Ilham Mestour

"I’m a perfectionist. Every detail has to work, every single hair has to be in place. I’ve caught myself numerous times counting hair. I literally dive into the hair. I don’t see or hear the people around me."

 “I was born in Casablanca. Only a month later, we moved to The Netherlands, where I lived until I was eight. After that, we went back to Morocco, and I decided that I wanted to stay there – it was a summer holiday that lasted six years! I grew up in a culture where appearance plays an important role. This made it easier for me to choose hairdressing as a career. My grandfather always made fun of me when he saw me working on my aunties’ hair for hours – a nine-year-old struggling with a round hairbrush and blow dryer trying to straighten their big curly hair. Of course, at that time, I had no idea that hair had such an impact on women. Now I know that having great hair can make women feel so feminine and sexy. You really see them transform into women who feel attractive and confident. 

Big break

“After leaving school, I worked in a few salons. One day I saw a flyer in the salon advertising different courses. It was the same old stuff – courses on different cuts and coloring – but then my eyes fell on the words ‘fashion session hairstylist’. “There really is more to hairdressing,” I thought to myself. So, I decided to follow the course. At the end of the course, I approached the teacher and asked him for a job at his salon. What I didn’t know was that I was about to work in a salon where the entire Dutch fashion industry has their hair cut. Photographers, models, actresses – a whole new world opened up for me.”

The craft

“I’ve been in the business a long time – nearly twenty years. I’m old school and believe hairdressing is a craft. Technique and perfection have always been key to me. Everything has to have a synergy and look right. I’m a perfectionist, every detail has to work, every single hair has to be in place. I’ve caught myself numerous times counting hair. I literally dive into the hair. I don’t see or hear the people around me. I’m extremely focused on achieving all my goals. Passion, drive, emotions, my soul – I put everything into my work to create beautiful hair. So the reasons for my success are my drive, passion and focus, but also the people who believed in my talent.” 


“My style icons are Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Faye Dunaway, Tippi Hedren and Coco Chanel. I also get really inspired by the history of different cultures, from architecture and nature, from different shapes. In hairdressing, it’s all about the right shapes. It’s architectural that way.”


“It’s hard to talk about trends because nowadays everything comes back into fashion. We’re talking about trends in the 70s, 80s and 90s when the real big changes in hair, makeup and clothes came. Right now, it’s all about choosing the right cut and color to suit and enhance your personality and finding the true beauty in yourself.”

Working Fashion Week

I'm Chef de Cabine for Keune at shows like Sophie Theallet during New York Fashion Week and Dryce Lahssan during Paris Fashion Week. Before that, I was part of Luigi Murenu’s international team. I worked fashion shows for brands like Gucci, Rick Owens, Max Mara and Givenchy. The environment backstage is always hectic because we never have enough time between shows. All the models arrive four hours before the show. Once the show starts, we have to move to the location of the next show and get ready. But I still love working backstage – I love the energy, the focus, the end result and how everything comes together.

The important thing for fashion and hair is that we transform the models for the catwalk show or shoot and give them a personality that enhances the designer’s narrative and theme. So if we’re talking about fashion in general, then hair and makeup play a very important role.”

Can’t-live-without-them hair products

“My number one styling tool is a medium curling iron. But when we talk products, I adore the Keune Design Press Wax. It just gives your hair the perfect texture. When you wash your hair, it often ends up being too fluffy, and what actually you want is the texture you had the day before you washed your hair. Using Keune Design Press Wax helps you get that texture back. Next, Keune Design Volume Powder is perfect for getting the right volume for straight, wavy and curly hair. I also love the Keune Design Blow Dry Lotion. And finally, Keune Care Line Silkening Polish is just the best to get frizziness out of the hair. It’s really an amazing product, even for men!” 

Top tips

“Just thinking about how you're going to do your hair night before will make your life so much easier. Use the right product, sleep with a bun on top of your head and braid your hair. I like texture. So to give your hair amazing texture, spray it with Keune Design Salt Mist, tie it up in a bun and sleep in it. Don't brush your hair the next day and you’ll have amazing texture.

Bad hair day? Simple: go for the undone updo. As for me, I’d never ever straighten my hair with a straightening treatment because I love my curls. I’d also never dye my hair a darker color.”


“One of the most important things in my career was that I kept believing in my dreams. I’ve always worked hard. Opportunities don’t just happen – create them. People don’t know who you are unless you work hard and put yourself out there. I believe in young talent, so I help and coach young hair stylists to get to the next level. I try to introduce them to the right people and give them a little push to pursue their own dreams of happiness. You know, if they believe in their dreams, they have to give it their all to make them come true. So you have to have the passion, drive and belief in yourself. That doesn't mean that you'll never need  a nudge in the right direction or a hand to pull you out of the mud, that's okay. Also: don't forget to take the time to grow and learn. I've really had to learn this. 

Keep believing in your dreams and fighting for them, because no one has ever achieved anything without fighting for it. The trick is to make a stand and never give up – fight like it’s your last fight, and even if you lose, come back and fight again. That’s something I always do. Life is all about starting something new and saying goodbye to something old. This is how I consciously learned the value of taking a moment every season to make myself aware of what my soul needs.”

Spiritual teacher

“Every step of my career has been a part of my dream. I’ve been part of the Keune family for four years now. Working for an international brand like Keune has given me the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge, to train and to work on product development worldwide and share my passion for hairdressing. To be part of the great team at Keune is one of my dreams come true. But I never stop dreaming. My dreams are my greatest spiritual teacher. I find my motivation in them. I want to keep growing and prove to myself that I can still develop as a professional.”