Hairdresser

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Hair stylist

Hairdressers cut, style and colour clients’ hair to create the look they want.

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You could get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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You can take a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Hairdressing.

You may be able to combine these courses with other subjects like beauty therapy, make-up and nails.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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You can do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in hairdressing, or a creative hair professional advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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You may be able start work as a trainee hairdresser in a salon and learn on the job. Your employer would expect you to take qualifications part-time, either at a college or in their own training school.

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Career tips

You may be able to work freelance and rent space in a salon, though you may have to supply your own equipment.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in hairdressing from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority and National Hairdressers’ Federation.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

As a junior hairdresser, you’ll:

  • welcome customers
  • shampoo and condition hair
  • cut simple styles
  • make sure towels and hair products are well stocked
  • keep the salon clean and tidy
  • make appointments

As a more senior hairdresser, you’ll:

  • talk to clients about what they want
  • suggest style ideas
  • cut and style hair
  • colour, curl or straighten hair
  • give advice on minor hair and scalp problems
  • take payments
  • order stock and promote products to customers
  • keep up to date with new trends, techniques and hair products

Working environment

You could work in a salon, at a client’s home, at a health spa, at a store, at an adult care home or on a cruise ship.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

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With experience you could become a senior stylist or salon manager. With further qualifications, you could also move into training or assessing student hairdressers.

You could also open your own salon.

Other options include wig making, training in make-up techniques and working in the theatre, film and television industries.