Having a sparkling personality helps in any career, but in hairdressing it's a must-have, as being sociable and having a good rapport with your clients is the ultimate key to success.
So if you're bang on trend and love to natter, then hairdressing could be the job for you.
So, what will I actually be doing?
In a nutshell, making customers look amazing by advising, cutting and styling their hair. And it's a lot of pressure, get it wrong and your customers are wearing hats for a month.
Trained hairdressers will be expected to carry out any of the following tasks depending on their clients’ needs:
- Washing hair
- Cutting and styling
- Colouring hair
The nitty gritty
Most hairdressers are based at a salon where the hours will vary but are usually between 9am and 6pm. Hairdresser jobs often require working six days a week; Saturday is usually the busiest day and you may have to work late.
If you're looking at being your own boss, self-employed stylists can hire a chair from a salon and will have more control of when they work, while mobile hairdressers visit their clients at home and often work in the evenings or at weekends.
Money, money, money
Trainees should brace themselves for a few financially lean years as newcomers earn little more than the basic wage. Once you’ve bagged your NVQ Level 2 you can start earning between £9k and £16k, while NVQ Level 3-qualified senior stylists can earn up to £30k.
See what people are earning in this job
The good points...
“The social aspect,” says Andrew. “The fact that I get to talk about a large variety of subjects with people from many different backgrounds, work environments and classes. There are many other good things about my job, such as the freedom to be creative (if the client is open to it), and the chance to create my own schedule as I’m self-employed.”
...and the bad
“When you move salons, either across the country or even just across town, you can lose a number, or even all, of your clientele. I have moved from my hometown of Bournemouth to the USA, back to England, Cornwall first and then up to Bristol during my career. Each time I have had to start completely from scratch.”
Also, don't be fooled into thinking it's all cups of tea and banter with the customers, this can be a tiring job as you're on your feet all day.
Is there study involved?
You may be surprised to hear that stylist to the stars Trevor Sorbie does not have a single qualification as a hairdresser and learnt his trade on the job. You aren’t legally required to have any qualifications to work as a hairdresser in the UK, however, you will find it extremely difficult to get work without some training.
Most hairdressers are qualified to a minimum of NVQ 2. Andrew has an NVQ 2 and 3 plus a teaching qualification which means he can train and assess hairdressing students. NVQ 4 is the highest hairdressing qualification and it enables you to take on a more managerial role.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
“I was told once that if you have a fantastic flair for hair and a mediocre personality, you will never be as busy a stylist as someone with a great personality and a mediocre talent for hair,” says Andrew Sutherland a hairdresser in Bristol.
As well as being chatty and socialable, a strong creative streak is also essential, as is stamina (you’ll be on your feet all day), an interest in fashion and a passion for the industry.
Other hairdressing must-haves are:
And having great vision, strong diplomatic skills and a good sense of style will keep you one step ahead.
As you move up in the hairdressing world, there's plenty of progression opportunities, including:
- Colour technician
- TV hair stylist
- Salon manager
- Hairdressing lecturer/assessor