updated 17 Dec 2013, 09:42
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Sun, Sep 08, 2013
Urban, The Straits Times
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S'pore's top hairstylists' pet peeves about women's locks
by Gladys Chung and Leslie Lay Lim

Mr Eugene Ong, Urbanhair

Mr Eugene Ong, the 55-year-old owner of the Urbanhair salons at Seviin at Tangs Orchard and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, wishes local women would stop stepping out of their house with dripping wet hair.

"It does not matter if you are wearing designer shoes or carrying an expensive bag; you look unkempt if you have hair that's so wet that even your blouse is damp," he says.

Mr Ong earned his advanced diplomas from the renowned Jingles Hair Academy and Alan International Hairdressing School in London in the early 1980s.

He stayed on in Britain as a hairdresser for seven years before returning to Singapore in 1989, when he opened a 700 sq ft salon at Midpoint Orchard. In 2006, he moved to The Heeren and stayed there for 16 years until the building underwent renovation last year. Mr Ong then moved the salon to Seviin, the beauty and wellness floor in Tangs Orchard. In 2010, he opened his second outlet at The Shoppes.

Over the years, Mr Ong has styled the hair of celebrities such as Michelle Yeoh, Joan Chen and Christy Chung. He currently grooms the locks of local actors Edmund Chen and his wife Xiang Yun, and news anchor Tung Soo Hua.

He also mentors hairdressing students at the Institute of Technical Education in Simei.

Who cuts your hair?

Any one of my staff. I give everyone a chance and they are all capable enough. My hair will grow anyway and I just need a simple hairstyle. I let them decide how they want to cut my hair. If I don't like it, I'll just ask them to cut it again.

What are some of your hair concerns?

My hair is thinning, so I make sure that I use the right shampoo - Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo ($45) - and a hair tonic to nourish my scalp for stronger hair.

What does your haircare regimen entail?

I trim my hair once every six weeks. And I massage Aveda's Invati Scalp Revitaliser tonic ($106) into my scalp every night to nourish the scalp and prevent hair loss. I press on pressure points and pinch my scalp to improve the blood circulation in the area.

I also do a detoxing hair spa treatment ($168 for 45 minutes) at my salon once a month to deep cleanse my scalp and clear clogged pores.

What is your favourite hair product and why?

The Aveda Sun Care Hair and Body Cleanser ($43, from Tangs Beauty). It is superb because it gets rid of the chlorine from regular and swimming pool water, as well as build-up from hairstyling products. It contains babasu, aloe vera, camellia, sunflower seed and coconut oils and leaves the skin really smooth. I like its citrusy smell too.

What do you think is the best beauty invention when it comes to hair?

A round boar-bristle hair brush. Use it to brush your hair 100 times and it will look shinier and bouncier, and feel silkier because the bristles will smooth and seal the hair cuticles.

My current favourite is the one by Italian brand Acca Kappa (from $60, from Urbanhair). Acca Kappa is the official hairbrush supplier to the British royal family.

What is the one thing you wish local women would do when it comes to their hair?

I wish they would blow-dry their hair before tying it up into a ponytail; if not, it just looks like a bundle of straw.

And they should make a good hairstylist their best friend because he or she can make them look their best.

What is the most ridiculous thing you ever did to your hair?

I've had my hair dyed in every colour possible, including shocking pink and peacock blue, when I was younger. I even had an afro. I last had a crazy hairstyle when I was in my 20s. When you are young, you can be outrageous. You can look back at those fun times when you are older.

What is the best haircare advice you have received?

Tie a 100 per cent silk scarf around your pillow and sleep on it. The next morning, you'll wake up with smoother and shinier hair.

Regular pillowcases can create friction and damage your hair cuticles. And the best way to treat dry hair ends is to rub in some pure essential oils - whenever it feels dry - which will penetrate deeper than any haircare product.

~ Gladys Chung

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