The door to JuRo Salon — or a version of it, anyway — swung open. I looked up, surprised to find the hairstyling power duo Jude Hipolito and Rose Velasco already standing by the door, greeting me warmly. They ushered me to a small dining table, where a light breakfast had been laid out: tea cakes, fruit, and organic coffee slow-brewing in a contraption I wouldn’t pretend to understand. The table was decorated with eye-catching accessories: a coffee mug with a curved mobius-strip handle (left-handers beware), spoons with long spiraling handles, and simple plates with only the slightest decorated touches. Music filled the air.
“So! What are we doing with your hair today?” Jude asked.
It didn’t take all this to know that Jude and Rose were not your typical hairdressers. I was about to try the JuRo Salon experience.
A Hair Philosophy
When you have experienced your fair share of disastrous haircuts, you tend to become particular about where you go.
People have often been shocked at how far I’m willing to go to find the right stylist. It’s not because I’m a snob, or because I equate expensive services with quality. I don’t care about branded salons or big-name stylists. All I want to do is find The One. The One Who Knows. The One Who Understands.
My mother does not agree with my philosophy, but hers has always been “if you can, DIY.” Once, she cut my bangs so short that she later apologized and said I was such a nice girl for not being angry with her (I must have just been in shocked silence).
Left: cut, no color, with a JuRo Salon stylist in February 2013. Right: going blonde with Ms. Rose of JuRo Salon, no cut, in June 2013.
My belief stems from a familiar pattern of disappointment, where you tell your hairstylist what you want, they nod and give every impression you’re on the same page — but then a couple hours later you emerge feeling somewhat…underwhelmed. If not downright horrified.
Some of these things you chalk up to an expensive lesson learned: no one told you that by asking for the Rachel, you were subscribing yourself to hair doom. You didn’t know that when the creative director of a recommended salon picked up razor scissors that he would make your thick, frizzy hair resemble a lion’s mane, the frizz so out of control that you would later be called out by some Malaysian hairstylist who himself resembled blond Professor Snape.
I know better next time, you say, waiting patiently for hair to grow, pinning back bangs and tucking in stubborn curls before you do it all over again.
The inevitable truth is, in most cases you are one customer of many. At best, you find someone who knows your hair and exactly how to style it. Otherwise, you find someone who knows how to layer, how to bob, how to flatter your face shape in all the technically correct ways — but they apply the same style to everyone. At worst, you are simply a widget in the assembly line, and the stylist bestows upon you the one cut they know how to do, never accounting for the nuances in hair texture, face shape, or personality.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could guarantee that your hairstyle was designed and crafted just for you?
Jude assessing what needs to be done, while Rose watches.
Over breakfast, Jude, Rose and I discussed what to do with my hair. If you read some of the recaps of others who had been invited to try JuRo, you’ll find that most girls left the decision up to them, to wonderful and diverse results.
In a more adventurous time, I would have said the same. However at the time I was invited to try their service, I was gearing up for my big move and new start as a graduate student. I was also just coming down from a year as a long-haired blond (which Rose had also done) and really enjoying a lower-maintenance style.
So, I spoke up only about the following: I wanted to maintain the current length just past my shoulders, and have wash-and-wear hair to suit my upcoming get-up-and-go life. I described the cold winds that blew hair everywhere, meaning a high-maintenance style that couldn’t accommodate movement would be destroyed in seconds. Knowing Rose’s talent for color exploration, I also requested a color that could be easily maintained, where regrowth would blend in gradually.
Jude and Rose were game.
Of course, around the time I started shooting, a huge mosquito bite decided to appear. Only during the one time I needed to photograph, of course. >.<
“Hair should be custom for everyone, a combination of technical skill and talent,” Jude said. They consider every client an individual case, where even “shoulder length layers” can translate to a hundred possibilities. All information the client volunteers is carefully considered: their work and life habits, their hair type, if there’s any severe hair damage, what aspects of their personality they want to enhance.
Now for a confession: prior to my meeting with JuRo, I was quite happy with my hair. I’d just had it darkened from brassy blonde to dark chocolate brown and it was passable for the look I desired. But “passable” is not a word that Jude and Rose believe in.
“I find it a bit bottom heavy,” Rose observed, scooping up strands from below. “What do you think, Jude?” Their process is collaborative and completely in sync — the cut and color must work together, which is why they make styling decisions together. In some cases, Rose will wait until Jude has the initial style in place before mixing her colors.
The finished look that shows off the layers
Jude went to work fixing the cut. He added uneven layers and thinned out the lower half. “Layers should be natural and uneven to mimic hair growth,” he advised. This technique results in hair that grows out wonderfully (as the pictures below will hopefully demonstrate!).
Though this wasn’t my first time at JuRo, it was my first time under Jude’s scissors. The first two cuts were with a stylist in training (an option for those who want a cut at JuRo for a more affordable rate), which I was quite happy with. But Jude, with his years of training under the Vidal Sassoon school of precision, is a different experience altogether. If he makes you stand during your cut don’t be surprised — it’s just to get a precise length.
Tackling the darker regrowth first.
While he worked, Rose took strands of hair and flipped them over, checking the color balance and tone. She noted that the top third of my head was darker than the rest of my hair because the fresh growth had been dyed the same as the lighter hair on the bottom (correct). She also noted that the highlights were too light for the dark brown base color (correct again).
To fix this, she decided on a multi-step process using a family of cool ash tones from L’Oreal’s Majirel Cool Cover and INOA brands. She highlighted and fixed the base of the darker regrowth separately, before adding highlights and lightening the base of the lower two thirds of hair. Her attention to detail is unmatched: for example, she captures every bit of flyaway hair, sometimes devoting one foil to a few baby hairs.
To some this might seem like much, but it’s comparable to fine dining: every moment is precise. Nothing is left to chance. The value of a JuRo hair session is akin to the value eating at a high-end restaurant: you pay for precision, consistency, originality, and artwork. You pay for the guarantee.
The result? A lovely medium ash brown color with sophisticated highlights, to perfectly complement Jude’s layers.
Just because, let me show you what Rose originally wanted to do with my hair before I came in with all my pesky requirements:
Ooh la la! Thank you for your faith in me, Miss Rose. I don’t know if I could do ash blonde at this moment…maybe when I’m braver and within driving distance to my stylist!
It wasn’t until Rose made her observations that I realized my regular colorist had used the same highlight shades for blonde hair as for dark brown hair. Sure, in the grand scheme of things it’s not the end of the world to have overly contrasting highlights, but for Jude and Rose such things are oversights. They are shortcuts, one-size-fits-all solutions, and — among the worst practitioners — sheer laziness.
It’s a characteristic of the industry they are determined to stamp out.
Why “Bespoke Hairstyles” are Good for the Industry
The finished result of a true JuRo experience, with a cut and color by Jude and Rose
“We’re trying to change the perception of the Philippine hair industry,” Jude said.
Jude grew up in Santa Monica, where he ran a salon for several years before returning to the Philippines. He got into the hairstyling profession in a roundabout way, after pursuing a more corporate profession with his MBA. Rose started off teaching hairstyling students how to color, until a mentor encouraged her to apply her formidable talents to actual clients.
The Philippines is an economy traditionally powered by affiliation. It’s not what you know — it’s who you know. For most hairstylists, prestige is acquired through a star client list. This is not unique to the Philippines by any means, but given the small celebrity pool, the effect is amplified.
So, who are JuRo’s celebrities?
“People ask us [all the time],” Jude said. “We say every client is a celebrity because we work on a style that suits you and only you.”
“If you asked me when I was 25, I probably would have listed all our celebrities!” Rose laughed. “But maybe it’s a sign of maturity that we don’t need to now.”
If you’re dying to know, you can check JuRo’s Instagram to see examples of nearly every client they work on. But true to their word, every client — from the new to the regular — is featured like a celebrity.
“Maybe to legitimize the industry we have to respect ourselves,” Rose added.
This means treating every client as an individual, and hairstyling as an art form. It’s a concept that goes deeper than simply creating elaborate hairstyles at edgy fashion week shows. They seem to be suggesting that when you treat your creative work as an art form — whether it be hairstyling, or writing, or designing — then you will succeed. Artistry drives everything because it’s about the process, not the outcome.
Another angle of the finished look: also I needed to break up the text a little.
As an example, Jude and Rose open themselves to new experiences and new inspiration by traveling when their schedule permits. They collect beloved items from abroad and elsewhere in the Philippines: artwork, handcrafted souvenirs, music, good food (but not as important as good coffee!).
If this makes the JuRo team sound unapproachable, on the contrary. Jude and Rose are incredibly kind and modest. They listen with genuine interest and live genuinely interesting lives. Through our discussions, I learned that:
- They are Broadway fanatics — on their last visit to London, they watched a different Broadway show 5 nights in a row!
- They are foodies who determine their favorites not by brand or chef name, but by the Hallelujah moment: “It’s got to make you go “HALLELUJAH!”
- They are most proud when their handiwork is recognized abroad, because it signals a global recognition of homegrown Filipino talent. Once, on a cruise ship, a woman asked Rose for her colorist information; Rose whipped up a custom formulation for her on the spot.
- Philanthropy is a big part of their lives. JuRo has partnered with a Japanese NGO to teach street children how to cut and style hair. Mostly to equip them with a skill and a future livelihood, but also with the hope that the children will be the next generation of innovative artists — ones who take the sideways path to finding their creative voice, away from formal schools and “cut and paste” methods.
- Three things that mean most to them: family, advocacy, art. They used to have 2 salons but cut down to 1 in order to spend more time with their kids and more personal interactions with their clients.
“It’s hard but if you work hard, if you’re sincere enough and you’re disciplined enough, you can achieve it,” Rose said while applying the finishing touches. A good philosophy for just about anything you want to put your mind to!
Loved chatting with Ms. Rose about their travels, family, work ethic, and more!
I never, ever judge a hairstyle by how it looks fresh out of the salon. Your hair always looks and feels best after a blowdry, but the proof is in how it grows out in the following months. So, here are a few pictures ranging from late September to early December, in somewhat chronological order: all unstyled and air-dried.
Brushing my hair is the least of my priorities, let alone styling it. I don’t have a hair dryer or curling iron here so wash and wear is really the only option. The most I do these days is dry shampoo for oily roots, or a shine spray to freshen up hair.
I think part of the fun of this haircut is figuring out how it’s going to settle. It does something different every time, and the loose waves totally fit my personality (sleek and polished I am not!). My hair kind of does what it wants, and I’m more than happy to keep letting that happen.
Shortly after this Jude had to rush over to the main salon to meet with another client, leaving Ms. Rose and I with girl time (and more coloring)
I absolutely love what Jude and Rose have done with my hair. Even my boyfriend, who wailed like a drama queen when I told him I was cutting my hair, admitted that it was a nice haircut. (It’s more than nice, but I’ll take what I can get!)
I really enjoyed this session with the JuRo team, and not just because I came away with an awesome haircut that would rival any of London’s best. Understanding Jude and Rose’s philosophy and mission, and getting to know them personally made me appreciate all the hard work they put into their business and craft. Not to mention finding time for philanthropic work while juggling a growing client list and family! You couldn’t find nicer, more talented people who only want to see Philippine hairstylists take the global industry by storm.
Of course, as alluded to above, the JuRo experience requires a dedicated investment in your hair. To my knowledge, Jude’s cuts begin at P6,500 and the price of color varies depending on what you get. You can also opt to book with a stylist who will no doubt have benefited from Jude and Rose’s expertise. But if you have the means, do spoil yourself this season with perfect holiday hair that you can take into the new year!
For more information about JuRo Salon Exclusif, please visit their website, Twitter, or Instagram (where they are most active). Bookings strongly recommended (they are only in the salon when they have appointments, so do book one in advance!).
Kensington Place, Unit #2D, 1st Avenue corner 29th Street
10 AM to 8 PM daily, by Appointment Only
(02) 822 5673
+63 999 767 9073
I was invited to experience the services of JuRo Salon. Other than the services outlined, I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.