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Christmas blues in this exclusive BGC salon

By MARBBIE TAGABUCBA, The Philippine Star Published Dec 17, 2020 4:00 pm

We’ve all got the blues, to some extent. Christmas just doesn’t feel the same this year. But inside JuRo Salon Exclusif in BGC, sitting on master haircutter Jude Hipolito and master colorist Rose Velasco’s hydraulic chairs, blue is the holiday hair color that’s making clients smile.

The endlessly flattering French balayage brondes with precision cuts are still very popular, but like a soothing balm for these trying times, the more whimsical are loving shades along the lines of Classic Blue, this year’s Pantone Color. According to Pantone, the color instills “calm, confidence and connection.”

Actor/director Paulo Avelino trades his leading man ‘do with a custom shade, accentuated with technically precise, crisscrossing textured layers on top with scissors-over-comb sides and back with clipper-trimmed edges.

Another JuRo regular brought a photo of the Sulu Sea in Amanpulo as her peg. Rose brought the sea to her hair with painterly gradations of seafoam green and teal in seven hours, while Jude’s precision layers give it movement as smooth as waves.

 JuRo Salon Exclusif’s Jude Hipolito and Rose Velasco start a busy day with a cup of good coffee in their private BGC studio.

“Pandemic hair — which is easy to grow out, conservative, both in cuts and color — is what we were expecting,” comments Jude. “But a lot of clients were requesting creative hair both in cuts and color.”

We only live once. It’s been a difficult year — why not have some fun?

The bob is going strong for women, but much shorter than before. Some like it asymmetric, even with an undercut. Some like it blunt and square, while some play it up with some texture.

On the flip side are women who grew out their hair over the past few months, and they’re enjoying the length for a little longer, adding movement, warmth and lustrousness to their locks, going from as subtle as balayage in dark chocolate, to as bold as Christmas red via Rose’s “foilayage” techniques.

Men who resisted the DIY hair-clipping trend during the first months of the lockdown have grown out their hair and have taken a liking to it, asking Jude to keep it long.

Frontliners, some of whom have their hair cooped up in PPE all day and subject their hair to constant wash and wear for disinfection, come in with fried, dry hair that’s in desperate need of hair and scalp treatments.

 Jude cutting Japanese NGO Action’s founder Hajime Yokota hair in June as featured in NHK Japan

There are no signs of Illuminating, the bright and cheerful yellow that’s one of two Pantone Colors of the Year for 2021.

But there is lots of Ultimate Gray, the other Pantone Color of 2021, as more men and women embrace going gray gracefully. The silver fox look is a rebellious, daring proposition in the face of being conditioned to hold on to our youth for as long as we can, but it can be flattering and easy to manage with the right cut and treatment.

“‘I feel normal again.’ That’s what our clients always say after every appointment,” says Jude. “Getting their hair done is not only because they want to look good but to get a sense of normalcy.”

I come in with all my holiday blues. I think, like a lot of people, I’ve been feeling lost, dealing with impostor syndrome during the big shakeup that was this year, and it shows in my overgrown, hip-length pandemic hair. I’ve been going to JuRo since I got my first paycheck, and have stuck with them through many different phases of my life. By giving me my best hair every time, I feel confident again when I look at myself in the mirror.

I know that three generations of regulars can also relate. Some fly in from all over the world for an appointment. These days, the ride to BGC feels like a big adventure; but inside the salon, I feel safe. I observe that they’ve been doing things right all along. The ventilation has always been great. They’ve always disinfected tools and equipment, but now, even more so, on top of observing all the protocols for everyone’s safety. Other long-time clients, including myself, don’t come in until we’ve already tested negative for COVID.

The other blue I’m seeing in the salon is the mild UV light being emitted from different corners of the salon to keep the space disinfected. JuRo now operates at only 30 percent capacity, less than the 75 percent imposed by government regulations — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

They’ve always kept operations small, focused and exclusive. Jude and Rose are considered the country’s most expensive hair stylists since opening in the early 2000s. They personally work on every client. The highly personalized result — even the eventual fadeout and growing out — is all worth it. It’s wise to avoid going out as much as possible, so the artistry and attention to detail that goes into styling every head of hair means clients don’t need to come in for retouches as often because your hair just looks good for a very long time.

While waiting for my hair treatment to soak in, I caught up with Jude. They’ve also started accepting home service appointments for long-time clients who have households of elderly and children who are still too vulnerable to step out.

How was it? “I love it because they’re more praning!” shares Jude. “When you go in there, they have all this paraphernalia outside the house. May booties pa. I feel safe.”

We talk about the physical manifestations of anxiety, overcoming it with care, and gathering the strength to be a light to others when we can. Jude reshaped my very long hair, while the salon girls infused treatments into my knotty hair using their high-tech HiSpray, Nano Steam and Frozen Surface machines. My hair feels much lighter and silky smooth.

As the afternoon sun streams through the spick-and-span salon, I’m reminded of a sense of community, in person, even when I can’t see the smiles behind the face masks. The blues have been snipped away.

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JuRo Salon Exclusif is at Unit 2D, Kensington Building, 1st Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. Contact (0998) 568 2010 to set an appointment.

Banner caption: The blues are uplifting and funky at JuRo Salon Exclusif, as seen on actor Paulo Avelino (left) and JuRo regulars.