Where do Hair Stylists Make the Most Money?

Published on: 21 Aug 2019

Ask yourself, do you want to work in a salon environment, or perhaps you want to travel the world or even make your mark at the cutting edge of fashion. Whatever your passion, the key to earning a good salary as a hairstylist is continued education, dedication and good old fashioned hard work.

Despite its reputation as being poorly paid, the hair and beauty industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. The number of hairdressing, barbering and beauty businesses has gone up by 2% to 42,370 across the UK. They contribute almost £7.5 billion to the UK economy and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Indeed, you only have to take a look at today’s image obsessed society fuelled by our love of ‘celebrity’ to see why looking good is such big business and with UK hairstylists regarded as the best in the world there has never been a better time to progress your career.

Whether going to college or learning ‘on the job’ as an apprentice, acquiring the skills and techniques needed to become a hairstylist is only the beginning. Qualifications will get you onto the career ladder but it is up to you to progress that career in your chosen direction.

As in any industry, we all have to start somewhere and unfortunately there is no shortcut to earning big bucks. Success in the hair and beauty industry requires hard work, determination and drive but a good career in hairdressing can take you far beyond your local high street salon. Today hairdressing jobs exist just about anywhere from health clubs to hospitals, film sets to fashion shows. Here we take a look at some of the more lucrative career choices on offer together with their earning potential.

Be the Boss

Working your way up to management level or even owning your own salon is a great hairdressing ambition. Some salon owners, especially those in more affluent areas, command some impressive salaries and with relatively modest start up costs owning your own salon does not necessarily have to remain a pipe dream for ever.

Of course it will take time and lots and lots of hard work but at management level you will reap countless rewards. Financial incentives aside you will have a lot more responsibility and require a good head for the business side of the industry but do a good job and your reputation will without doubt precede you.

In the FROW

With today’s hair and beauty industry founded upon our modern day desire to look good it will come as no surprise that there are some very glamorous jobs on offer for hairstylists within the fashion industry. It will also come as no surprise that these jobs are few and far between but if you are lucky enough to secure one, the financial rewards and opportunities are impressive. If ‘fashion hair’ is to be your career of choice bear in mind that there is a lot of competition out there. During your training it is a good idea to take lots of photographs and use them to create a portfolio for prospective employers. You could also set up a website or a blog that features your work to get your name out there, distribute business cards at networking events and volunteer at local fashion shows as a free hairstylist. Remember you are your own best advert and it is what you do now that will define your career in the future.

Stage and Screen

Equally as glamorous are the careers that exist for hairstylists within the film and television industry and even on the stage. Not only are these sought after opportunities pretty lucrative but they also offer exciting travel prospects and so, once again, competition is fierce. Some stylists in this genre will undertake additional studies to learn the art of stage make-up or wig making with many securing regular work with celebrity clients, at film shoots and on set.

Hair Consultancy

A hair consultant is arguably one of the most important and certainly one of the most specialised jobs in the industry. To become a hair consultant, or trichologist, takes several years of intensive academic study but can prove a very rewarding and highly paid career choice. Hair consultants diagnose treat and care for the human hair and scalp dealing with problems such as hair loss and baldness in clinics all over the world.


As a qualified hairstylist you may opt to share your knowledge, skills and techniques with the next generation of hairstylists by pursuing a career in teaching. In addition to some advanced hairdressing qualifications, you will also be required to undertake some basic teaching qualifications in order to practice as a teacher in schools, colleges and even specialised training centres. Although not as highly paid as some of the more glamorous jobs we have looked at, teaching is a good consistent career choice for any talented hairstylist.


Another great career is to work for a manufacturer of hair related products. Manufacturers in the industry employ many qualified hairstylists in a variety of different roles. Additional training will be provided and you could end up working as a representative giving advice on a company’s products or tools, demonstrating and even selling products to hairdressers and retail outlets. Working for one of the industry’s market leaders will prove both interesting and financially rewarding.

But remember, whichever path you choose to follow to your dream hairstylist job you will need to focus on building and promoting your personal brand. The skills and techniques that you have already mastered are a great start but turning your passion for hair into a top paying career will take years of hard work and dedication but stick with it…because you’re worth it!