Ingrid Schlingmann at work at Mooi, the salon she flies in to once every few weeks. / FRANCISCO HINOJOSA

The flying Dutch hairdresser

A business owner from the Netherlands travels to Malaga once every few weeks to cut and style hair at her city centre salon

JUAN SOTO MALAGA.

Ingrid Schlingmann lives and works in Gouda in the south of Holland, however she's more drawn to the beach and sardines than to the canals and tulips of her hometown. A hairdresser by profession, this Dutch entrepreneur travels all the way to Malaga to cut and style her customers' hair at her central salon. She is the city's very own flying hairdresser from Holland.

She was first drawn to the city many years ago. Ingrid lived on the Costa del Sol for more than ten years, although for professional and family reasons she had to go back to Holland. By that time she was already working in her own salon in Malaga, and she decided to find a partner who would take over the everyday running of the business, allowing her to fly over every few weeks to look after her regular customers.

The business she comes back to is Mooi (which means pretty in Dutch), in Calle Compañía, 42. Ingrid generally comes every six weeks and stays for between and week and ten days.

"Sometimes it's hard to comeback, but when I'm here, it's hard to leave again, as I fall in love with Malaga every time," she admits.

Ingrid, 42, works in a salon as a freelance stylist when she is in Holland, although she also tries her hand at painting, photography and even aerial dance, her real hobby.

"I love travelling and that's why I wanted to keep the Malaga business." In fact her dream would be to open a third salon in another European country to complete the triangle.

Ingrid first came to Spain in 2008. After a short time in Marbella, she moved to Malaga and immediately fell in love with the city, eventually buying premises and opening her own hairdressing salon.

"It wasn't full of tourists as it is now, but back then I thought that [Malaga] could end up like Barcelona," she says.

It was in 2018 that she decided to return to the Netherlands due to family circumstances and the need for support to care for her son. But while she started to work in her hometown she was already planning her return to Malaga, albeit just for fleeting visits.

After the Covid lockdown (and a short period renting the salon out to other professionals), she contacted Virginia, who had worked with her previously in Malaga, and suggested they run the business together.

Loyal customers

While the current business arrangement has only been up and running for a few months, Ingrid says she is satisfied with the results so far. The salon is functioning well thanks to word of mouth, she explains. With staff speaking English, Spanish and Dutch, the salon is popular among local people as well as customers of different nationalities who come from around the province. Ingrid's regular customers tell her they'd like her to spend more time in the city: "I don't know whether I'll come back to live," she says.

As well as cutting, styling and colouring, Ingrid, Virginia and their staff also specialise in bridal hair and make-up. It's clear her special updos are much in demand, although "we're all very professional", she stresses. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to catch Ingrid on one of her flying visits from Holland.