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Job Photographs

  • A lady is standing up, blow-drying another lady's hair in a hairdressing salon.

    Hairdressers wash, condition, blow-dry, cut, style, perm, straighten and colour hair. This hairdresser is blow-drying some long hair, which is quite a lengthy task.

  • A lady is standing up, cutting another lady's hair in a hairdressing salon.

    Cutting hair is a skilled task.

  • Two ladies are sitting next to each other and talking, in a hairdressing salon.

    Discussing hair styles and treatment with the customer.

  • Two ladies are standing either side of a counter in a hairdressing salon.  One of the ladies is handing the other a card-payment machine.

    Hairdressers take payment from customers and book appointments.

  • A man is standing behind a row of sinks in a hairdressing salon.  He is using a hose to wet the hair of a lady who is sitting and leaning back over one of the sinks.

    Washing hair is often part of an apprentice hairdresser's duties.

  • A lady wearing an apron is standing in a hairdressing salon. She is holding a section of a seated lady's hair.

    Putting highlights into the customer's hair.

  • Two ladies are standing inside the entrance to a hairdressing salon.  One lady is helping the other one to put her coat on.

    Customer service skills are very important in hairdressing.

  • A man is using a long-handled broom to sweep up some hair trimmings on the floor of a hairdressing salon.

    Apprentices usually tidy and sweep up.

  • Hair Stylist

Hair Stylist


Hair Stylists wash, condition, blow-dry, cut, style, perm, straighten and colour hair. They might also advise clients about hair products on sale in the salon, carry out reception duties and deal with payments. Some Hair Stylists are self-employed.

Also known as

  • Stylist, Hair

Video: - Barrie: Hairdresser

Video: - Nicky: Barber

Video: - Nelson: Assistant Hairdresser

Video: - Shaun: Hair Stylist

Video: - Mel: Hair Colourist

Video: - Johnny: Hair Salon Owner

Work Activities

As a Hair Stylist you must first find out from your clients what they would like to have done to their hair. You can also suggest suitable treatments. Your work will involve shampooing, conditioning, cutting, styling, blow-drying, straightening and setting hair.

You might also perm, colour and lighten hair, or diagnose problems with the hair and scalp. Men's Hair Stylists (known as Barbers) also trim beards and moustaches. Some specialist Hair Stylists fit wigs.

You will advise clients about products on sale in the salon and carry out reception duties, if necessary. You might also serve tea and coffee to their clients.

In a small salon, you might do all the tasks on their own. In larger salons, where there are several members of staff, a trainee might assist the more senior Hair Stylists, by washing hair, making drinks, sweeping the floor and washing towels.

You need to be aware of new trends, techniques and treatments in hairdressing.

As a Hair Stylist working in television and theatre you will normally have experience in make-up as well.

Some Hair Stylists specialise in, for example, working with African-type hair, using techniques such as pressing, braiding, weaving and attaching hair extensions.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Hair Stylist, you will need:

  • to be friendly and polite
  • to work quickly and well with your hands, doing detailed work
  • a creative and artistic sense
  • an eye for colour and form
  • to keep up to date with new trends, products, techniques and methods of hairdressing
  • a neat, tidy and well-groomed appearance
  • to be fit and able to stand for a long time

The use of treatments that contain chemicals might affect you if you have sensitive skin. In some cases, the treatments can cause problems for people with allergies, so you need to be aware of health and safety.

A driving licence would be useful if you work as a mobile Hair Stylist.

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £12,000 - £14,000
  • With experience: £14,500 - £16,000
  • Senior Hair Stylists earn £19,000

Hours of work

As a Hair Stylist you will usually work up to 42 hours a week, which normally includes working on Saturdays. Late finishes on one or two evenings a week might also be required.

Opportunities for part-time work are usually available.

Where could I work?

Employers are hairdressing salons, which could be one-person businesses or might employ several people. Other employers are department stores, luxury hotels, health hydros, hospitals and cruise ships.

Hair Stylists could also take on lecturing or tutor roles in, for example, further education (FE) colleges or work based learning training providers.

Opportunities for Hair Stylists occur in towns and cities throughout the UK. There are also international opportunities for trained Hair Stylists.


Opportunities occur for experienced Hair Stylists to become self-employed, either by becoming a freelance Hairdresser - visiting clients in their homes, or by renting a chair in a large salon.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers and trade industry magazines, on job boards, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.

Vacancies can also be found on the websites of large hairdressing chains, luxury hotels, health spas and cruise ships.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

There are no set entry routes into this career. However, various vocational BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications are available and could help you to get into this career - see below for more details.

It can be very useful experience to have a Saturday job in a Hairdresser's or you may study a related vocational subject in school. This gives an insight into the work of a Hair Stylist and should be helpful when applying for training or a college course.


New entrants normally train in the workplace full time and/or with day-release at college.

There is a wide range of full- and part-time courses at both further education (FE) and private colleges. Colleges organise work experience placements with local employers, or they might have their own salon on-site.

NVQ diplomas in hairdressing are available at levels 2 and 3. You might be able to do these as part of an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Some manufacturers of hair colouring and styling products might also offer short courses to introduce Hairdressers to new products and skills.

If you would like some more training, City & Guilds offer a level 2 qualification in hairdressing. The units you could be studying include:

  • principles and practises of hairdressing and barbering services
  • shampooing, conditioning and treating the hair and scalp
  • cutting hair using basic techniques
  • styling, setting and dressing hair
  • colouring and lightening hair

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working as a Salon Assistant in a salon would be really useful for this career.


Foundation degrees and HNDs in hairdressing and salon management are available. These are useful if you are planning on developing your career further within the hairdressing industry.

Some Hair Stylists progress to become Senior Stylists or Salon Managers. Hairdressers could also take on lecturing roles in, for example, FE colleges.

Some choose to become self-employed, which might involve setting up their own salon, renting a chair in a salon, or visiting clients in their homes. The Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation (FHBF) provides information on setting up and managing a hairdressing business, as well as ongoing training.


Often, educational qualifications are not required for entry to colleges and training schemes - enthusiasm and the right personality are considered more important.

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

Various vocational BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications are available, including:

  • BTEC level 1 and level 2 - 'hairdressing' and 'hair and beauty' and 'hairdressing services'.
  • BTEC level 3 - 'professional hair and beauty make-up'
  • City & Guilds level 2 and level 3 - 'hairdressing and barbering'

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


Some entrants have gained relevant skills and abilities as a hairdressers' assistant in a salon.

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and Advanced Level Apprenticeships in Hairdressing might be available in your area.


Relevant college and work based learning courses are available by part-time evening or weekend study.

Colleges and work based learning providers will usually consider applications from candidates who don't meet their usual entry requirements. Check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

There are refresher courses for those returning to hairdressing work.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400



Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000



City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468




Awarding organisation for hairdressing and beauty

Address: Prysmian House, Dew Lane, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO50 9PX

Tel: 02380 684500




Tel: 020 8994 4141



Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia)

Address: Oxford House, Sixth Avenue, Sky Business Park, Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster DN9 3GG

Tel: 0845 6123555




Tel: 07981 356730



Northern Ireland Hairdressers' Association

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: 221-223 Woodstock Road, Belfast BT6 8PQ

Tel: 028 9045 5740



Freelance Hair and Beauty Federation (FHBF)

Address: Head Office, The Business Centre, Kimpton Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 0LB

Tel: 01582 431783



Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844


Skills Active

Address: 2nd Floor, 8 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7SH

Tel: 0330004 0005


The Hair Council

Address: 30 Sydenham Road, Croydon, CR0 2EF

Tel: 020 8760 7010


National Hairdressers’ Federation

Address: One Abbey Court, Fraser Road, Priory Business Park, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK44 3WH

Tel: 01234 831965



How to become a Barber



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