It’s no surprise that dry and curly hair can be quite a handful to manage. Because of its kinks, even a simple comb through can be a downright chore. “Back in school, everyone around me had straight hair. I was ridiculed and bullied for having Afro-like curls. And so I grew up believing that my hair was weird,” shared Poobalan Govindaraju.

In pursuit of a perfect coif, the 25-year-old freelance personal trainer visited both ends of the spectrum. He first tried rebonding his hair to mimic celebrity football stars, but later found comfort in embracing his curls and even growing it out into a full Afro. He has since settled on a style that he prefers, but is open to experimenting with other options – with the right stylist.

“It’s annoying when stylists display that split second of hesitation when they see my hair. That’s why I resorted to go for basic and simple cuts. If I could choose, I’d prefer to have shinier and less frizzy hair, but there’s little I can do since I’m constantly out and about, helping my clients train. I know that applying products can improve how my hair looks, but they make my eyes sting when I perspire,” he laments.

The Barber Says 

From a barbress’ perspective, Ana Nguyen from Sultans of Shave admits that tight and curly hair can be quite difficult to manage because the kinks often get tangled in her comb. “I need to be extra careful not to accidentally yank on such hair, lest I damage it or cause the customer any pain,” she says.

Hair type: Wiry and frizz-prone with a tendency to get out of hand. Subject: Poobalan. Photo: Cher Him
Hair type: Wiry and frizz-prone with a tendency to get out of hand. Subject: Poobalan. Photo: Cher Him

 Making The Cut

Still, Ana thinks Poobalan can make the most of his hair type. She finds that it adds character to its wearer. “Honestly, tight curls can be fun to have, especially when cut this way. It holds its structure well and doesn’t really need much to achieve a look. All it requires is some product to enhance the curls. Nothing is off limits here, so it’s quite simple,” she adds.

Aside from that, Ana suggests maintaining the curls with leave-in conditioners when Poobalan is off duty. “You can even use oils to tame the frizz and add shine if you’re running out on a quick errand.”

Red Carpet Inspiration

The Weeknd at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons Party 2017

The Weeknd at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons Party 2017. Photo: Getty
The Weeknd at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons Party 2017. Photo: Getty

Product Picks

Barber’s Pick: Matte Pomade, Boardwalk Pomade

Original Matte Pomade, The Boardwalk. Photo: Sultans of Shave
Matte Pomade, Boardwalk Pomade. Photo: Sultans of Shave

Shiny hair is great but too much can make your locks look greasy and distasteful, especially on curls. If you’re looking for a product that imparts just a subtle shine while effectively supporting the structure of curly hair and fight frizz at the same time, try Boardwalk’s Matte Pomade.

Key Ingredients: Cocoa seed butter and tephra (volcanic ash)

Styling Tip: Simply scrunch the product into your hair
Available at Sultans of Shave for $36

Our Pick: Leave-In Conditioner, Label.M

Leave-In Conditioner, label.m. Photo: We Need A Hero
Leave-In Conditioner, label.m. Photo: We Need A Hero

Don’t neglect your curls on off days. Keep them nourished with leave-in conditioners when you can. We like this one from Label.M for its blend of botanical oils and plant proteins to strengthen and protect your hair. You can trust that it will leave your hair smoother and more manageable.

Key Ingredients: A conditioning essential oil blend and plant-derived proteins

Styling Tip: Apply to slightly damp hair so the oils can seal moisture in
Available at We Need A Hero for $40.66


Photography: Cher Him

Photographic Assistance: Zhan Hong 

Words: Syed Zulfadhli

Sittings Editor: Chia Wei Choong

Hair: Ana Nguyen/Sultans of Shave

Makeup: Eunice Wong

Special thanks to: Poobalan Govindaraju at Faces Talent Management


written by.

Syed Zulfadhli

Syed Zulfadhli knows a thing or two... thousand about skincare and grooming.

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