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Hair Stylist Duties and Responsibilities

Hair stylists take on a variety of duties depending on the salon they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, a hair stylist’s duties typically involve:

Discuss Hairstyle Options Hair stylists meet with each client to discuss the style that they want and which options are available to them depending on their hair type.

Cut and Dry Hair Once a style has been agreed on, hair stylists wash and color the client’s hair, if requested, then cut and dry it into the appropriate style. They may need to chemically alter the texture of the hair, or condition it if it’s in bad condition.

Inspect Hair and Scalp Quality Some customers may have hair or scalp conditions that require extra attention. Hair stylists inspect and analyze the client’s hair to recommend treatments that can help these conditions.

Accept Payments At the end of the appointment, hair stylists take payment for the haircut and provide the customer with any change.

Clean and Disinfect Tools Hair stylists maintain a clean and hygienic workspace by cleaning and disinfecting all tools, sweeping up any stray hair, and cleaning sink areas before the next shift.


Hair Stylist Skills and Qualifications

Hair stylists should be organized, have a creative approach, and have great interpersonal skills when working with other stylists and customers. Typically, employers require a high school diploma and a cosmetology license, as well as the following abilities:

  • Customer service – hair stylists work with members of the public all day, so it’s important that they maintain a polite disposition and a professional tone
  • Time management – hair stylists work by appointment, and following their schedule is important to ensure that all customers are seen at their reserved time
  • Organization skills – hair stylists work in busy salons with other stylists, so the ability to keep tidy and organized is important to maintain a professional workspace
  • Physical stamina – hair stylists spend long hours on their feet and need the stamina to maintain their energy throughout the day to complete their shifts
  • Listening skills – it’s important that hair stylists listen to what customers want and provide them with a style that meets their requests. Strong listening skills help clients feel as though their requests are being heard

Hair Stylist Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become a hair stylist is a high school diploma. Additionally, all states require hair stylists to be licensed; in order to gain this license, candidates must graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but typically candidates need to be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have graduated from a state-licensed cosmetology or barbering school.


Hair Stylist Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for hair stylists is around $28,000, according to PayScale. Hair stylists in the 10th percentile earn around $14,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $60,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach up to $4,000 from bonus structures based on individual or group performances, and commissions can reach up to $26,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow 13 percent through 2026. Medical and dental coverage are rare with this job, with only 20 percent of companies offering health insurance as part of their benefits package.


Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about becoming a hair stylist:

Confessions of a Hairstylist – this blog is a great starting point for hair stylists who want to learn more about styles, products, and hairstyle trends. From product reviews to style tutorials, it’s a useful site to stay up to date with the latest fashions

Hair Boss: A Hairstylist’s Guide to Owning their Career – this book provides helpful and practical advice that any prospective hair stylist can use to enhance and grow their career

Million Dollar Stylist: The Hair Stylist’s Roadmap to Financial Freedom, Building the Business of Your Dreams, and Doing What You Love – this guide helps readers transform their skills and passion for hair styling into a business to be proud of. For many hair stylists, the ultimate goal is to own their own business, and this book provides the foundations for creating a sustainable company

Fully Booked: The Hair Stylist’s Guide to Building a Client Attraction System That Works Fully Booked provides a comprehensive guide to building a system for attracting high-quality clients without constantly seeking them out