Tiffany Mack, celebrity hair stylist
Linger Magazine chats with Tiffany Mack, hairstylist to the stars, whose clients include NBA all-stars, top fashion models and A-list actresses, she shares with us her career trajectory, her thoughts on working smart, and overcoming difficult seasons and how a little networking can get you ahead of the game. Her latest work can be seen in the latest season of “Power,” “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.”
Our interview with Tiffany Mack took place at nine in the evening. Not usually the standard but with Mack, who has a full life juggling a family of five and clients from all across the entertainment space, including running a private salon in Palisades Park, New Jersey, it’s what she’s got to do to get things done. “Time management,” she shared, is one of the reasons she attributes to her success. “That’s something my mother instilled in us. With hair stylists, that’s very hard to come by, so that alone sets me apart from a lot of people.”
Initially, she wanted to be a lawyer. “I’m a great debater,” she said. “Until I figured out how long I had to go to school.” So instead, she turned her focus towards her side hustle, which was doing hair since high school for extra pocket money. She took courses at a local community college and followed up her education with cosmetology school, where she learned about her craft professionally, and opened up her eyes to the many ways one could have a career as a hairstylist.
Eventually, after working at various salons, she was able to open up her own shop but after a fall-out with business partners, the celebrations were cut short, and the salon closed its doors a little after a year from its opening. “It was very devastating. I put a lot into having a salon,” she said. “I went through a lot of transition stages. I was just looking at how embarrassing it was to open a salon and then close [its] doors after a year, and I was doing hair for such a long time.”
“God had a different plan for me,” Mack concluded. Mack’s story is not about how you fall but about bouncing back when you do. “Once I came to terms, and realized it’s not my plan, but God’s plan, it worked out so much better.” She ventured out on her own again and started racking up clients across New York City and New Jersey.
During this time, Mack found love. She met her husband through her landlord, his uncle, who she was renting her former salon space from. “I think you need to meet my nephew,” he told her. “He will be a good fit for you.”
So she snooped on his Instagram (as you do in today’s times), and humorously told us her initial take. “He’s not bad looking,” she thought. “But you still have to see if the chemistry is there.”
“Uncle was right,” she said. “We’ve been together ever since.”
A music producer with connections to the industry, he respected Mack’s drive and introduced her to Naturi Naughton (from girl group 3LW, “Power”), who became one of her earliest celebrity clientele, and who Mack still works with today.
Before opening her private salon, Mack worked from the basement of their home for the convenience of her clientele, as well as providing Mack the opportunity to travel for work without worrying about who is running the shop while she’s gone.
The travelling included trips to the set of “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” filmed in New York City. Mack was part of the team that helped create the hairstyles and wigs for Patina Miller, who plays powerhouse babe, Raq. The most recent season, now airing on STARZ, takes place in the eighties through the nineties where big hair ruled the scene. And like a status symbol, Raq proudly rocks her hair full of volume, thick and layered, adding to the allure of being a powerful woman in a man’s world. “With the guys, it was with the jewelry,” Mack said. “With us, it’s with our hair, our clothes [and] back then with the fur, the shearlings.” Looking good is not just about vanity, it’s power. “When you look put together, people take you more seriously.”
For Mack, her business ventures have grown and has extended into haircare. In 2016, she launched Lucid Bliss, a hair care company with the goal of helping people look good and feel good. She worked closely with a chemist to combine beauty and function. “It took me about 18 months before I was ready to say OK,” Mack shared. “I did a lot of sampling. Different textures, what smelled good, a lot with allergies, fragrances.” The end goal, she said, is for Lucid Bliss to ultimately end up in dermatologists offices as the products were created to help with hair strengthening, loss and growth.
Now with over fifteen professional years in the industry and clients ranging from the New York Knicks’ Julius Randle to supermodel Iman and actress Regina King, Mack is in a good spot. “I’m in a phase where I’m shifting,” Mack said. “I’m trying to work smart.” Family is a big inspiration for Mack. “My kids know I work so hard but I want them to know that with all of this hard work, you got to work smart.”
When asked what advice she would give for those aspiring to make it in such a fast and unpredictable industry, Mack shared some insight. “Dedication, being okay with the no’s, and not selling yourself short,” she advised. In addition, Mack makes sure to connect with everyone around her and doesn't make the grind a competition. “Make connections because you never know when someone is going to remember your name. If you’re still on their radar, they are going to remember you.”
WELCOME TO THE FASH TRACK
Linger Magazine: What is your daily routine like?
Tiffany Mack: One thing about me, I never have time off because I have three kids. So no matter what, even if I have a 5:30am call time — I have so many alarms — I have to do it so that my kids are first. I probably won't go to sleep until 2 or 3 am. First thing in the morning, I have to make sure the kids are taken care of, make sure my husband is doing everything, getting the kids out on time. Then after picking them up, I still have to cook. After I'm cooking and watching a movie with my boys, sometimes I’ll curl wigs [and style] after we watch a movie. I have to be a mom, wife, and then sometimes, I have to ship out some orders, so I have to fit that in because I don’t have an assistant.
You have it all but it definitely takes a lot.
The price is time. That’s why I’m very good with time management. I can’t allow other people to go off my schedule. I take other people’s time very seriously but I also take my time extremely seriously as well.
What is the riskiest fashion/beauty/hair move you made that paid off?
I feel like right now with “Power” and doing press. The riskiest fashion move was not even knowing what outfits Patina [Power’s lead, Patina Miller] was going to wear but no matter, I was going to fit the hair into the outfits, and it worked. I’m so happy that she trusted me. I told her thank you for trusting me. It’s very rare to get clients to trust you because they are used to seeing themselves in a certain type of way and she just went with it.
What are you reading or watching at the moment that you recommend?
I’m watching “Working Moms.” It’s hilarious. My sister put me on it. I watched all five seasons in one week. That’s how good it was. Five seasons in one week. So now I’m watching The Chi. It starts off with a young boy who [witnesses] a murder and what he goes through and how he changes living in Chicago, growing up, just trying to maneuver and come up above water.
What is your favorite smell?
Lemongrass. It just calms me.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty means strength. Beauty means happiness too. That’s my tagline: taking care from the inside out. When you [look] good, it makes you feel good. Even if you weren’t so sure about a certain hairstyle or outfit, once you start getting those compliments, you start to believe it and it makes you feel good. Beauty means happiness and strength.
What trends do you see coming back, or want them to come back?
Definitely flat twists. We’re going into more natural styles so I would like there to be more flat twists, more natural styles and more creativity with braids.
How do you destress/unwind?
I literally have to be in the room by myself. I need quiet. I need to cancel out the noise.
You do have a very people facing role.
I just like to sit in my bed and sometimes I don’t do anything. I’ll just stare at the wall. [laughter] Quietness, I don’t take it for granted.
What are some of your go to comfort foods?
Crabs! Snow crabs, blue crabs, any type of crabs. It’s a tradition with me, my mom and my sisters. Even this past weekend, we went to my mom’s house, and whenever we meet up, we get crabs. It can be winter—the [season] doesn’t matter. For some people it’s soul food, for us, it’s crabs. It brings us together and we sit there, we laugh, we eat and have a good time.
What’s the worst fashion or beauty mistake you ever made?
Cutting my own bangs. It was so bad I couldn’t even put it in a ponytail! It was like a cow lick. It was the worst. It was a bad day. [laughter]
Any hair maintenance hair tricks to share?
Learn about your hair porosity. Once you learn your hair porosity—your hair styles, your natural hair styles will become so much easier.
Where do you learn that?
At www.mylucidbliss.com. Once you learn your porosity, we tell you what oils, creams, whether you need more protein, or if you're protein sensitive—it’s a whole thing but it’s real.
When do you feel your best?
When I get my lashes done. Let me tell you, because you wear a mask, you don’t have to wear makeup. When I have my lashes done girl, I feel lit! [laughter] I can have a ponytail and a hat on, but if my lashes are freshly done, I get so many compliments.
It gets half the job done.
Yes! Makeup is so easy. It’s a breeze. It’s the best.