Hi! I am Agent IC, a fresh graduate from NTU.
After spending some time searching for jobs, I finally heard back from some prospective employers. The pay may not be as high as what the news seems to suggest for fresh grads :P but I'm grateful for the chance to learn and grow in my upcoming role.
I did a lot of things to prepare for this new phase of life ie. buy some working clothes and all. But there is one person I know I absolutely have to see before my first day of work... and the person is Zen from Mane Made, my hairstylist.
Friends close to me know that I'm actually pretty fussy about hair. I may not say much but I actually care about how little differences in length and style will affect how I look on the whole. My expectations have however been let down time and time again, whether you're talking about stylists from neighbourhood salons or even stylists from big salon chains. I've tried many many salons but found the stylists often too commercialised. It is obvious that they are trying to earn money from me but are unwilling to take the extra effort to give a perfect haircut.
The first salon that made me feel otherwise is Mane Made. I came across Mane Made last year and decided to give it a try. Man, the experience was just so different. There is only one stylist at the salon, Zen. His wife sometimes assists in hair wash and other peripheral processes but in general, everything important was done by Zen. He doesn't just start the hair experience by cutting the hair immediately; he takes the effort to talk me through and understand what I want before beginning the cut. The haircut itself takes a longer time than usual but it's all worth it as the final result turns out to be a lot more precise than what I usually get. He also takes the time to share some hairstyling tips and show me how I can style my hair in different ways.
Zen is the first hairstylist who made me feel confident enough to entrust my hair to and I'm glad I did.
Although he can be kind of "lame" at times, he never fails to satisfy me with great haircuts that last for a long time.
Since I'm starting my new phase in life, he is also among the first people I know I must see before starting my new job!
This is how my hair looks like now.
It may look OK from the front
but can look a bit unkempt especially from the side.
I need it to be shorter and neater!
After all, it is going to be my first day of work and I hope I can look sharp and confident especially on the first day.
I made an appointment on a weekday afternoon.
Read on to find out how my experience went!
The salon is located in The Midtown, which is within walking distance of Hougang MRT and behind Hougang Mall.
It's a little hard to find but manageable with Google Maps. The place is filled with salons and tuition centres and all but still looks pretty decent.
The salon itself is very small. It only has three seats and not a lot of space but Zen managed to make it feel like each customer has quite a lot of personal space somehow.
When I first saw Zen, I was honestly a little apprehensive.
He looks a little bit juai (act cool).
As soon as he warms up to you and opens his mouth, you'll realize how lame he really is.
It seems as if his head contains only two things: hairdressing skills and lame jokes.
If he feels like you need a pick-me-up, he will say a super lame joke that will definitely make you pengz.
Jokes aside, Zen is very serious during the consultation and tries to explain in detail what he is going to do at each step and what he expects to see at the end.
No surprises there!
Before he embarks on the haircut, Zen's assistant gives me a good hair wash.
I enjoy this very much because she takes the effort to give a thorough massage at every wash even though it takes at least 5-10 minutes!
Zen starts the haircut by sectioning my hair carefully
before snipping away with his comb and scissors.
He doesn't just use scissors though.
Zen mentions that the clipper allows him to achieve a more even gradation.
After about 20-30 minutes, my hair is almost done.
He doesn't just stop there though.
He takes the effort to show me how to style.
If I want to look like a good employee (good boy type), I can leave my fringe down like this and only style the sides.
If I want something sharper and more stylish, I can style the top.
It's okay if it's not clear. We have some more photos later on.
But just a quick reminder of how I looked before:
And now after:
I personally feel that I look a lot more alert after the haircut. Styling is a breeze as well, even at home!
My experiences with Zen are usually more than great and this time was no different.
He may take a little longer than the usual stylist but I really like how he goes in depth with the consultation, how he executes the haircut and how he bothers to check how I feel about his previous haircut each time.
This eventually results in haircuts that just clicks with me because they are so easy to style and looks good enough for me.
I have yet to encounter a hairstylist as meticulous as him and therefore would DEFINITELY recommend him for those of you who have high expectations for your hair!