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How to Become a Hairdresser

We’re pretty sure that you know exactly what a hairdresser is. Also known as hairstylists, they specialise in cutting, colouring and styling people’s hair in a way that complements their f...

How to Become a Hairdresser

We’re pretty sure that you know exactly what a hairdresser is. Also known as hairstylists, they specialise in cutting, colouring and styling people’s hair in a way that complements their features such as skin complexion and face shape in order to enhance their overall appearance. 

However, there is so much more to being a hairdresser than just cutting or styling hair. The basic hairdresser job description includes responsibilities beyond hair treatments such as maintaining the cleanliness of the salon and equipment, looking after the inventory of hair products, collecting payments and ensuring that the clients receive exemplary customer service in an orderly and timely manner.

Most hairdressers possess a vast range of skills, but some might choose to specialise in particular treatments and styling techniques. Choosing a specific area of expertise could help you stand out from other hairstylists and put you in higher demand as a consequence. Some of the treatments that aren’t usually considered to be standard include the following:

  • Specific colouring techniques e.g. balayage
  • Artificial hair extensions and weaves
  • Chemical relaxing / keratin straightening
  • Traditional or modern perms
  • hair extension styling
  • Braiding 
  • Occasion styling e.g. weddings
  • Scalp treatment
  • Hot oil treatment
  • Detox treatment
  • Hair glossing

A hairdressing career appeals to many because of its flexible working hours and the ability to work mobile. All you need to provide a service is the right qualifications, some sterile working space, your tools and your creative mind! 

However, if you prefer working around a more established routine, a hair salon would typically expect that you work 40 hours per week, between 9am-6pm with a day off during the week to make up for the Saturdays that you’ll most likely be asked to cover. For those who can’t fit in a full-time role around their other commitments, but still appreciate having a regular working pattern that working in a hair salon offers, part-time hours are normally available.

What qualifications do I need to become a hairdresser?

The most desirable UK qualification is an NVQ - National Vocational Qualification. Passing a Level 2 course will help you start out as a Junior Stylist. To be considered a Senior Stylist, alongside your experience, you will require a Level 3 qualification.
Some salons offer accredited training or apprenticeship schemes that help you gain your qualifications while on the job, but you should usually be prepared to continue working for the salon for some years after your training is completed or pay back the entire cost of your studies. Be sure to understand exactly what is required from you before entering any such schemes.

To become an apprentice, you can contact the National Apprenticeship Helpline on 0800 150 600 or visit www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship to find a scheme in the UK.

You could also study Hairdressing Level 2 or 3 Diploma at college. The entry requirements for those courses typically include 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent for a Level 2 course or between 4-5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a Level 3 Diploma. These courses can usually be combined with other subjects such as beauty therapy, make-up and nails for those who’d like to develop a broader area of expertise.

You may also want to consider taking an accredited short course with a Professional Beauty Direct Accredited Trainer.  Details of approved training schools can be found on our website.  Accredited courses give those who cannot afford to take a year out to attend college the ability to gain recognised qualifications at a faster pace, with the peace of mind of knowing that they will be able to get insurance to work once qualified.

Aside from official qualifications, a good hairdresser will possess additional key skills, which include a willingness to stay on top of industry trends and learn new techniques, awareness of the ever-changing fashion trends, great customer service and social skills and perhaps above all, creativity. 

How much do hairdressers earn?

One of the very first questions most people ask themselves when considering starting a new career is, ‘how much can I get paid?’

Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer when it comes to the hair and beauty industry. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered such as seasonality, the impact of inflation on treatment prices, travel costs for mobile stylists and the size of the hair and beauty sector.

To get a rough idea of the earnings in the hair and beauty industry, we have looked at the statistics provided by the National Careers Service

The official information suggests that the average salary for a Junior Stylist just starting work is around £14,000 a year. A more experienced and qualified hairdresser can earn up to £30,000 a year on average.

Hairdressers that are in high demand, such as celebrity hairstylists or those that offer specialist hair treatments, can look forward to a significantly higher payday. The basic salary that a hairstylist can expect to earn will also vary depending on their location. For example, a known, well-established salon in Central London will most certainly make more money in any given year than a small, family-run hair salon in a rural town. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the service provided in a smaller shop is inferior to that of a big city establishment, but the price of treatment and number of clients coming in for appointments on a daily basis will differ considerably.

To get a better understanding of how much hairdressers make in your area, we suggest that you take a look at local job advertisements for your qualification and experience level. Your college or private course tutors could also provide you with a more accurate estimation of your earning potential.

Insurance for Hairdressers

As a qualified professional hairdresser or even as a student hairdresser, you need to make sure that you are insured for the different types of treatments that you offer to your customers. 

Although it may seem that providing hair styling and treatment services is a pretty straightforward process, accidents can and sometimes do happen. After all, your most crucial tool is a pair of sharp scissors.  Most people understand why it’s important to keep still while they’re getting their hair cut, but you can’t account for every single customer, least of all children.

Other risks include allergic reactions to products used during treatments.  In most cases, this can be avoided by completing a patch test but people can build up sensitivities to hair dye over a period of time, showing just how important regular patch testing is.   You may also experience a claim from infections as a result of unsterile equipment or personal injury from a slip or a fall. Whatever it may be, it’s best to keep all of your bases covered.

If you're looking to find cover to protect yourself from claims including hair dye reactions, Professional Beauty Direct offers comprehensive salon insurance, hairdressing insurance cover, and beauty therapy cover to keep your business safe from as little as £42.50 per year, including Insurance Premium Tax, for a self-employed hairdresser who works mobile, from home or rents a chair in a salon.  

Call our friendly and knowledgeable team for a quote today on 0345 605 8670 or use our online quote and buy system at www.professionalbeautydirect.co.uk.

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