L ast week, professional makeup artist KF Bong shared his story with us. Today, Emmagem talks to yet another expert in the beauty industry. Meet hair maestro Klement Ang. Charming, affable and completely down-to-earth, Klement (or fondly known as Ah Boy to industry friends) is more than your average neighbourhood hairstylist. By day, he’s the founder of Taurus Salon, a chic yet cosy salon at Solaris Mont Kiara. But chances are, you might have also seen his work in most of the big magazines in Malaysia.
How long have you been a professional hairstylist?
This would be my 15th year – has it really been that long? (laughs)
Have you always wanted to be a hairstylist?
Actually, when I was a boy, my ambition was to be an electrical engineer. I grew up in Klang, and there was a huge electrical factory near my house. At that time, I expected to end up working there.
It’s a good thing that fate had other plans for you. How did you make the jump into this industry instead?
I’d always liked dressing up. When the time came for me to decide what to do after graduating from high school, I had two choices – to become a beautician or a hairstylist. I signed up for a hairstyling course at Thomas & Guys (it was probably the only academy in Malaysia back in the days!), and as they say, the rest is history.
Has work always been this smooth-sailing?
I started out as a shampoo boy after graduating from Thomas & Guys. After that I apprenticed at (now defunct) Orange Heads Salon. I was only allowed to cut hair after three years! In 2009, after the salon closed down, I decided to open my own salon, and here we are. It’s been a long journey…
Pros of being a hairstylist…
I get to experience new places (some shoots take place at interesting, exotic destinations). Sometimes, you also get to travel to other countries to watch hair shows and discover trends months before they’re released to the public eye. Since I manage my own salon, my timetable is also very flexible.
Cons of being a hairstylist…
Hours can be long and unpredictable, especially if I’m working on photoshoots for magazines or commercials. My off-days are different from other people – the salon is always busiest during weekends and public holidays. Sometimes I also need to accommodate last-minute jobs with unreasonable requests, like sourcing for an elaborate hairpiece for a shoot at 6am the next day!
Tell us something people don’t know about you.
I’m a true-blue drama addict! I love watching TVB dramas from Hong Kong and Taiwanese variety shows. And I absolutely love eating bread and pan mee (handmade flat noodles) – I’m not much of a rice person, actually.
What’s your advice for budding hairstylists in the industry?
There are no shortcuts in life – Experience is the most valuable thing you can have. Many youngsters think that becoming a successful hairstylist is as easy as paying for a course and opening their own salon, which is easier said than done.
Become an apprentice in a good salon – Learn the tricks of the trade from great hairstylists, who can teach you more than you could ever learn in a school. Of course, you’ll have to start from the bottom, but it’s a great way to gain experience.
Practice a humble attitude – Young kids nowadays give up too easily. You have to realize that in the hairstyling business, you have to learn to be ready with a smile for the people you work with. Good attitude is very, very important!
Know your customers well – If you work in a salon, don’t impose your creative ideas upon the customers. Get to know them well before deciding what style works best for them. Find out what they do for a living, how they dress, and how they act.
Tips from a pro
Klement shares his expertise on faux pas, trends and more.
On common mistakes women make
1) Trying to cover grey hairs with vivid colours
“Truth is, most fashion colours (like the bright, trendy ones) don’t provide good grey coverage. You’re better off opting for subtle highlights in a lighter shade, which camouflage greys and whites better.”
2) Expecting your hairstyle to look exactly like the ones you see in magazines
“It takes hours to create that polished look you see on celebrities in glossy magazines. There’s just no such thing as a quick blowdry that’s red-carpet friendly.”
3) Over-bleaching your hair
“Frequent bleaching makes your hair dry, frizzy and brittle. Dip-dyeing is a perfect example – in order to get fuchsia or lavender-coloured locks, your hair has to be bleached. Three weeks later, the colour’s faded and you’re left with horrible hair in a horrible shade.”
On what’s going to be ‘in’ next season
“Bobs will always be popular. I forsee blunt-ended cuts, and shapes that don’t look too rigid.”
“Hair colour is going towards ashy tones, with hints of grey and green. They’re very flattering on yellowish Asian skintones!”
“Instead of chunky dip-dyes, colour gradation is a more wearable and practical alternative. Try strands of deep violet – there’s no need for bleaching, and it goes incredibly well with your black hair!”
(all images courtesy of Klement)