Edwin Saw mastered the craft of hairdressing in London. This ambitious Malaysian boy was determined to become one of the best in the industry, so he packed his bags and headed for the UK, where he trained with some of the best and eventually became a name in his own right. He worked as artistic director for Michaeljohn Hair Salon in Mayfair, was nominated for London Hairstylist of the year for 3 years running, and worked with many of the world’s celebrities, royals and high fliers. He’s styled some very famous barnets, including Elle Macpherson, Vanessa Mae, The Duchess of Kent and Tony Blair, and his work has been featured in most of the big hair magazines in the UK as well as in Tatler and Vouge.
Edwin returned to Malaysia 8 years ago, after a twenty two-year stint in London, armed with an impressive portfolio and a wealth of technical and customer-service skills. His aim was to bring to Malaysia the same high quality and standards of service he was exposed to in London, which he hopes will contribute towards Malaysia becoming a leader rather than a follower in hair and fashion. He chose to open his salon in Suria KLCC because it gives him the international exposure that he needs to meet his goals, and means that he and his staff have the opportunity to show and hone their skills with the diverse hair types that visit Suria KLCC.
In London, Edwin was exposed to all types of hair, from super straight and thick oriental to tightly curled Afro-Caribbean. Edwin therefore understands that frizz is the enemy of European hair, particularly in a hot humid country like Malaysia. He explains that Europeans tend to have higher hair density, with an average of 80,000 to 120,000 strands compared to 50,000 to 80,000 for Asians. “ This is why humidity attacks European hair. Without the right products and styling, it will go very frizzy.” For this reason, he’s gained a reputation amongst Malaysia’s international community as the go-to man for troublesome tresses. To those with typically European hair, Edwin recommends visiting the salon every 6-8 weeks, avoiding over-processed lightening treatments, and using a leave-in conditioner to manage frizz.
Edwin stresses that while these generalisations about hair types are useful, it’s important to remember that “every head of hair is unique”. With this in mind, every customer is given a full consultation prior to appointment and each head of hair is analyzed to allow Edwin and his team to understand the wants, needs and problems of every customer. He strongly believes that this consultation is the most important part of the hairdressing experience.
Because Edwin focuses on the uniqueness of each customer, he doesn’t place too much importance on hair trends. He asserts that it’s more important “to find a style that works for the individual and his/her hair type, which is not necessarily the same as the latest fashions. It’s more important that the look really works for the client.” This means that while the fashion in Malaysia may favour a Japanese/Korean approach to hairdressing – lots of thinning, to create texture and volume – Edwin recognises that these techniques don’t work for everyone, especially those with hair tending to frizziness.
If you’ve ever left a salon with a puff ball of hair after an encounter with a thinning razor, Edwin’s warning is sure to resonate. Edwin constantly strives to better himself and the experience of his customers. “Every day brings a new learning experience, new things to observe and absorb, just like life.” He expects the same commitment and curiosity of his salon employees, who receive training and feedback on every aspect of their work, from advanced cutting techniques to the small touches that make a big difference, such as keeping the magazines up to date and getting the coffee just right.
On my first visit to Saw Hair Salon recently, I experienced firsthand Edwin’s special touch. He began by assessing my hair, running his fingers through it and examining the scalp. He came to the conclusion that it was very dry, and knew immediately that it had been a while since my last trip to the salon. He recommended a conditioning treatment and a trim. Edwin and his staff were very friendly and professional, the salon is classy, modern and comfortable, and the head massage was so good I had to put down my magazine and close my eyes to enjoy it to the full. Edwin spent an hour and a half getting the cut just right, and checked in several times with me and the stylist in charge of the treatment and blow drying. .is attentiveness and attention to detail reflect Edwin’s motto, “the client must leave the salon feeling happy no matter what it takes.”
Whether you are wrestling with frizzy tresses, or lamenting lank lifeless locks, Edwin’s ability to diagnose and work with any head of hair is sure to see you leaving his salon feel happier and looking better, not just on salon day but right up until your next visit. By Sonya Davison/Katrina Melvin
Saw Hair Salon
Lot 401K, 4th Floor, Suria KLCC
Tel: 03.2171 1881
Source: The Expat July 2011
This article has been edited for Expatgomalaysia.com
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