Top to Toe Essentials, Lesson 101: The Hair Makes the Man

Welcome to the first episode of my humble guide on how to fashionise and stylorise yourself. Read on for some of my opinions on how to enhance your appearance.

Why did I create this series? Being a freelance talent, appearance is the main deciding factor that determines whether or not you get selected by the agencies to do jobs. And being a perfectionist further emphasizes my need to look my best. Here are some tips on how to look your best at any time.

Of course, this guide is not meant for only the people who generally 'look good', but rather for everyone out there. I believe that everyone can enhance their appearance no matter how you look like, without going under the knife. Take it from me, all it takes is a bit of knowledge and some effort.

Still don't believe me? Well, take a look at how I used to look like during my younger days...
[I better prepare a paper bag to hide my face first]

This is me when I was in secondary school...

And this is me during my polytechnic years... 

Just looking at these pictures sends a cold shudder down my spine. I wonder how I ever survived looking like that during my younger days. No wonder no girls were ever interested in me... Haha.

And I now proudly present to you, my present-day look:

That's me after my haircut last night at D' Mane Club @ Far East Plaza Level 2
Visit their facebook page here:

So you see, throughout my short time on this planet, I have gone through several phases before I ended up with what I am today. From the toot-toot to the bengish and finally to my current smart-clean look. And who knows what type of style I would evolve to in the future?

In any case, from the photo timeline above, you would notice that there is 1 major difference between the photos that makes a drastic difference to the appearance: The hair style. And that is what today's topic is all about. 

Even during ancient times, hair played an important part in the overall appearance of man. Across many different civilizations, different hair arrangements were required for different occasions and to signify different social statuses.

In ancient Egypt, the higher your status, the more elaborate your hairstyle would be. The high and mighty would usually have braided or weaved hair, while the servants were only allowed to sport short, neat hair, and the heads of slaves would usually be clean shaven.

This tradition has seemed to be passed down through the ages as even in the early modern western cultures, lawyers and judges all wore white curly wigs. This was because in the past, the only humans who could read and write were monks. These monks were hired by the judges as clerks to record details of the cases. This was until some dispute broke out between the King and the Church (where the monks came from), and monks were forbidden from attending court. So the wig was used to hide the fact that a monk was partaking in any court proceedings.

Well, I'm assuming none of us reading this are monks, so that we have some hair on our head to play with. Depending on your style, different hairstyles suit different humans. For the humans with the smaller build, we usually are more suited to short, spunky hair that, together with our minute size, gives us the charming boyish look.

So step one of how to get a nice hairstyle, would of course be to find a good hairstylist! I know that a few humans might disagree with me on this one. Some say it doesn't matter if it is a $10 haircut or a $100 haircut, the end result is only determined by how well you can style your own hair.

I used to think this way too. Preferring to go to my local barber instead of those fancy hairdressing saloons in town. But I only saw the light after my ex-girlfriend forced me to let her hairstylist cut my hair. Previously when I had my hair done by the local barbers, the hairstyle would only be good for about 1 week. After which, my hair would start growing out in a 1001 different directions, making it manageable and almost impossible to get a good hair day. And mind you, the length of my hair was usually less 10 cm.

But most importantly, the condition of my hair went from bad to worse. I noticed that I was beginning to have more and more split ends, my hair was losing its shine and was starting to feel like wild grass every time I touched it.

But immediately after I had my first haircut by a proper hairstylist, it felt totally different on that very same night when I went back to wash my hair. The split ends were gone and my hair felt smoother than normal. That was when I made a promise to myself that no local barber would touch my hair ever again.

Each person has their own favourite hair stylist who in able to bring out the umph! in your hair. Don't feel bad about trying different stylists in different saloons until you find one that you absolutely love. For me, that would be Bay.

Having over 10 years of experience, he is the only person I trust with my hair now. He recently just opened his own saloon at Far East Plaza #02-69 called D' Mane Club. Emphasizing on service and quality instead of price competition, I know you'll definitely be a happier man after coming out of this place!

We always have a lot to talk about during my haircut sessions and seems like we just click.

Oh! And did you know the reason why your hair turns out nicer when you come to saloons as compared to barbers? It's because of the quality of the tools that they use. From the shampoos and conditioners, to the shavers and scissors used to cut your hair, everything is of top grade quality from reputable names in the hairstyling industry.  

FYI, this pair of scissors used on my head costs more than $800 and was imported direct from Japan!

Everyone knows that the reason you always look good after a haircut is not because you just got your hair cut, but because the stylist knows how to style up your hair in a way that you could never be able to achieve by yourself. Really? Well think again. Today I'm gonna show you how to achieve that same out-of-saloon look. With some practice, your hair will be good to go in under 10 minutes!

Here's how my hair looks like after my morning shower. Nothing like what it is supposed to look like.

Step 1: Blow dry with a proper Hair Dryer

Forget those $10 hairdryers you get from the utilities shop down the road. If you want everyday to be a good hair day, you'll have to invest in a proper hair dryer that is strong enough to help set your hair while drying it. And the best thing about investing in a hair dryer is that the entire family can use it!

My HairScape 5000 ($100.00 for great hair everyday is a well-worth investment)

Always use the hair dryer to blow your hair in the direction you want it to set in. So for example, I want my fringe to go from left to right, so I blow it downwards and from the left side, making sure the wind blows the hair to the right side of my forehead.

Also, always remember to keep twisting your hair dryer while blowing your hair so that the hot air is not focused on one single point on your head. This is because too much heat on your scalp will damage it.

Use your free hand to help to spread the wet hair so that it dries up faster. You can also use that hand to check whether your hair is completely dry. As long as you feel any moisture or coldness as you sift through your hair, it's a sign that it is not completely dry yet. Always try to make sure that your hair is completely dry before moving on to the next step...

Step 2: Wax It!

After your hair is completely dry, it's time to put on some wax to help it stay in shape.

Again, my advice is to invest in proper hair wax and hairspray. Yes, those you find on the shelves of Watsons and Guardian work just as well in keeping your hair in shape, but the difference is when you try to wash it off. IT JUST DOES NOT COME OFF!

I believe those of you who use the normal hair wax brands like Gatsby and L'Oreal will agree with me, that even after washing multiple times with shampoo and conditioner, your hair is still a little stiff and hard. And the longer you use these wax, the worse it gets.

Basically, I believe in the old saying "You get what you pay for". I'll take quality over price any day.

You don't need a bucket full of wax for your hair. Just a fingernail's worth is more than enough.

Spread it over both your hands, making sure to cover your fingers with the wax as well...

Continue spreading the wax until you cannot see the white (or whatever colour your wax is) from the wax and your palms are all oiled up.

Now, using both hands, start from the back of your head and push your hands towards the top of your head. Make that your fingers are leading the way and are digging into your hair so that you get wax on the bottom of your hairs and not only on the top surface.

Once your hands reach the top of your head, start spreading the wax around the top part of your head in random directions, making sure to reach for the sides as well. Don't worry about the direction of your hair at this moment. We'll get that settled later.

Repeat from the back again a couple more times to make sure the wax has been evenly spread.

Now that the back and top are covered, the next step is to spread the wax from the front of your hair. Depending on how much wax you have left on your hands, you may want to just top it up with a tiny bit more.

With your fingers pointing backward, comb your hair backwards until you reach the top of your head, then just like before, spread the wax in random directions to cover the top part of your head.

Personally I prefer to use 1 hand to do this, as I feel it creates the feel of the top part being 1 single section instead of 2 sections if you use both hands.

Step 3: Getting it in Shape

Once you have waxed up your hair, it's time to get it into the shape of your preferred hairstyle. The purpose of the wax is to help keep the overall shape of your hairstyle while you go about doing your daily chores. That's the reason why you have to make sure the wax gets on the bottom part of your hair (the parts nearer to the scalp) so that the shape will stay.

For me, I'm doing a Beckham-like Mohawk, so starting with your hands at the side of your head, slowly but firmly push both hands up, until you end up with both of them meeting at the top. With the palms touching each other, continue upward until no more hair is touching any part of your hands. Repeat a couple more times to give it that Mohawk shape.

For this style, it helps to separate clearly define the top portion and bottom portion of the hairstyle. A general tip would be to draw an imaginary line from the back of your ears to the top of your head. Anything in front of this line would be the top and should be directed forward, while anything behind the line should be directed backward. This will help to clearly define the 2 sections of your hair in this hairstyle.

I use the same method described above to get a similar shape for the back portion. The only difference is that the hands start from the side of the head and move towards the back of the head.

Now we have the shape for the top and back portions of the hairstyle. But Using the hand clasping method, the front of the Mohawk will look very sharp and defined. I prefer to have it more spread out. This can be achieved by placing both hands on your forehead, and moving them vertically upwards in a swift, wiping motion. Take note to move your hands vertically upwards and not along the shape of your head. This will make the hair in front spread out, forming a less defined Mohawk front view.

Now that we have the shape in place, it's time for...

Step 4: The finishing Touches

By now, the wax should be holding the shape of the hairstyle quite firmly in place. Now we're left with the tiny detailing to complete the look. Using your thumb and index figure, slowly grab small quantities of the hair from close to your scalp and pull away from the scalp using a 'plucking' motion. [It's a plucking motion people, don't go really plucking your hair out!]

Using a mirrior, look for any 'holes' in the hairstyle where there seem to be pockets of missing hair. Use this plucking technique to fill up these 'holes' by adjusting the hair around these 'holes'.

For the back section, use the same technique but pluck in a downward motion instead of a backward motion. This will reduce the risk of having stray tails sticking out from the back of your head.

Once you are satisfied with your hair, the last step would be to set it in place using some hair spray. While wax helps to hold the shape of the hairstyle, hair spray helps to define the details of your hairstyle, so that those individual strands of hair stay as individuals, and won't cluster up once you reach the bus stop just because a gust of wind blew past your head.

When using a hair spray, take note not to place it too near your head. The spray particles should hit the tips of your hair and not your scalp. Getting too much hair spray on your scalp damages it, so remember to keep the spray at least 15cm away from your head.

Don't be afraid to use generous amounts of hair spray to make sure that your hairstyle stays in tact for the entire day. This is where buying a good hair spray makes a difference. If you use normal hair spray, you're gonna have a hard time [literally] when trying to wash your hair at the end of the day. But invest in a good hair wax and hair spray and everything just comes off with 1 dressing of shampoo.

While spraying, adjust those out of place stray hairs by holding on to the tip of them and pulling them into position. Don't try to make any more major changes at this point or you might just end up having to start all over again!

Here's another tip. For stubborn hairs that just won't stay down even with wax and hairspray, spray some hairspray directly on your finger, then use that finger to 'stick' that stubborn hair in place.

So after all that hassle, your hair is finally ready to be shown to the world!

Here's a comparison! On the left is a pic of me after my haircut. On the right is after my 10 minute styling routine at home! [Please ignore the sleepy eyes]

And here's another version of how I style my hair on days where I wanna look nerdy...

As you can see, the hairstyle makes a big difference to match the style you are trying to pull off. Notice how the nerdy glasses add more flavour to the look? We'll cover that in the next episode... Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise...

Hope this walkthrough has been helpful to you. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions on how you style your hair or what you would like to see in future episodes!

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