Owings Mills.

"Maybe they don't know [about us]," Santiago said, adding that she doesn't view the dry bars as "new" to Baltimore. "It is not true."

Joy Singer and co-owner Kate Taylor opened Hot Air after being inspired by a similar-concept salon in Montecito, Calif.

"We went in and had wine. We walked out 45 minutes later with fabulous hair," said Singer. Later, "We were throwing around the idea of doing this in Baltimore. We couldn't let it rest. We had to do it. There weren't any in Maryland."

Singer, who is white, said she was unaware of Dominican salons when formulating the idea for hers.

"I haven't looked into their salons," she said. "I'm not an expert on Dominican salons."

In practice, Frederick said, there are differences between blow-dry bars and Dominican salons. She said that, according to her stylists, the extreme heat Dominican stylists use to loosen the tighter-curled strands of black women can damage finer hair.

Frederick also said the social aspect of blow-dry bars — birthday parties, champagne sipping and movie-watching — sets them apart from Dominican salons.

"Particularly what is being missed by the Dominican salon is that blow dry bars are very social. You can come in and hang with your friends. It is a big social element," she said. "I know that the Dominican [salons] are social, but it is in and out. We add a lot of fun to it."

At Santiago's salon, a flat-screen television plays a Spanish-language station. Stylists are laughing with customers. That's typical, according to the owner.

"My customers are my family," she said. "We play. We talk about everything. It's friendly."

But not everyone is familiar with the Dominican salons, and it is these clients who are frequenting the new blow-dry bars.

Margi Palmer, a white Monkton resident, started getting hair blow-outs in April. She said she has never heard about Dominican salons, which are often recommended by word of mouth.

"I've never seen one in Towson," said Palmer, who gets the process done every other week. "And I'm up to date. I do look at fashion stuff. I've never seen them advertise."

But Palmer said she would be willing to try a Dominican salon. "If it was convenient, and I could park, and if it was in a good location, I would go," she said. "I like to meet new people. And I bet they would do a fabulous job on my hair."

Pearce and her twin, Pearce Reardon, also said they had never heard of Dominican salons.

"I get caught up in my own bubble," said Pearce, who is white and Mexican. "I'll have to check them out."

The divide also works in the opposite direction. As with most Dominican salons, most of Santiago's customers are black.

"Once in a while, we do have a couple white customers," said Santiago, who said white women are more than welcome in her salon.

Since their hair is generally finer than black women, she said, it would take her less time to complete the styling and blow-drying.

Singer said that her salon differs from Dominican salons because hers caters to "all hair types." She estimates that 10 percent of her customers are black. Frederick says that one-fourth of her customers are black women.

Some black women said they were leery about going to a non-black hair stylist. Mosley, who has been going to Santiago's salon for the past six years, doubts she would give the blow-dry bars a chance.

"I wouldn't think that they would know how to work with my type of hair," she said. "I'm so used to going where I go. There would be no point for me to go. Maybe if they were charging a lot less I would go, but there is no way to know that they could do my hair."

Frederick hopes that black women will give her salon a shot.

"We are as inexpensive as the Dominicans," she said. Her customers "get a really great blow-out without the chemicals. … It is a business based on volume. And there are a lot of women in Maryland who want to have great-looking hair."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com