Jobs career info on hair stylists

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John Holmes is a senior stylist for ColourNation, a large West End hair salon. As an experienced member of a team of stylists, he helps clients decide on the right look for their lifestyle and personality, using a variety of techniques to achieve this.

How would you outline your role?

I find out about the client's requirements and agree on the style. Then I use my expertise to create the look, whether it is a cut, colour or hair extensions. I also advise on make-up and fashion to complement the hairstyle.

What are your main responsibilities?

Every day is different. I have approximately seven to eight clients a day. After the initial consultation, I do everything for the client, from washing their hair to cutting, mixing and applying colour, adding hair extensions and drying.

What hours do you work?

I work eight hours a day, five days a week, with flexible shifts from either 10am to 6pm or 12 noon to 8pm.

What is your working environment like?

It is modern, stylish and fashionable. The atmosphere is very pleasant and we have different music playing to suit the time of day. Although I prefer to work alone with my clients, I am still part of a team, which includes a receptionist and junior and senior stylists.

What special skills or qualities do you need for your job?

Obviously you need good technical skills, but these come with two to three years of experience. People skills – especially listening skills – are very important.

What training have you done?

I did my Apprenticeship in Greece, which covered all of the techniques and included various exams. It is the equivalent to a Diploma in Hairdressing.

Do you use any tools or equipment?

The main tools of the trade are scissors, brushes, clips, hairdryers and bowls, and for hair extensions we use a needle and thread.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy the creativity involved. You are learning all the time and meeting lots of different people. In a top salon, we are well paid, so even though you are on your feet all day and it can be tiring, the rewards are good. Not that this was my motivation – you shouldn't go into this business for the money as pay is fairly low when you are starting out.

How do you see your future?

Eventually, I would like to have my own salon or to work with magazines on photo shoots.

What are the particular challenges in your work?

Sometimes people can be difficult and this can be stressful. Some people want to know every move you are making; others like you to work in silence. So it's important to be sensitive to different people's needs.

John's route to a career as a hair stylist

  • High School Degree, Greece.
  • National Service.
  • National Academy Degree in Hairdressing.
  • Professional Practice Licence Senior Stylist.

John's hair stylist career tips

  • Always listen to your clients.
  • Make sure that you continue to learn.

Hair stylist related jobs

Hair stylist salary information

  • Trainee hairdressers earn around the minimum wage (about £7,900 for those aged 18 to 21 years).
  • Fully trained stylists may get from £10,500 to £16,000.
  • At the top of the profession, hairdressers can earn £30,000 or more.
  • Managers will usually start at around £16,000, rising to £35,000 running a major salon.

Jobs career info on hair stylists

  • After basic training, a career in hairdressing offers opportunities to specialise in new techniques. In addition, many hairdressers set up their own businesses or become self-employed.
  • There are no minimum qualifications to begin training as a hairdresser, although employers look for a high level of motivation, the ability to get on well with people and communication skills.
  • Most salon managers are trained hairdressers. Although there are no specific qualifications to become a salon manager, some of the larger hairdressing salon chains offer in-house management training.
  • There are two main routes to becoming a hairdresser – as an apprentice with day release at a college or training provider, or through full or part-time study at college.
  • NVQs/SVQs are available in Hairdressing at Levels 1 to 3. Apprenticeships may be available in England,Wales and Northern Ireland (Skillseekers in Scotland). HNC/HND or degree courses in hairdressing are available. Courses are offered at several universities and colleges throughout the UK.
  • Entry to a foundation degree course is usually through an Apprenticeship.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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