How to become a Hairdresser

Hairdressers cut, style, colour, straighten and permanently wave hair and provide clients with hair and scalp treatments. In most salons, the senior hairdressers and the more advanced apprentices cut and style hair. Apprentice hairdressers undertake routine tasks in the initial stages of employment, assisting senior hairdressers with preparing clients, shampooing, applying and removing simple hairdressing treatments, and sterilising and maintaining equipment. As apprentices gain experience they carry out more complex tasks under supervision.

Personal requirements of a Hairdresser

  • No allergies to hair products
  • Pleasant personality
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Good hand–eye coordination
  • Patient
  • Some creative flair
  • Attention to detail
  • Able and willing to follow instructions

Education & Training for a Hairdresser

To become a hairdresser you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Hairdressing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. You can also become a hairdresser by completing a VET qualification in hairdressing. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Duties & Tasks of a Hairdresser

Hairdressers may perform the following tasks:

  • talk to clients about their requirements
  • cut hair using clippers, scissors or razors
  • shampoo, condition and rinse hair
  • provide services such as colouring, bleaching, applying treatment, permanent waving (with chemical solutions), straightening and tinting
  • dry hair and style it using brushes, combs, straightening irons and other equipment
  • shave and trim beards and moustaches
  • advise clients on hair care
  • block (shape), clean, colour, adjust, curl and cut wigs and hairpieces
  • attend hairdressing seminars and training in order to keep up to date with new products and techniques
  • operate a cash register and computer
  • perform reception duties such as answering telephone calls and making appointments
  • sell retail products
  • maintain client records
  • clean the salon, work areas and equipment.

Working conditions for a Hairdresser

Hairdressers may be employed in women's, men's or unisex salons. They spend most of the day on their feet and are usually required to work staggered shifts to fit in with salon business hours. They have a high level of public contact, so they need to be well presented.

Employment Opportunities for a Hairdresser

Most hairdressers are employed in hairdressing salons, usually working with four to six people. Some work in large department stores. Hairdressers may also be employed as stylists for television, film, theatre or advertising agencies. Those with good retail skills (selling products or additional treatments) are particularly in demand. Many hairdressers, after a number of years working in the industry, set up their own businesses, enter into partnerships or teach hairdressing.

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