If you ever have the pleasure of getting your hair cut by Frédéric Fekkai himself at any of his two salons in New York, be prepared for it to cost a cool USD$750 (about SGD$995). Not as extreme as Ted Gibson (USD$2,400 which equals SGD$1,808) or eye-wateringly expensive like Rossano Ferretti (USD$1,500 which converts to a cool SGD$1,996) but what does the cost of a Fekkai cut—or some might say a pair of designer shoes, two pairs of sunglasses, or a small leather good—entail?
Having done the hair of ’90s supermodels like Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, alongside sending a supermarket list of superstars like Amanda Seyfried, Debra Messing, Gemma Chan, and Renée Zellweger down red carpets around the world, you’ll be getting what beauty editors call a deliciously “undone” hairstyle. A look Fekkai pioneered in the ’90s for his supermodel swans which is all about, bounce, body, and a high-impact shine.
“In today’s times, elegance can be defined as a revival of the ’90s aesthetic, which highlighted healthy, effortlessly styled hair with shine and movement. It’s about achieving a glamorous look that can easily transition from day to night.” Fekkai says about the nostalgia on social media for the style he shaped but how do we achieve that if a flight to the Big Apple is out of the question?
Enter FEKKAI, Frédéric’s eponymous haircare line which launched in 1995 to promote the skinification of hair. Puzzled by the vast difference in the prices of his client’s skin and hair products and how lacking the haircare product industry was when it came to concerns besides just dry hair or dandruff, Fekkai sought to produce a line with luxurious ingredients and textures that mimicked the extravagancy of skincare products.
Here, Fekkai takes us through the 3.0 of FEKKAI that now boasts a clean formula, how to achieve supermodel hair in our humidity, and what you should be telling your hairstylist when you get your next cut.
Hello Frédéric! What does the new FEKKAI mean to you and do for its customers?
From the conception of the brand, we have fused science and great ingredients to formulate high-performance products. Our new formulas and packaging at FEKKAI speak on not only the brand’s evolution but also the reformulation of its formulas after buying back the brand.
By incorporating cutting-edge science and exceptional ingredients, FEKKAI now formulates high-performance products that deliver outstanding results. The brand’s evolution signifies the pursuit of excellence and the commitment to deliver the best hair care solutions.
It is about leveraging the latest innovations and combining them with superior ingredients to create products that set new standards in the industry.
In your opinion, do clean formulas for a haircare product necessarily mean that they’re better?
It’s not just about being clean; it’s also important to focus on cutting-edge technology, innovation and safe, ethical ingredients that make our product superior and unique. We collaborate closely with labs to find key ingredients that have specific benefits for different hair concerns.
For instance, unlike traditional scrubs that may use harsh abrasives like salt, the Apple Cider Triple Cleanse Scalp Scrub ($60 for 220ml) takes a different approach by using ground rice as its exfoliating agent as it delicately removes impurities, product build-up, and dead skin cells without causing irritation or damage. It’s a natural and milder alternative which ensures that the scrub is suitable for different hair and scalp types, including those with sensitivity.
This approach aligns with the brand’s commitment to creating products that prioritize the health and well-being of the hair and scalp, while still delivering exceptional results.
How does FEKKAI help women achieve elegance? Could you also recommend a quick hair care routine for Singaporean women?
We develop products that can be mixed together as we should be using varied products to address different hair needs. For hair that lacks body and shine, mix a straight balm with an anti-frizz or glossing cream. Mix it together and style your hair as usual.
Top tip for humidity: always style the hair in a cool and dry environment so the product activates better, like in an air-conditioned room.
If you had to pick one product from the range as your personal favourite, which one would it be?
One of my personal favourites is the Brilliant Gloss Finishing Cream Shine & Anti Frizz ($40). It’s a product that offers universal benefits and helps achieve a glossy finish. It’s made out of a great ingredient called squalene that comes from an olive tree which still retains its moisture and shininess despite growing in extremely hot climates like California, Italy, and France.
How important are trends to you in your line of work and how relevant do you think social media is to it?
Trends only become truly significant when they are tailored to each individual customer. Instead of a trend being defined as following one specific characteristic such as being a redhead, we strive to establish trends by creating unique and personalised experiences for each individual.
By focusing on customisation and personalisation, we aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique styles and preferences while inspiring others along the way. We aim to define trends, not follow them.
As you are the first to introduce the concept of the skinification of hair care, what are your top three rules when it comes to creating a routine?
1. Make sure you alternate between two different shampoos because people often have two different hair textures. For instance, someone with highlights or color-treatment should use a shampoo to address that, but if they also have fine hair, they would need to alternate it with a volume shampoo. Similarly, if they are lacking in shine, then they would alternate with a glossing product. Always remember to make sure to not use too much conditioner as you only need to apply it on the ends and not on the roots.
2. One trick that I love is to apply a hair mask before a shampoo if you have very dry hair. Or if you have brassy hair, use a toning mask before shampooing.
3. It is important to rinse with water that is as cold as you can bear in order to seal the cuticle. It’s also important to massage the scalp by gently moving the skin around to activate oxygen and blood flow. If you are in the shower, it’s a great time to do it as long as possible.
What do you think of customers who come in with celebrity photos to request the same cut?
I love when customers come with photos because it gives me an idea of what they want or what they think they would look good in but it also gives their hairstylist an opportunity to explain what could work better.
It is important to always bring a photo because it’s the start of conversation and then, allow your hairstylist to guide you into a bespoke experience that will work based on their interpretation.
What are some simple tips you have for Asian women to achieve red-carpet-worthy hair? What FEKKAI products are good for it too?
To achieve beautiful hair, you need to first give a lift to the roots by spraying the Clean Stylers Root Lift Volume Racine ($50) at the top of the crown and then dry your hair upside down for gravity to help add lift.
Then, style your hair with the usual tools you use. I love to use velcro rollers and apply heat for 10 minutes but if you want faster results, use hot ceramic big rollers that give more bounce and body. Rollers not only add volume but will also create an amazing foundation if you want to do a chignon or updo.
What do you believe the future of beauty will be when it comes to hair? How do you see yourself and the brand playing a role in it?
We are getting so much more educated, both the customer and us stylists, that we are seeking to develop products and ideas that will enhance colour, shine, and style without damaging it. The future of beauty is what I call the anti-ageing of hair.
We also aim to be at the forefront of innovation by incorporating advanced technology in both our formulas and packaging.