Careers in Hairdressing: What Can You Expect?
Careers in Hairdressing: What Can You Expect?
If you love hair and have a sparkling personality to match, then working as a hair stylist could be the vocation for you.
Using a range of techniques, it’s your job to make clients look and feel amazing every time they visit the salon. Within the field itself you’ve got plenty of options; you could work in a salon that caters to men, women and children. You may end up specialising in Afro hair styling techniques, or want to get creative by styling hair for fashion shows or photoshoots. But whatever you choose to do, the basic principles of the trade remain the same. Here’s what to expect if you’re planning a career in hairdressing.
What Skills do I Need to Be a Hair Stylist?
When you’re starting out as a trainee, you’ll spend time greeting customers, washing towels, replenishing stock, washing hair and keeping the salon clean and tidy. You’ll also be expected to observe and learn from more experienced stylists.
To succeed, hair stylists should have a broad and diverse set of skills:
- Interpersonal skills are a must. You’ll need to be comfortable meeting and talking to new and existing clients, and maintain a friendly yet professional manner at all times. You’ll also need to be a team player who can handle high-stress situations – salons are busy places!
- You should be creative with the vision to foresee what hairstyles are going to suit your clientele. Having an eye for detail is a huge asset too.
- It’s important that you’re able to manage your time efficiently
- A willingness to learn new skills and techniques is key to your long-term success as a hair stylist.
- You should take pride in your own appearance and be serious about cleanliness and hygiene.
- If you’re self-employed or a freelancer, or if you’re planning to work as a salon manager, you’ll need business management and marketing skills. You’ll need to manage your records and accounts, order supplies, schedule appointments, perform customer service duties and know how to promote your business. Salon managers will need to be comfortable hiring (and potentially firing) employees too.
- You’ll need to be flexible when it comes to your working hours. Your basic hours may vary – whether you work in a salon or are self-employed – and you’ll probably be expected to work on Saturdays.
- You’ll need to be physically fit, since you’ll be on your feet for much of the day.
What Qualifications do Hairdressers Need?
There are three basic ways to get into hairdressing:
- A college course. Most colleges offer full and part-time courses in hairdressing and beauty. Most colleges will expect their students to have two or more GCSEs (for a level two course) or four/five GCSEs (for a level three course). You could combine these with other cosmetology courses, such as beauty therapy or make-up artistry.
- An apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a popular way of combining work and study. Students will usually work in a salon for four days a week and spend one day a week at college.
- Learning on the job. You could start working as a trainee hairdresser in a salon, where you would be working towards getting your qualifications (either at college or in a training school) on the side.
Most hair stylists will have an NVQ (of which there are four levels). If you’re serious about developing your career, an NVQ will help you to achieve this.
What Are the Duties of a Hairdresser?
Your main duties as a hairdresser will centre around your clients. Specifically, the role involves:
- Greeting your clients and making them feel at ease throughout their appointment.
- Advising clients (tactfully!) on which hairstyles will suit them and their lifestyle.
- Washing and conditioning hair.
- Cutting and styling hair (including pinning hair up for special occasions).
- Colouring, perming or straightening hair. This means you’ll need to know how to use chemical products safely. You may also need to know how to apply hair extensions or weaves, or shave and trim facial hair using specialist equipment.
- Offering advice on hair care and the treatment of any issues a client may have with their hair and scalp.
- Managing bookings and handling payments.
- Contributing to the overall cleanliness, tidiness and running of the salon.
- Keeping up to date with key trends in hairdressing.
- Training to assist your career development.
- Advising clients on which products they should be using and upsell (with products or treatments) where necessary.
How Much do Hairdressers Earn?
A hairdresser’s salary can vary by company and location (London salaries tend to be slightly higher to cover basic living costs). On average, you could earn anywhere between £14,000 and £30,000 per annum. This is usually determined by your experience and qualifications.
Whether you’re a qualified hair stylist hoping to develop your skills and take the next step in your career, or a recent graduate looking for an apprenticeship that’ll really set you up in the industry, join our award-winning team at Rush. With industry-led training, state of the art salons (across the UK) and countless awards to our name, you’ll be supported (and encouraged) to thrive.