At 19, Mr Celian Joel D'souza has yet to enlist for national service, but he has launched his own brand of pomade.
The Classic Mobster pomade contains seven kinds of natural oils, including almond, sandalwood, rosemary and grapefruit oils, which the barber at Grease Monkey Barber Garage says conditions both the hair and scalp while keeping hair styled in a sleek pompadour.
Another key ingredient: Indian gooseberry oil, which Mr D'souza says is the secret to his 80something grandmother's full head of hair.
He decided to make his own pomade after realising that many mass-market pomades, hair gels and waxes contain ingredients that are not good for the hair.
"Many of them are synthetic, which clogs the pores on the scalp. My hair fell out when I used those hair products," says Mr D'souza, who has an aerospace electronics diploma from Temasek Polytechnic. He decided to become a barber after getting many bad haircuts at neighbourhood barbershops.
Having worked as a barber for a year, he says he has noticed that many of his customers have scalp problems. "So many of them have dandruff; it's sad because you need to have a healthy scalp to have healthy hair."
"And if your hair looks bad, you look bad. I want to change people's mindset about oils because they are good for the hair."
Mr D'souza says his pomade, which is sold at Grease Monkey for $28, is the result of about 60 "trial-and-error" batches concocted in his mother's kitchen. To learn how to make pomade, he did research online.
It takes him about 10 hours to make each batch. He reckons he must have spent at least $5,000, saved up from his part-time jobs, to perfect the medium-hold formula.
"I wanted to get it right because the pomade has to melt nicely between warm fingers," he says.
Like most pomades, his is relatively difficult to wash off, but he offers this advice: "The trick is to use conditioner first, then shampoo it off so the hair and scalp are not stripped of oil."
A water-based pomade, which will be easier to wash off, is in the works.
This article was first published on July 23, 2015.
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