Job Description (What the job involves)

The hair industry is dynamic, creative, glamorous and fast paced and there are exciting opportunities for jobseekers in hairdressing.

A hairdresser performs wonders with our hair and have the ability to make or break our day. Our hair isn't called our crowning glory for nothing. Whether we go in for a trim, a re-style or a bit of pampering & a chat, hairdressers make us feel better about ourselves.

A fully qualified hairdresser would be expected to carry out the following;

  • Consultation. The consultation forms the most important part of any hairdresser's job, as the hairdresser has to listen well and determine correctly what the client is looking for. They then have to check the condition of their hair and scalp and look at the shape and size of their face to decide what style will best suit.
  • Wash/Blow Dry. Although it is mainly the trainess that shampoo and condition a client's hair, it's an essential part of the process. And of course blow drying and setting is an art form in itself and the icing on the cake.
  • Cutting & Styling. Probably the most common functions that a hairdresser performs; simple trim, full-restyle
  • Perming / Curling. Hairdressers can create bounce in an otherwise head of dead straight hair; curling, perming, waving
  • Colouring / Bleaching / Tinting. Sometimes only colour technicians will deal with dyes. But most hairdressers will be proficient. Typically clients will be given colour books to choose their chosen hue but a hairdresser will also be advising based on their natural hair colour if covering up grey hair and on their age and skin tones.

Hours and Working Environment

Hairdressers typically work in hair salons but some also work in department stores and aboard cruise ships. They often work 40 hours a week, frequently on a shift basis to cover late night and Saturday openings. A hairdresser should fully expect some early evening and weekend work.

It's hard work as you have to spend a long time standing and in busy salons may have back to back appointments.

Skills and Personal Qualities

  • Passion. To advance, stylists must have a passion for hair and be dedicated to their profession
  • Creativity. A good hairdresser will have strong, natural creativity and artistic streak.
  • Strong, Social Skills. Hairdressers have to be friendly and outgoing as most customer's will want to have a chat. Senior stylists often have their own client list and their personality is often important in gaining people's trust and making them feel comfortable in their presence.
  • Steady Hand. Hairdressers need to have a steady hand and a high degree of manual dexterity
  • Ability to Visualise Change. A hairdresser must be able to visualise how change to a person's hair will affect their overall appearance.
  • Stamina. Haidresser's spend a great deal of time standing and therefore have to be prepared to put up with sore feet and occasionally joint pain
  • Fashion Sense. It's important for hairdressers to have a keen sense of style and fashion, to what the latest trends are and even create some original styles of their own.

Entry Requirements

If you are looking to break into the hair industry there are a number of options for you to consider such as:

  • Trainee/Apprenticeship. If you are a college leaver and have an interest in hairdressing, then you may start your career as a trainee with a company who will invest time and money in training you to a recognised standard. In return you will need to demonstrate enthusiasm, ambition and a willingness to learn.
  • Receptionist. if you have good customer service skills, you may start your career as a receptionist with a hair salon. This will give you an excellent insight and provide you with the necessary skills to progress into management roles or may motivate you to become a trained stylist.
  • College. Train at college and gain an NVQ2 which is readily accepted as being the benchmark in the industry of a qualified stylist.
  • Sales Rep. If you have a sales background and an interest in the hair industry, there are excellent sales representative positions with leading hair care companies. Working from home and selling into hair salons and businesses is possible. This is an exciting and challenging career option

Opportunities and Progression

Most people who work in the hair industry have a real passion for their work and love what they do, and for good reason. Hair is very much in vogue at the moment with hairdressers enjoying a lift in kudos.

Most people entering this sector start as trainees who perform a vital role in answering phones, manning the reception, keeping the salon clean and clutter free, shampooing and conditioning hair, making drinks for clients etc. However it is during this period that they also learn the tools of the trade by observing and assisting senior stylists.

Once trained there are opportunities for hairdressers to specialise in cutting or dyes as a colour technician. Senior stylists can earn a good living and of course there are opportunities available to one day manage a salon, combining your technical skills with a flair for management of people and figures.

Many stylists simply enjoy the art of hairdressing and apply their skill and experience by working behind the scenes on fashion shoots and shows or even on TV!

And for those that love to share their passion and knowledge there are options to train in a college environment or with a product company, using your communication skills to allow others to benefit from your experience.

Hairdressers can also become self employed; as a mobile unit travelling to customer's homes, renting a chair in a salon or opening up your own salon. If you can raise the capital there are plenty of opportunities.


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Potential Salary and Benefits

Hairdressing trainees don't tend to be paid that well typically earning minimum wage. However, once they've served their period of apprenticeship the earnings really start to rise with a trained stylist earning between £9,000 and £14,000 a year and a Senior Stylist managing to earn over £30,000 per annum.

The great thing about hairdressing is that you are in control of what you earn. Each senior stylist builds up a client list and the more you strive to create perfection for each and every customer, the more satisfied your customers and the larger your client list and potential earnings.

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