Brunch with Buro: Celebrity hairstylist Angeline Tan

Brunch with Buro: Celebrity hairstylist Angeline Tan

Tress transformer

Text: Yvette King

Photo: Vanessa Caitlin

She's not just any hairstylist, Angeline Tan is the 'hairy godmother' to a whole host of local celebrities. Buro sits down with this talented woman to find out her trade secrets

Angeline Tan is the creative force behind the hotspot hairstyling salon FDP Prestige Hair Care. Found in an unassuming location, in the basement of Kembangan Plaza (in the East Coast district of Singapore), you wouldn't realise this is the very place where your winning look is just a cut, dye or blow-dry away. 

Angeline is also somewhat of a 'hairy godmother' to the stars. She waves her magic scissors over TV presenter Anita Kapoor's famous crop, Youtube sensation Munah Bagharib's long mane and was the genius behind singer Tabitha Nauser's striking, blonde tresses. 

When not in the salon working with her VIP clients, Angeline or Ange as we affectionately call her, is working backstage at events and is zhooshing hair at fashion shows or for magazine editorials. I sat down with Angeline (who also does my hair) over a long black and some nibbles to chat about her ultimate makeover client, what's in and out this season for hair, and her signature cut.

Angeline Tan and Yvette King at Luxe Singapore

At what point did you realise you became the go-to celebrity hairstylist here in Singapore?
I would say in the past two to three years. 

Tabitha Nauser's transformation really put you on the map. How do you know what hairstyle will suit someone?
It's definitely the power of visualisation. It all started with my hairdressing school days when I was 17 going on 18, and whenever I was given the baton to express creativity on a project or an assessment, I remember my mentor telling me, "You have a gift for visualisation, and the power to envisage what looks good. You must not give up. These hands were made to create magic in people's hair".

So when people ask me this question, I have to say, the majority of my work comes from that skill, but if I have to go back to basics, I do a case study of the client and celebrity whom I have to style for. 


Does it bother you when clients request a makeover, but they only want a trim? Oh YES, it sure does. My usual reply to them would be "If you booked an appointment with me, you must be expecting a change. I create a new style and image for people and that has always been my forte, and since you're here, why not break some rules and step out of your comfort zone? I promise you, you'll walk out here feeling brand new…like a million bucks."

But then again sometimes, for some rare cases, I find that the client is not prepared to take her hair to the next level. I will then settle for a 'remodelling cut' which is what we call a signature cut with FDP. It can be a trim if she wants to maintain her length, but I remodel and reshape her hair with texturisation and by pumping up the volume and cropping away ‘flaws’ that we don't want to show.

Kim Kardashian has been pretty bold with her hair choices recently – experimenting with blonde and cutting her hair into a lob and back to long again. But should we be following celebrity trends when it comes to our hair?
Well, Hollywood icons have always been trendsetters. They somehow have the power to influence people from all over the world. As a stylist, my job is to create looks and styles for people. Trends come and go, they can be a guideline of how one wants to stay and look ‘updated’ but never, ever follow them fully because they may not really work for you. It's always good to take a step back and find out what's best suited to you.

Trends come and go, they can be a guideline of how one wants to stay and look ‘updated’ but never, ever follow them fully because they may not really work for you.

What's been the most rewarding job you've done recently?
Oh my gosh, plenty! In March this year, I received a call at the salon from The Sunday Times, senior writer, Ankita Varma saying she would like to do an interview with me and that she's been stalking both our salon and my personal Instagram account to see the amazing work we've been doing. The story was called "Dyeing to be blonde", and as a blonde icon myself, I gave tips on going blonde. We also won 'Best Anti-Aging Treatment' for the Harper's Bazaar Singapore Hair Awards 2015. This is truly an honour as we were competing with 40 other top salons in Singapore.

Angeline and Yvette

Who would you love to get into the salon and makeover?
Hmmm...I do have a few on my list. Benjamin Kheng (whom I met on set while styling him for a shoot). I would love to give him some colour! Shigga Shay — I really would like to save him from the pain he has to endure at the salon he is currently visiting. I will make him look like a star with zero discomfort. Cheryl Miles — she needs some loving for her hair and I see a lot of potential in this lady.

Do you have a signature way of cutting?
Yes, having a cut with me is somewhat like getting sculpted. I make hairstyles easy-peasy for people to manage, but above all, I make sure it lasts. A 360° profiling is an important factor to me, so I always make sure the client leaves the salon pitch perfect in all directions.

What sets FDP Prestige Hair Care apart from other salons in Singapore?
We are niche. It's a fine blend between having the experience of great service and awesome skills in a super down-to-earth, no pretense kind of salon.

Is there any hairstyle that intimidates you? For example Johnny Depp’s dreadlocks in Pirates of the Caribbean?
Not really. Simply because I don't classify myself as a stylist who handles dreadlocks. I think it's good that we let stylists who specialise in this area deal with these styles. I tried it a couple of times back in school, but it really isn't my thing.

How important do you think hair is to someone’s career?
Of  the  utmost importance.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Some new clients come in to our salon, thinking that they'll get the usual treatment they get from other salons and stylists they visit, such as over-promising on hair jobs and bulls***ing about how great they will make them look, and insisting they only listen to that particular stylist. I'm not like that at all. I am as transparent as they get. If I say I can do something, I make sure I deliver. I also like to hear my clients out, for me to understand them better. Above all, I am all about quality control.

What is the latest trend in hair at the moment?
Silver, grey and blonde hair. The balayage technique. Sassy, big curls. And of course the lob.

Special thanks to Luxe Singapore for hosting Brunch with Buro.