‘Vanie the Hairstylist’ | 16 September 2019
Changing the narrative on natural hair one strand at a time
Vanessa Talma is a female entrepreneur with a vision for herself and for her clients: her vision for herself is to grow and to one day open her own salon and for her customers beautiful, healthy hair.
Branding herself as ‘Vanie the Hairstylist’, Vanessa is a freelance and mobile door-to-door hairdresser whose passion for healthy hair, particularly healthy natural hair, shows on her faces.
She officially launched her business a year ago, after completing her studies at Sasha Academy Mauritius with a UK-based ITEC diploma, and has been going strong since.
Seychelles NATION met up with her last Friday for a chat.
Seychelles NATION: Your line of work is not very popular in Seychelles, tell us more about what you do.
“I am a freelance and mobile door-to-door hairstylist, which means I can come straight to your doorstep at any time to do your hair. I go to my clients to do their hair. The reason why I chose to go to my clients to do their hair (instead of the other way around) has to do with the course I undertook in Mauritius [at Sasha’s Academy].”
“The course catered to our various aspirations whether we wanted to go into rent-a-chair, owning or managing a salon, freelancing and even teaching about hair. I opted to freelance, to start out low and develop my techniques gradually,” Vanessa explains.
“It also makes my clients more comfortable. You know sometimes how women go to the salon in the morning but their hair is already ruined by the time they need to attend their evening outing, this is not the case with me,” she adds.
Her clients include stay-at-home and busy mums, business women, chief executives and even elderly women who prefer to have their hair washed, cut and/or styled at the comfort of their own homes.
“The way I work is perfect for those who do not have the time or opportunity to go to a salon. For instance, most people nowadays who want to go somewhere Friday night or during the weekends do not have time to go to a salon because most salons are closed by 4 or 5pm.”
“With me they are pampered in the comfort of their own home; I’m there while they are getting ready and it is much better because they are leaving their house with a freshly done hairstyle.”
“It’s so much fun, I get to bond with them and that is an amazing experience,” Vanessa remarks.
As a freelance, Vanessa also works with wedding planners and stylists when they need a helping hand.
Seychelles NATION: How do people get in contact with you?
“You wouldn’t believe it but most, if not all, of my clients contact me through my Instagram page (@vaniethehairstylist). In this new age of social media, people nowadays mostly choose to contact me through the Internet, almost never through phone calls or texts.”
Seychelles NATION: So they book their appointments, then what next?
“I never ever go straight to doing someone’s hair before doing certain consultation first. Most hairdressers here would just start doing whatever with your hair without even taking a look at what type of hair you have and the condition in which it is. On my part, I have to conduct a consultation to identify three things: porosity, density and elasticity.
“This is done before you add any products since you have to know which products will best fit their hair. I tend to do that through Instragram or Whatsapp, when I’m chatting with them; I’ll tell them to do this, do that and to send me the results of how their hair reacts so that I’ll know what is good for their hair beforehand,” Vanessa explains.
“I would prefer to do what is best for them and their hair. If someone with damaged hair tells me to dye their hair, I will not do it because in the future they will say that it was I who made their hair turn out badly. For those with damaged hair, I offer them various treatment plans but of course some people tend to go and dye their hair or whatever at another salon.
“My favourite part of doing hair is educating people. We talk about what is good for their hair and what their hair needs. I love checking up on my clients later to find out if they are doing their part because the health of their hair does not just depend on me because I can’t do a treatment in your hair and then you are not using the right products at home. Then the treatment is futile.”
Seychelles NATION: How expensive are your services?
Vanessa laughs and shrugs away the question.
“I love to use natural products for afro-centric hair and I also love to use Paul Mitchell,” she responds in lieu.
“Paul Mitchell is this guy who grew up being allergic to tap water because tap water consists of alkaline, acid and chlorine. So he invested in these products in which there are no alkaline or sulfate and which could better react to tap water,” she further explains.
“Because, to be fair, even when you are washing your hair at home is not good for the hair because there are all those elements in the tap water. Paul Mitchell’s product has a better Ph balance that helps your hair despite of the fact that you are using tap water.”
Seychelles NATION: Let’s talk about natural hair.
Vanessa is a great proponent for healthy natural hair, even going as far as to describe it as her passion, and advocates for every women to embrace and enhance their natural afro-centric hair.
“When I did my course in Mauritius I chose to specialise in afro-centric hair instead of Asian or Caucasian hair because I found that straight hair is very manageable; you tie it up in a bun and it’s good to go. In Seychelles we have a lot of people with afro-centric hair and I wanted to educate people on how to maintain it, how to cut it.”
Women with afro-centric hair have for long chosen to tame their natural hair textures with relaxer and other chemical treatments but, over the last two years, many Seychellois women have opted to phase out the chemicals and grow their natural hair back.
“To be honest, it is one of the most difficult hairs to maintain but which is the most beautiful part of you. I do all types of hair but my passion is afro-centric hair. I love it; I love developing new styles, show clients how to maintain and dress their hair. There are different types of routines you need to know if you have afro-centric hair and these include routines that will make your hair curlier and even routines to ensure that you can tie it all up together. I love the challenge,” Vanessa raves.
“And isn’t it amazing to see Seychellois women showing off their natural hairs?