Home Explore Job Roles Hair Stylist / Barber (Hairdresser)

Job Description

Hairdressers and barbers are professionally trained to cut and style people's hair.

Usually working in a salon, they often work on a shift basis that can include weekend and early evening work, reacting to general customer demand or taking specific bookings from regular clients.  Hairdressers who work in a salons can be either 'salaried' employees or self employed professionals who 'rent a chair' -sharing a proportion of their takings with the business.

Starting out as a hair stylist will likely see you on a minimum wage, though completing your training and gaining experience could see you earning somewhere in the region of £16,000 per year.  New-starts, trainees and apprentices undertake tasks such as shampooing, washing off colours, sweeping hair, cleaning the salon, assisting the stylist with mixing up colours, taking telephone calls, booking appointments and taking taking payments.

As you increase in experience and qualifications you will become more involved in managing your clientele, cutting, colouring, hair-up, styling, and training assistants and apprentices.  As the industry diversifies, both barbers and hairdstylists might need to keep up with the expanding health and beauty industry by learning and offering additional 'spa' type treatments and services.

Barbers specialise in male grooming and offer additional services such as shaving and cutting beards and moustaches.  

There are more branches for the hair stylist career path than you might think.  You could work towards your owning and running your own salon or think about work on cruise ships.  You could be self employed and do home visits for different types of clients - people who find it difficult to get out for example.  Perhaps you you like the show atmosphere and want to work as a session stylist for the modelling industry, or in stage stage show productions - or how about working in further education to train the next wave of professionals?

Top hair stylists can earn around £30,000 a year whilst running your own business or salon, or providing bespoke hairdressing services to high profile clients or organisations.  This top-tier work can yield higher rewards based on how successful and in demand you are.  To get to this you will need creativity and flair with talent - both in your craft and for self promotion.

See the 'Career pathway' and 'Learn More' links on the Hair & Beauty page for local courses or check with your local college or Hair Stylist (for apprenticeships).  The LHAA also has some good information and tips about becoming a hair stylist / dresser / barber.

Entry Requirements

There are no set requirements. You may be able start work as a trainee in a salon with no formal qualifications and learn on the job.

You can also train to become a hairdresser either full-time or part-time at a college. Courses are offered as standalone hairdressing qualifications or are can be combined with related subjects like beauty, make-up and nails.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) has information about choosing hairdressing as a career.

Career Path and Progression

With experience you could become a senior stylist or salon manager. With suitable further qualifications, you could also move into training or assessing.

You could also open your own salon.

Other options include wig making, training in make-up techniques and working in the theatre, film and television industries.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Nail technician
  • Beauty therapist
  • Image consultant
  • Make-up artist

National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE.  Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.

Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.

Required Skills

  • Customers service and money handling skills
  • Ability to make clients feel at ease
  • Passion and interest in the industry 
  • Commitment to honing and continually developing your skills  

Starting Salary

£14,000 to £30,000

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