Hair Stylist: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

 

What Is a Hair Stylist?

As a professional hair stylist, you may work in barbershops, beauty salons or spas. Hairstylists, also referred to as hairdressers, provide a range of hair care treatments for both men and women, and they also give advice to clients for home hair care. Those that have their own business may take on clerical duties as well.

An overview of career details, including licensure and education, is highlighted in the table below.

Training RequiredState-approved cosmetology program
Key SkillsPhysical stamina, time management, attention to detail, creativity
LicensureState licensure is required to work as a hair stylist
Job Growth (2014-2024)*10% for all hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Might I Have as a Hair Stylist?

Your main responsibilities as a hair stylist will be trimming, shampooing, conditioning and styling hair for male or female clients. Some other services you may perform include scalp massage, facial shaving and hairpiece styling. As a licensed hair stylist, you’ll be able to give permanent waves, relaxers and bleaching or coloring treatments. Should your customers have questions regarding at-home hair care, they’ll turn to you for advice. If you become the sole proprietor of your own salon, you’ll also be in charge of managerial duties such as hiring workers, advertising, maintaining salon inventory and keeping business records.

What Is the Projected Career Outlook?

It was predicted that job openings for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists would expand between 2014 to 2024. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment would increase by 10% during this period. The increasing population and their desire for hair treatments and coloring services was expected to contribute to the employment growth. The BLS also indicated that a number of workers will leave the field, making job prospects favorable for newcomers. However, it was believed that employment at limited higher-paying establishments would have increased competition for employment.

What Education Prerequisites Should I Fulfill?

Hair stylists must complete a state-licensed program in a professional cosmetology or barbering school. Public vocational schools and community colleges also have cosmetology programs that can prepare you for a career as a hair stylist. Your certificate or diploma program can last nine months or longer and it could be applicable towards a 2-year associate’s degree. Cosmetology programs include topics such as hair coloring, communications, cosmetology concepts and hair cutting techniques.

Every state requires hair stylists to obtain licenses in order to practice. Individual states may have different licensing requirements, but generally you’ll need to be at least 16 years old with a high school diploma, along with a certificate, diploma or associate’s degree from a state-licensed and approved cosmetology program. If you have met those requirements, you can take the state licensing examination. The test should include written and oral sections as well as a practical portion allowing you to demonstrate your hair styling skills.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

People interested in hairstyling could also consider becoming barbers or cosmetologists, the former focused more on men’s hair care, and the latter focused on all-around beauty treatments and makeup. A skincare specialist and a manicurist/pedicurist are two other career options. All of these jobs require postsecondary education.

 Hot Tips for Hair Stylist Technical Interview

 Here are some hair stylist technical interview tips to help you land that perfect position.



 

Congratulations, btw, because you obviously made it through your interview!

Remember this stuff?

Good, because you are about to use it!

Why do they want you to do a
Hair Stylist Technical Interview?

So the manager can access your technical abilities, no matter what your level.

I have had new hair stylists shake all the way through it.  Nerves are to be expected, but you want to have some control over it or you will look like a total goof.

They know you are green but guess what, they are actually looking for other things in addition to your cutting abilities.

Seeing you on the salon floor gives them a lot of information about you.

Like, how do you look in their salon, how comfortable are you in your own skin, how are your consultation skills, do you pay attention to sanitation, are you respectful of the other stylists and your working environment, do you take constructive criticism, are you willing to learn, do you have an attitude toward authority, how do you treat the client in the chair, how is your time management, are you prepared?

Wow, are you surprised by all of this?  Good thing you checked this out before you went for your hair stylist technical interview, huh?

So now you have an idea what the manager is looking for. Let’s talk about what to expect and how you can kill it.

Preparations for your Hair Stylist Technical Interview

You have likely already had your face to face interview and the manager asked you to return for the hair stylist technical interview.

Hopefully, you took my advice and have your models ready and waiting.  A manager will usually ask you to bring a model because they have no idea what level skills you have and she doesn’t want to take a chance of jacking up one of their own clients.  We have discussed the value of a client and they are not willing to risk it.

Before the hair stylist technical interview you should have asked what she would like to see you do. Does she want you to do a simple haircut on a woman? Or on a man? Does she want to see your highlighting skills?  Knowing ahead of time what she would like to see will put you ahead.  It doesn’t need to be a guessing game.

If she was hoping to know how fast you are with highlights and you brought a male model, you have kind of shot yourself in the foot! You want her to get the best possible assessment of you. Make it easy for her and ask ahead of time.

Unless you are interviewing for a male salon, I suggest you take a female model so you can really showcase your skills.

Salon Manager:

Most technical interviews I do with new stylists leave me wanting more. I mean, I really want to “see” them….you know what I mean?

They will bring in a friend or their mother and timidly go through a cut. I see no consultation because they talked about it on the way to the salon. Then they do a quick blow dry and tell me they are finished.

I check the cut for accuracy and tell him or her that I will call them in a few days.

They pack up, thank me and leave.  But more times than not I am disappointed because I want to see a new stylist that has a real future in this business, and honestly I don’t see a lot of them.

Know your model’s hair.  Pre-plan together how you will cut her hair and know how to do that cut.  Practice on your mannequin if you can.

Style your model’s hair at least once before the hair stylist technical interview to be sure you know how. Discover the best tools for the job.

If she has bone straight hair maybe you should take your curling iron.  If she has frizzy hair bring your straightener.

And remember to bring the appropriate products you will need to finish the style for your hair stylist technical interview.

Bring all of the tools you will need and have them in a nice bag or case. Bring your own clips, brushes, blow dryer, flat iron, shears, razor, hand mirror (just in case there isn’t one at the station),  etc.

The salon should have neck strips at each station. Be sure to use them! They will also have a salon cape for you to use.

I would even suggest getting a can of spray equipment disinfectant.   This will prove your dedication to sanitation and concern for your clients.

Be dressed like a professional hair stylist that works in THAT salon.  This is so important I have to say it again.  Dress like THEM. Especially at your hair stylist technical interview you want to plant the seed in the manager’s mind that you are part of the team already.  You are an easy transition onto her salon floor.

Make sure that your model looks like a client that would be seen in that salon.  If it’s a funky downtown salon that caters to young professionals don’t bring your grandmother.

Every element needs to match for you to stand out.

Stand out in the hair stylist technical interview to insure your chair in the salon.

You and your model should go together to the salon instead of meeting there.  This is too important an opportunity to risk it.

What if your model is late?  It throws off the manager’s schedule and makes you rush through the hair stylist technical interview.  Then you are preoccupied with worry while you are doing the service.

What if she is early?  Then she is sitting in the lobby waiting on YOU and boy, that is no way to start!  Even if you are right on time it’s too late because all the manager sees is a client waiting on you to arrive.  That is a bad image.

Power Pose before you leave home to give you that needed boost of confidence.


Now you are there.
How to do a Hair Stylist
Technical Interview that
will win the manager’s heart.

You want to give the manager every reason in the world to hire you.

You want to showcase your strengths and show her how you will be an asset to her salon.

You do this by giving her more than she expects.

You are going to arrive at your hair stylist technical interview within a 10 minute window.  Anywhere from 10 minutes early to right on time.  More than 10 early and the manager may not be ready for you. Past the scheduled time and you are late.  If you show up late to an interview with me….we are done.  I won’t even do the technical. Think that’s hard ass? Not when it translates into salon life!  If you will be late to a job interview there is no doubt in my mind you would keep our clients waiting and homey don’t play dat.

The manager will tell you where to set up.

Now pay attention, because here is where we start the DAZZLE!

Most new hair stylists will take their buddy with them to the station while they set up, talking to them the whole time about being nervous or whatever.

Keep in mind that every, and I do mean every, thing that is said and done by you right now is being monitored.  I want you to show everyone that you are not THAT green and you are a true professional.

Treat your model as a client from the moment you walk into the salon!!!!

Ask your model to relax for a moment in the lobby while you set up your station.

Unpack your equipment. Make sure it is clean. Lay out your tools. Push your products to the side.  Do not clutter the station.  Keep everything neatly organized. (You want the manager to see that you work clean) Make sure you have neck strips and a cape available and ready.

When you bring your client back you want to get straight to work without having to hunt things down.

Ask the manager or the receptionist if it is alright to shampoo your client.  If so, ask where the towels are kept and where the soiled ones go. If she doesn’t want you to shampoo your model for some reason you will need a spray bottle.  ALWAYS cut the hair wet in your hair stylist technical interview because we know as cosmetologists that you get a more precise cut with wet hair than dry.

Believe me, new hair stylists, you are making an impression right now!

Take your purse and equipment bag to the reception desk and ask if you may leave them behind the desk while you are with your model.  Why?  Because in a salon no one keeps their belongings at the station.  Your bags may be in another stylist’s way or get in your own way. The best thing to do is take care of it. And it shows you are comfortable and confident.

Now that everything is organized, put away and ready, go to the lobby and get your model. Don’t stand on the salon floor and call her name or wave her over. Go get her and walk with her to the station.  Ask her to have a seat.

Do a consultation.  No matter what you have already decided to do with her hair, the manager needs to actually see you do a consultation so you can dazzle her. Got it?

Stand in front of your model so she is speaking to your face, not through the mirror. Eye contact is important in a consultation so the client feels “heard.”  Go behind the chair and repeat back to her what she just said she wanted.

Run your fingers through her hair as you describe the cut and style. This little bit of body language is establishing your credibility.

“Ok Lauren, great! Let’s go shampoo your hair first.  Follow me.”

Take your model to the shampoo area (some call it the Back Bar).  Make sure you put a towel around her neck to protect her clothing and have a dry towel ready. (Pay attention in the salon to what the other stylists are doing. Do they drape their clients before the shampoo or after? Are clients in the shampoo area wearing capes or not?)

Do a proper shampoo and condition with whatever is available at the back bar.  If you know the product line it is a good idea to say something positive about it as it shows you are already thinking about retail sales.

Towel dry her hair and wrap it for the walk back to the station.  Please make sure she does not have water dripping down her face or on the floor.

If there is any hair left in the sink, get it out immediately.  You want to leave everything clean behind you. You would be amazed how many don’t!

You are back at the station now. Drape her if she is not draped yet. Get as much water out of the hair as possible with the towel.  Comb it out and section.

Do You Have a Cutting System?

During a hair stylist technical interview I’ve noticed that some seem to take a lot longer than necessary. I wondered why. I discovered that many new hair stylists didn’t have a cutting system, meaning they didn’t have a beginning, a middle and an end. Therefore, they would get lost in a haircut and keep going over the same parts making the hair shorter and shorter.

The solution:  Know when to stop. Know when you are done by having your system.

Example of a Cutting System:

Beginning – Cut the perimeter

Middle – Cut a Mohawk strip from the front bang area to the nape. Connect the perimeter to the Mohawk strip.

End – Cross check and detail.

End of cut.

Do the haircut for your hair stylist technical interview. Work clean by using your clips and clean partings. Gently adjust the angle of your model’s head by using both hands to guide her.  It’s good to casually talk to her while you work.  Show the manager that you are comfortable being social. Smile and have fun! You are now a professional hair stylist doing what you worked hard for.

Try not to overthink the cut and know when to stop after you have cross checked your work.

Then style her hair and finish with the appropriate product.  Make sure your model is satisfied with the look.  If she has reservations the manager will spot it in a heartbeat.

Let the manager know when you are finished. 

Ready to Dazzle again?

Don’t wait for her to ask you, but start telling her what your client requested during the consultation. Use professional words like ‘consultation’, ‘long layers’, ‘shampoo’ (not wash), ‘texturized.’  Tell her how you delivered what your client wanted and tell her what products you used to achieve the look.

All of this makes you sound like a professional hair stylist!!

When the technical is over, have your model wait in the lobby while you clean up and pack.  Make sure to fully clean the station, sweep the floor and dispose of the soiled towels.  Leave the station cleaner than you found it.

How do you feel now?

If you did your hair stylist technical interview like this I can promise you that the manager is looking at you very favorably!  You definitely DAZZLED her.

Keep your attitude positive the whole time.  If she gives you any criticism, take it sincerely and thank her for her input. Note that you have a lot to learn and are anxious to do so.

And if the first one doesn’t pan out, don’t sweat it, because with these skills you will be behind the chair very, very soon!!  As a TSPA graduate, Any salon will be lucky to have you.

Be Amazing!

Selling Retail as a Cosmetologist Has Many Benefits

Why Selling Retail
in Your Salon is Your Job



Selling retail in your salon usually makes professional hairstylists gnash their teeth!  “Urgh……I don’t want to have to sell product, I’m an artist not a used car salesman.”

I get it, believe me I do.  It can be very intimidating, especially to new professionals.  I believe that cosmetology schools make an effort at addressing it but honestly how much practice do you really get with clientele there?  The reason folks go to beauty schools for services is because of cost.

The Impact of Selling Retail in Your Salon ……..to the SALON.

The 3 R’s of Why:

  1. Revenue
  2. Reputation
  3. Retention
The Benefit of a Shampoo Upsell: relax, precicion cut, moisture, feels good.

REVENUE! When stylists sell retail products it literally helps pay the light bill, rent, insurance, supplies, stylists, etc.

But there is another very important reason.  REPUTATION!  When a client walks out with product it increases their loyalty to the salon through a perceived professionalism.

Which leads to CLIENT RETENTION!  Every product sold to a client increases the likelihood they will return by 30% which makes a sustainable salon.

So you can clearly see that selling retail in your salon is important to keep the business growing.  Plus it is a much more economical way to increase business than additional marketing.  It is an organic way to build the salon.

Selling retail product for your salon is also a great way to make you a valuable asset to the team and keep your position secure.

Remember that as a professional hairstylist you are always either adding value to the salon or taking value away.

The Impact of Selling Retail in Your Salon……to YOUR CAREER.

It is the same for YOU, but even more so, because without YOU, the salon doesn’t get their 3 R’s.

Allow me to explain.

Let’s say that in a particular salon the stylists didn’t sell product, the receptionist did it.  The salon would not be perceived by the client the same way.  YOU are the one servicing the client and recommending retail for their specific concerns.  It is part of the service that makes you stand out as a professional.

And selling retail in the salon will go a long way in building a very loyal client base for one great reason.  Product makes you look like a genius!  Sure, you can tease their hair and give them some needed volume for a day, but what about tomorrow? They get the needed volume from PRODUCT.  When you are the one that sold it to them and showed them how to use it then YOU become the genius, not the manufacturer.

You recommending product and them purchasing it achieves your 3 R’s:

  1. It increases YOUR REVENUE!
  2. It gives much credibility to YOUR REPUTATION!
  3. It give you valuable client RETENTION that makes a sustainable career for YOU!