We go to salons because we want to feel different. Whether it’s a simple trim or dramatic color transformation, nothing can help a person feel confident and ready for anything like a day at the hair salon.
I walked into HUE Salons on Marketplace Drive looking for change and expecting palpable transformation. I not only got just that, but I received the kind of immersive beauty experience that I don’t just crave, but one that I feel is often missing in typical hair and beauty settings.
Welcome to HUE Salons, an immersive, full-service hair and beauty salon spearheaded by Blake Dufault, a seasoned stylist that hopes to change the structure of traditional salons and how we experience even the simplest of beauty services.
HUE Salons offers professional hair and beauty treatments, using exclusively Paul Mitchell and CAO Cosmetics products. With an extensive color bar and a team of young, creative stylists and makeup artists, HUE offers looks that not only make you feel beautiful, but will bring out a side of you that you never knew you had.
Originally from Rochester, Blake always knew that he wanted to be a stylist. He earned his chops at the Paul Mitchell Hair School in Orlando Florida, where he worked and excelled in his craft. Upon graduation, he even had the opportunity to assist the school’s owner, Giulio Veglio, in opening a Paul Mitchell franchise, Lunatic Fringe Salon.
Soon after graduation, Blake returned to Rochester. Upon returning, he worked in premier salons, attending numerous workshops as a continuation of his craft. But as Blake continued to gain expertise and experience, he began dreaming of opening a salon of his own. And with the help of his girlfriend, Amanda Sparrin, HUE Salons came to life, with the mission of changing the way we think about our hair experience.
One of the pillars of HUE Salon’s mission and beliefs is to give back to the Rochester community. Every Sunday, the stylists volunteer their time to give haircuts to those in need. In addition, the salon is the very first adaptive salon in Rochester, meaning that it accommodates to individuals with a range of special needs and abilities.
Another unique facet of HUE is its payment structure. The color and cuts are extremely affordable, and are also offered on a subscription basis. On a range of tiers, subscribers can receive unlimited cuts, colors, waxes, and other premier services from HUE.
Before my time with HUE, I was experiencing what I would like to call a hair lull. Typically, I’m someone who likes to experiment with her hair and overall look. After all, life is short, youth is fleeting, and if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that hair always grows back – well, mine does at least.
But after a year of varying shades of blonde, pastels, and dramatic haircuts, I let my hair take its natural course. It looked fine — I’m lucky to have loose natural waves that although stubborn at times, seem to look alright after a night of tossing and turning.
The day of my makeover, I was anticipating a major job interview that very afternoon. I was nervous and had no idea what to expect, and after meeting Blake, my colorist, Joey, and Christina, my makeup artist, I learned they wanted to go bold, go red. This terrified me. The truth is, the last time I had red hair was because of a fluke box-dye accident my freshman year of high school. Needless to say, it did not go as I wanted it to and I never thought that I would want red hair again.
All the same, I decided to trust Blake and his team. I took a deep breath, said yes, and let them work their magic. After carefully applying the bleach required to lift my color to the level needed to achieve a shocking red, I was led into the washroom, a relaxing environment clad with comfortable wash chairs and soothing scents and sounds. While there, Christina waxed and shaped my brows, preserving the thick yet cherished shape my Italian heritage endowed me with. Christina told me she had been waxing for over a decade and from start to finish her experience shone through.
Through every step of the way, Blake and his team made sure I was happy comfortable and at ease both, physically and with the process itself. HUE isn’t just a place to get a haircut: it’s where you go to forget the rest of the world and experience some much-needed relaxation.
The salon, designed by Wadsworth design team, is meticulously crafted to immerse clients and stylists alike into HUE’s world and state of mind. With clean, white, simplistic design elements, I felt relaxed in the sophisticated environment as my style and makeup team gently poked and prodded at my hair and face.
And then there’s the haircut. I’ve tried it all, but Blake decided to push my limits, suggesting an asymmetrical cut. Again, I sucked my cheeks, held my breath, and decided to go for it. Using a razoring technique, he worked quickly and expertly, quite literally transforming my once-brown overgrown bob into a fiery, cutting-edge do.
And the results? To be honest, when I looked in the mirror, I almost didn’t recognize myself. But I mean that in a good way. I didn’t go to HUE to maintain a cut (something they can certainly do). I wanted to feel different, emboldened. And rest assured, with my electrifying red hair and smoldering lip, I felt ready for anything.