Career Development

What Does a Hair Stylist Do?

Find out what a hair stylist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a hair stylist.

Hair stylists are responsible for creating unique looks and styles for their clients. They may specialize in a particular area of styling, such as hair coloring or cutting.

Hair stylists must be able to communicate well with their clients so they can understand what the client wants and needs. They also need to have an eye for detail when it comes to hairstyles and fashion trends.

Hair Stylist Job Duties

Hair stylists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Cleaning hairbrushes and combs to remove buildup from hair products and product residue
  • Performing shampooing, conditioning, and styling services on clients
  • Applying chemical treatments to hair to lighten or darken it, or to remove unwanted color
  • Cutting and styling hair to meet client requests and specifications
  • Determining what type of hairstyle would best suit a client’s face shape, hair texture, and lifestyle 
  • Cleaning hairbrushes and combs to remove buildup from hair products and product residue
  • Maintaining customer records in order to provide ongoing service to clients
  • Maintaining an inventory of shampoo, conditioner, and other products used in hair care services
  • Preparing the work space by setting up chairs, shampoo bowls, drying stations, and other equipment

Hair Stylist Salary & Outlook

Hair stylists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $53,500 ($25.72/hour)

The employment of hair stylists and aestheticians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need for hair stylists will stem from the growing popularity of hair treatments, such as coloring and hair-straightening treatments, as well as the desire to look more attractive or feel more confident. In addition, demand for hair stylists and aestheticians is projected to increase because of the aging population, which typically seeks hair treatments.

Related: In-Depth Hair Stylist Salary Guide

Hair Stylist Job Requirements

A hair stylist typically needs the following:

Education: Hair stylists need at least a high school diploma or GED to get a job in this field. Many hair stylists choose to pursue a cosmetology program to learn the skills they need to work in this profession. A cosmetology program typically takes nine months to complete and includes both classroom and practical instruction. During the cosmetology program, students learn about the different aspects of cosmetology, including hair cutting, coloring, styling, nail care and skin care.

Training & Experience: Hair stylists typically receive on-the-job training from their employers after being hired. This training helps them learn the specific techniques and products the salon uses. It also helps them learn the salon’s policies and procedures.

Hair stylists can also receive training through internships. During an internship, a hair stylist can learn the basics of the industry while working closely with a licensed stylist. They can also learn about the different techniques and products the salon uses.

Certifications & Licenses: Hair stylists need to earn a license to work in the field. Each state has its own requirements for getting a cosmetology license. In most states, hair stylists need to complete a minimum number of hours of training in a licensed cosmetology school. After completing the training period, students need to pass a written exam. Then, they must complete hours of work experience under the supervision of a licensed cosmetologist. Once they’ve completed all of these steps, they can take the licensing exam. Many states require hair stylists to pass this exam every six months to keep their license active.

Hair Stylist Skills

Hair stylists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Stylists use creativity to create new looks and styles for their clients. They use their creativity to find new ways to style hair and to create new hairstyles. Stylists also use creativity to come up with new ideas for their businesses, such as new products or services.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you develop a positive relationship with your clients. You can use these skills to listen to your clients’ needs, ask them questions and find ways to meet their expectations. Customer service skills can also help you develop a professional demeanor that can help you build trust with your clients.

Communication: Stylists often work with clients one-on-one, so excellent communication skills are important. They use communication skills to explain the process of a haircut, style a client’s hair and answer any questions clients may have. Stylists also use communication skills to collaborate with other stylists and assistants to ensure the client’s experience is a positive one.

Attention to detail: When working with clients, it’s important for hair stylists to pay attention to detail. This ensures that they cut and style hair in the way the client wants and that they don’t miss any spots when applying color or other treatments. Attention to detail can also help stylists ensure that they clean their work stations and equipment after each client.

Knowledge of hair products: Hair stylists use a variety of hair products, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products and hair coloring products. They should have a thorough knowledge of the ingredients in these products and how to use them to achieve the desired results. They should also know the differences between the various products and how to apply them to different hair types and textures.

Hair Stylist Work Environment

Hair stylists work in a variety of settings, including salons, barbershops, day spas, and cosmetology schools. They may also work in department stores, hotels, and resorts. Most work full time, and about 1 in 3 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016. Many hair stylists work evenings and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules. Some stylists may rent space in a salon, rather than working as an employee. This arrangement gives them more freedom to set their own hours, but they also have greater expenses and may have to provide their own equipment.

Hair Stylist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how hair stylists work. Hair stylists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Men’s Hair

As men’s hair trends continue to evolve, stylists will need to adapt in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Men are increasingly interested in hairstyles that make a statement, and they are more open to trying new things with their hair. This means that hair stylists will need to be familiar with a wide range of styles in order to meet the needs of their clients.

More Use of Social Media

Hair stylists can use social media to connect with potential customers and build their businesses.

By creating a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, hair stylists can reach a wider audience and promote their services. They can also use these platforms to share photos of their work and get feedback from customers. In addition, many social media platforms now have features that allow users to find local businesses based on their location, which can be very helpful for hair stylists who want to expand their customer base.

A More Personalized Experience

Customers are looking for a more personalized experience when it comes to their hair. This means that stylists need to be able to understand what each individual client wants and provide them with a haircut that fits their needs.

In order to provide this type of service, stylists need to be well-versed in current trends and be able to communicate effectively with their clients. They also need to be able to listen to what their clients are saying and understand what they are asking for.

How to Become a Hair Stylist

A hair stylist career can be a great way to use your creativity and help people look their best. As you start your journey, it’s important to find a salon that fits your personality and style. Consider the atmosphere of the salon, the other professionals who work there, and the clientele.

Once you’ve found a good fit, focus on developing your skills and expanding your knowledge. Attend workshops and training sessions, read industry magazines and blogs, and watch videos online. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques so that you can offer your clients the best possible service.

Related: How to Write a Hair Stylist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many stylists start their own businesses, which can offer more flexible hours and the potential for higher earnings. Some stylists open salons, which may require additional staff and management responsibilities. Some stylists may eventually become educators in cosmetology schools. Some may advance to positions such as artistic director, platform artist, or product representative, working with manufacturers to develop new hair-care products or demonstrating new styles and techniques.

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