Celebrity hairstylist Kim Robinson. Photo: Kim Robinson

Famous for his $2,000 celebrity cuts – he’s styled the heads of Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh (and in older times, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and the late Princess Diana) – Kim Robinson knows what the modern woman wants. “I listen,” he says, “to what women tell me.”

Born in Western Australia, he took to Hong Kong 48 years ago and hasn’t turned back. Robinson runs two salons in the buzzing Asian city, including his flagship in the prestigious Landmark Chater House, and another right here in Singapore’s Ngee Ann City, where he flies over to give cuts from time to time.

In a chat with The Peak, he spills his top hair tips for the modern woman.

Get a cut that looks good with little maintenance

An unsurprising one, but then again, what else were you expecting Robinson to say? His advice: spend money on cuts that look good even when washing and blowing them yourself. “Most of the time women leave salons fancily dried and styled, and look great. Then they shampoo [at home], and look the same as before,” he says. “You’re paying for a blow-dry, basically. It’s such a waste of money.”

Spend on good, easy to use products for Asian hair

Climate and diet affect hair, says Robinson, adding that Singaporean women have very oily scalps and dry hair. To counter this, he developed his own product used in his salons, which he’s selling for the first time this year, but you should go with whatever works and is convenient and easy to use. “The new-generation woman works full-time, has children, and doesn’t have time to spend hours at salons – or even at home – to take care of themselves.” 

Still, good solutions come with a price tag, he warns. “Buy less, but buy better. A lot of women buy and buy; they try different [cheaper] products, but most of them end up in the cupboard. I don’t think it’s down to which product is the cheapest anymore.”

Embrace what works for you

Magazines and designer brands used to dictate trends, but women don’t want to be told what to do or look like anymore. Says Robinson: Mix things around, make your look their own. Do what works for you. That’s what’s modern.” 

(Related: Why hair care entrepreneur Amy Ngo believes in the retail experience)