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What does a Hairdresser do?

By Erin Oxendine
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

Hairdressers cut and style hair. The stylist’s main goal is to make sure the customer is satisfied with his or her haircut. If the customer is pleased, this will help to ensure repeat business.

Most stylists have graduated from cosmetology school and obtained their cosmetology license. The stylist may start out working as an apprentice in a salon to get experience. The hairdresser may rent booth space from an established salon or have a private shop.

Barbers are also hairstylists and usually have men for clients. A barber gives haircuts, trims facial hair and shaves. Some additional services performed may include facials and neck massages. Treatments such as hair replacement and coloring may be available.

Cosmetologists usually perform a variety of personal services, including cutting hair and applying perms. The hairdresser often has to apply makeup and style hair. The hairdresser may have to give manicures and pedicures. Individuals may want to get their hair styled and their nails done at the same time. The stylist needs to know how to take care of the nails and how to use clippers.

Some hairdressers that work at salons may help with spa services. The hairdresser would need to be knowledgeable about the spa treatments. At some places, the stylist may help with body wraps or deep tissue massages. Advanced hairdressers sometimes specialize in skin care. Often, customers may want consultations regarding their skin, and hairdressers can recommend lotions, makeup and other products.

Hairdressers tend to work long hours to accommodate clients' schedules. Most stylists work weekends and evenings. The hairdresser has to be available for walk-in clients as well as those with appointments.

Bridal parties frequently book appointments with hairdressers. When this happens, the hairdresser may find him or herself working on several people at a time. The bride may need extra attention and want different services. This may require one or two hairdressers to help the bridal party.

Equipment such as hair dryers and scissors are used in salons, as well as flat irons and curling rods. Hairdressers need to know how to use these tools and be able to work on any type of hair. Stylists focus on making customers happy with their hair and overall experience. In the event the client is not pleased, the hairdresser will attempt to resolve the issue. The stylist should be able to work well under pressure and enjoy working with people.

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Discussion Comments
By anon220199 — On Oct 06, 2011

rubbish. you don't have to be fit.

By MissMuffet — On May 19, 2011

Always check that your stylist has special hairdressing insurance. I once suffered quite a bad skin reaction to a perm, and the salon paid for my medical care through their policy.

Nobody wants to go to a beauty salon and come out with green hair or a perm that drops within hours, but these things can happen. Rather safe than sorry is my motto.

By yumdelish — On May 18, 2011

@Windchime - The only other thing I think a hair stylist needs, apart from some form of natural talent, is to be physically fit.

They are standing for very long periods of time and that must be tough on their feet. Every hairdresser I've ever met has been rake thin, probably because they never have time to eat!

My grandmother uses a mobile hairdresser, which is a great service for people who can't get out of their house very easily. She actually works regular hours because most of her clients are elderly and prefer daytime appointments.

By Windchime — On May 16, 2011

I found this article really useful for my research project on jobs in the beauty industry. Hairdressing sounds a lot more complicated than I had thought it would be.

There must be a lot of pressure on them to create the image a customer has in their mind. Perhaps hairdressing schools also teach them some psychology!

I understand that a hairdresser needs to be okay with working anti-social hours, and be a people person. Are there any other qualities that are pretty much essential for success?

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