Career Profile: Hairstylist
Hairstylists shampoo, cut, style and chemically treat hair. They may also provide other services such as scalp treatments and hairpiece services. In some jurisdictions, hairstylists may also provide additional services such as basic natural nail services, basic facial care and ear piercing.
To be a successful hairstylist, one must incorporate technical and interpersonal skills. Continuous personal and professional development and client retention are crucial for long-term success. Hairstylists may recommend styles based on trends, clients’ physical features and lifestyle. Critical thinking, questioning and listening skills are important to serve their clientele. Depending on the workplace, recommending and selling hair and skin products may be done by the hairstylist.
Hairstylists may work in hair salons, spas, barber shops, schools, hair replacement clinics, health care establishments, hotels, and in the cruise, fashion and entertainment industries. With experience, hairstylists may move into other positions such as salon managers, owners, fashion consultants, educators, platform artists and product sales representatives. Salons may specialize in services to either women or men, or both. Hairstylists may be remunerated through salary, commission, a combination of salary and commission or chair rental agreements. Some hairstylists work out of their residences where by-laws allow.
Hairstylists work with various tools and equipment including brushes, combs, shears, clippers, razors, hair dryers and thermal irons. They own most of their tools and must keep them sanitized, disinfected and maintained.
Some hairstylists specialize in areas such as cutting, hair extensions and chemical services. In addition, diversity across Canada requires specialization in ethnic specific services.
Hairstylists work in clean environments, though the chemicals that they use may irritate their skin and produce strong odours and fumes. Some physical considerations of this trade are long periods of standing, posture fatigue and repetitive motion. This may result in repetitive strain injury, back and foot pain, although ergonomic considerations may reduce these effects.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are: communication skills, personal interaction, coordination and manual dexterity, stamina, colour vision and depth perception. Respect, professionalism, teamwork, tact, discretion and creativity are important personal qualities. To keep current with trends and styles, hairstylists need to update their skills through trade shows and other educational venues. They must also understand and implement personal and public hygiene procedures to maintain workplace health and safety.