FROM LIMP, FLAT HAIR TO K-POP WORTHY CURLS

Esther Chew, 22, library officer

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Esther has a high forehead, which she balances out with side-swept bangs. But her fine hair makes her fringe fall flat. To create more volume and texture in Esther’s mane, Elaine Tham, senior stylist at Air Salon, applied a sea salt spray and used her fingers to push Esther’s hair

upwards while blow-drying. To make the overall effect more feminine, Elaine used a one-inch curling iron to create loose curls in the bottom half of Esther’s tresses, before setting the style with hairspray.

EXPERT TIP FOR FINE HAIR

“Changing your parting frequently can help to create the illusion of more volume at the crown,” says Elaine.

FROM A THICK, STRAIGHT MANE TO COCKTAIL WAVES

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Gwen Lee, 27, PR executive

Gwen has a thick, gorgeous mane that unfortunately can’t hold curls. “I had a perm only a month ago, and my hair is already straight,” she says. Sham Adam, senior stylist at Salon Vim, says that this might have been caused by her thick hair weighing down the curls. To give Gwen the chic curls that she wants, Sham used a large barrelled curling iron to add volume at the crown and create rounded curls on the bottom half of her hair. For a simpler way for Gwen to get curly locks, Sham suggests spraying a texturising spray on clean damp hair at night, before braiding it into pigtails – this will create effortless-looking corkscrew curls. The texturising spray will help hold the curls, so when she unties the braids the next morning, the curls will last all day.

EXPERT TIP FOR WAVY TRESSES

For thick and heavy manes, Sham recommends applying a medium-hold styling mousse before curling, and spritzing on strong-hold hairspray to set the look.

FROM LOOSE WAVES TO A PARTY-READY SIDE-SWEPT ’DO

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Fera Rosihan, 26, regional marketing manager

Fera has naturally wavy hair that she usually straightens with a flat iron every morning or pulls into a topknot for a neater appearance. Fera wanted a fun party style that works for her natural hair texture, so, Elaine gave Fera large curls before pulling her hair to one side and pinning it at the nape. She then used her fingers to loosen the curls for a softer, tousled effect.

EXPERT TIP FOR WAVY TRESSES

To create defined waves, Elaine recommends applying a light curl cream on towel-dried hair before blow-drying. “Use your fingers to lift your hair as you blow-dry, as this adds texture and volume at the crown.”

FROM A LIMP MANE TO SLEEK, STRAIGHT HAIR

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Hana Cheong, 41, teacher

Hana’s scalp is quite oily, which makes her mane look limp shortly after every shampoo. As she’s quite sporty and athletic, Sham suggested a sleek, straight style to make her look more glamorous. After applying a 10-cent-coin-sized amount of hair serum on Hana’s blow-dried tresses, Sham used a flat-iron to smooth the top layers. He tucked her hair behind one ear, pinned it at the back, and then brushed the other side forward for an asymmetrical style. To prevent her tresses from looking too flat, he sprinkled volumising powder on the roots of her hair and scrunched them up slightly with his fingers.

EXPERT TIP FOR AN OILY SCALP

Sham recommends alternating a purifying shampoo with your regular shampoo to degrease your scalp and prevent flaking.

FROM UNRULY CURLS TO CASUAL LOOSE WAVES

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Shaza Begum, 25, teacher

Shaza is a physical education teacher who spends most of her workdays outdoors. She keeps her naturally curly locks under control by fl at-ironing them every morning. She does this so often that even her close friends think that she has a naturally straight mane.

With a full head of gorgeous ringlets, Shaza wanted to embrace her natural hair texture. To show her how easy it is to tame her locks without straightening them, Jimmy Yap, senior stylist at Kenaris Salon, first used a paddle brush to blow-dry Shaza’s hair. Next, he used a large-barrelled curling iron to give Shaza glamorous waves, before running his fingers through the waves to loosen them and make them look less “done”. For days when Shaza has no time to curl her locks, Jimmy suggests applying a curl cream on damp hair before sectioning it into large coils and blow-drying them – this helps to form neater curls.

EXPERT TIP FOR CURLY LOCKS

Jimmy recommends using a smoothing shampoo and conditioner – these help to tame frizz. Also, he stresses, never use a brush on curly hair (with the exception of paddle brushes, which help to straighten locks when blow-drying). “Instead, use your fingers to detangle and define. Using a brush increases static and frizz,” he says.

FROM AN UNEXCITING BOB TO A CHIC, ANGULAR STYLE

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Rosalind Lee, 41, sales manager

As someone who’s low maintenance, Rosalind wears her hair in a short bob with straight-across bangs, which she trims every six weeks. The style is functional but unexciting, so Rosalind wanted to learn how to make it look dressier for evening functions. Jimmy suggested a sleeker version of her regular style paired with side-swept bangs, which look more chic and are easier to manage. He started by spraying her crown area with sea salt spray, to add texture and provide light hold. Then, he blow-dried her tresses with a small paddle brush, and used a serum to add shine.

EXPERT TIP FOR BLUNT HAIRCUTS

A blowout will bring out the sharp angles of your cut and make it look more polished.

FROM A FLAT BOB TO A TEXTURED, ROCKER-CHIC ONE

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Gracie Lin, 32, banker

Gracie has extra-fine hair, which is why she’s opted for a chin-length bob that doesn’t weigh her tresses down as much as a long ’do would. In fact, she’s so fond of this cut that she hasn’t changed it for over a decade. Chikuma Koyama, international director stylist at Shunji Matsuo Hair Studio wanted to give Gracie the option of a sexier look that makes her locks look thick and lustrous. He started by misting a volumising spray on her roots, before blow-drying her hair on a high heat setting. He then used a small round-barrelled brush to create loose waves on the bottom half of her mane before misting it with spray wax and using his fingers to create texture. Humid weather causes fine strands to become limp quickly, so he recommends dusting volumising powder at the roots periodically, and using fingers to scrunch up hair at the roots.

EXPERT TIP FOR FINE TRESSES

According to Chikuma, heavy products should never be used on fine tresses – they cause your mane to lie fl at against the head or look greasy.

FROM A ONE-LENGTH MANE TO EDGY WAVES

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Nicole Lin, 24, project manager

Nicole’s one-length hairstyle doesn’t stand out, but she’s been reluctant to change it because it’s such a neat and simple-to-maintain style. Chikuma suggested that Nicole try quick and easy waves to add some character to her tresses. To achieve this look, he divided her mane into six sections and curled the bottom half of each section with a curling iron. Since C-shaped waves can look too sweet and girlie, he added an element of grunge with spray wax. After using a light spray wax to set the waves, he mussed up her tresses with his fingers to make the style look messier and less perfect.

EXPERT TIP FOR ONE LENGTH MANES

“When curling the hair near your face, hold the iron towards your face at a 45-degree angle. For the next section of hair, hold the iron at a 45-degree angle away from your face. Keep alternating the direction of the iron as you work your way to the back of your head. This creates volume and looks more natural,” says Chikuma.

This story was first published in Her World magazine, December 2014 issue.