Interview: Curly Hair Stylist Mahine Tchiakpe

This month Blossom met up with hairstylist and curl whisperer, Mahine Tchiakpe at salon Chez Tina, located in Vetroz. Mahine is based in Lausanne, but occassionally works in Vetroz to service her customers in Valais. I had the pleasure of getting my hair trimmed by her and took the opportunity to chat with her about her career and hair.

She describes herself as sensitive, funny and ambitious. After hearing about her pathway, I think she could definitely add courageous to her list.

Why did you choose a career as a hair stylist?

I’ve always been interested in becoming a stylist, I just had to find the courage to do it. I needed my life to be complete, by doing something I love, which I wasn’t doing before. So, I saved money for 5 years, dropped everything and went to New York to attend beauty school and Deva Curl Academy.

What inspired you to become a curly hair specialist?

When I did my big chop* a couple of years ago.

*Big chop refers to cutting off all of one’s chemically straightened hair and letting their natural hair grow.

What was your journey like before and after the big chop.
photos are property of @mahine_

So, I relaxed my hair for 12 years from the ages of 12 to 24. Then one day, I saw this girl, Beauty by Lee, on You Tube. She had just big chopped and I thought her hair was so cute. I literally had the thought that I had to do the same thing, to get to know my natural hair. First, I let my natural hair grow out under the straightened hair for one year and that was awful! Then I went to a hair salon and cut off my straight hair. For a little over three years I let my natural hair grow.

And two weeks ago, I shaved my hair again (laughs), because I felt confident in my own skin to do whatever the hell I wanted to do. I wanted short hair, so I shaved it all off.

Do you notice a trend towards more women embracing their natural hair?

Yes, a lot, especially in Lausanne, in Zürich a little less. I’m really happy when I see a curly girl! (laughs) I just want to run up to her and give her a high five!

What tips can you give on caring for curly hair?

Rule n°1: Moisturize your hair.

Rule n°2: Don’t apply a ton of oil.

Rule n°3: Please never brush your hair when it’s dry, please!

Just embrace your hair at every stage. Each stage is so different, but worth it. I know, I’ve been through all of them.

What does your hair mean to you?

When I used to relax my hair, I thought it was the only thing I could do with my hair. Now I know I can do anything with my hair and that I am not my hair, like India Arie says. I love my hair and it’s a part of my personality and even though I’ve shaved my hair, I’m still the same person.

Want to see all of Mahine’s hair transformations and daily happenings? You can find her on the internet:

Instagram @mahine_

Facebook /mahinestylist

You can book an appointment with Mahine through her website: mahinestylist.com/

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