Why appearance is important for a career in hair and beauty

I remember when I first wanted to enter the industry, I was excited, nervous and unaware of the standards set in place for appearance. I just wanted to learn so much about it all. I had always visited salons and thought the therapist or hairdresser looked professional and always wanted to look like them, have a career like them!

Setting an impression in the industry and starting in your new career would start at college, learn all about the hair and beauty industry, meeting your tutors for the first time, they be setting a professional appearance, engaging in delivery of lessons and how appearance plays a big factor every day when at work or going to interviews for a new job, or meeting new clients’ for the first time.

I can still remember now 20 years on in my career, my college tutor coming to my first class to teach us, looking immaculate, pristine and glamorous from head to toe. That gave me my first insight that as a therapist learning all the skills and techniques needed, I wanted to be my tutor (beauty therapist) having the knowledge and appearance of a professional individual where clients’ would come to me and trust me on all beauty advice and treatments.

If you find that you are never too sure how to set that impression of appearance, then read on further……


If you are set to go on an interview for that dream job think about what first impressions, you want to make.

The industry is changing constantly and where you will find positions that require a certain image and a standard of how to appear for first impressions, this is changing on some degree with the alternative, as now depending on the job role and company in the hair and beauty industry you are wanting to go work for. Think about where you may want to work, be a fashionable salon/spa that likes you to stand out as an individual expressing your flare and creativity or it may be a salon/spa that has natural and flawless look all over their brand.

Research the company and see their type of staff, treatments they do, image and clientele they have, to know how to set that first impression of appearance.

Hair, makeup and nails –coming from an old school background I still follow these simple steps to help me. Hair, if its short, keep neat and tidy, long hair to be in a ponytail or bun, natural makeup and short clean nails. Clothing you have to consider to wear plain colour clothes no patterns, a suit or smart dress and jacket with no cleavage showing to make sure you set the right impression. Don’t forget to always have a clean ironed uniform or tunic on you as most interviews will require you to carry out a trade test at some point. Shoes, think what’s comfortable, sensible to walk in and professional, not high heels that you cannot walk in and that are dirty scuffed shoes!

Tattoos I would recommend to be discreet and not have on show as we are a nation in fashion of tattoos at present and this should not go against you in your interview, but think about your appearance and the impression you want to set.

Appearance in the salon/spa

Simple steps to follow with appearance in a salon/spa, is to remember the client comes to you because YOU are the professional setting an impression of trust, knowledge and they respect and look at you for advice on all advice on beauty and hair topics.

Uniform can all depend on the business you are in; you are the image of the salon/spa.

Salons and spas will have a set uniform or you will have the choice of what you can wear with set guidelines what you can and cannot wear.

Most salons and spas will provide you with a uniform and expect it to be washed regularly and ironed if needed depending on the material. So if you know you are a messy waxer or spray tanner wear an apron as looking unclean or creased does not set a professional standard!

Shoes play a big factor, being enclosed shoes they need to be smart and clean, flip-flops make sure you have neat pedicured toes, your client will look at your toes and if untidy they will not want to have a pedicure by you and then you. Everything you put on your nails and face represents the business by promoting and selling it.

Some business will have a different type of uniform, for example I remember walking into a spa in London and noticing all the therapists uniform was skinny blue jeans, white t-shirts, natural makeup with hair tied up in a ponytail and sparkly flip-flops, the image of the salon was a contemporary and relaxed feel, but still looking of a high standard.

Hair should be tidy and presentable, the clientele will look at your hair if you are a hairdresser by trade, they shall be confident in your skills knowing you create great styles.

Nails, if you are spa based they should be short, clean, tidy and not bitten this will put off a client in wanting to have a manicure with you! If you are a nail technician you should think about the latest trend, shape, colour and change this regularly depending on the time of year to showcase your skills.

Hygiene plays an important part with your appearance and job role you are in. You will carry out many treatments’ every day, in a close environment around your clients, they do not want to smell you! Have a clean uniform for everyday and shower/bath every day to prevent any embarrassment where your manager may have to have a “personal hygiene” conversation with you.

When eating at work think about what to eat that will not smell on your breath, a client will not want to smell curry or onion breath while having a relaxing facial and you breathing fragrant smells all over her!

Smoking on the job is a no no, most business will not allow you to smoke on the premises or even smoke when you are on a break, all clients being a smoker or not will smell cigarette breathe on you, if you think you can hide it with mints or spray, believe me this will not work. The smell will not only be on your breath but on your clothes, in your hair, the client will not want to smell that on you in the small space between you both during ANY treatment! Just chew on a mint all day and suck it up!