Important Customer Skills Every Hairstylist Needs

Hairstylist with customer, practicing customer service skills

Your thrilling journey to becoming a hairstylist begins with your education. Not only will you learn technical skills about becoming a hairdresser, but you’ll also learn about the importance of customer service skills. You will learn all of the technical skills and styling methods you will need to become a certified stylist.

In addition to these skills, all hairdressers need interpersonal skills. One of the most important skills is customer service. You must be approachable, exhibit strong communication skills, perform under pressure, know basic math, and be a team player.

What Kind of Skills Do I Need?

First of all, social skills and customer service abilities are necessities as a hairstylist. Personal communication skills come naturally to some, but are difficult to develop for others. Thankfully there are ways to strengthen customer service skills. Let’s take a look at some of the customer service, personal interaction, and social communication skills you will need to consider along with your formal training.

Be Approachable

If you are continuously upbeat and cheery, this one will be easy for you. However, if you are someone who isn’t quite so sunny, this skill might seem a little more difficult. Here are some things to remember when you are working with clients.

Warm and Inviting Demeanor

To begin, it is important to check your non-verbal communication. What do your facial expressions and hand gestures relay to your customers and coworkers? Do your best to have body language that is warm and inviting. This will help people relax around you and feel more comfortable opening up to you.

Positive Attitude

Cynicism and pessimism aren’t attitudes that inspire confidence, particularly when working with people’s appearances. This is particularly comforting for clients who come to you with a crisis. A good attitude can also help you deal with challenging co-workers.

Intentional Appearance

The definition of “professional appearance” varies from location to location. Furthermore, it can depend on the region that you live, the salon that you work in, and is also influenced by trends and personal taste. However you dress, make sure that you are dressing with intention. Make sure that all clothing is functional for the work you will be doing, as well as appropriate for the environment.

Exhibit Strong Communication Skills

Speaking to people is a difficult skill to master, whether it is to one person, a recorded video to post online, or a massive audience. The communication skills you will need as a hairstylist are important to master, but can also take some practice. Here are the areas of customer service and cooperative communication that are a good place to start.


Having confidence doesn’t mean having an ego. However, it can be hard to approach a hairstylist that is constantly doubting their skills. Practice and persistence are the way to build the confidence you will need to not second-guess yourself in a communication crisis. If your technical knowledge is solid and your skills are sharp, you will have a much easier time putting your clients at ease.


You will encounter many different people over the course of your career as a hairstylist. They will have different personalities, different backgrounds, different ways of communicating and different personal style preferences. All of these things will all play a part in how the customer communicates with you and how your communication is received by them. Being compassionate and understanding of someone else’s position will help you resolve conflict more easily while also helping you understand where your customer or co-worker is coming from.


Clear, direct communication is not always easy. Particularly when you have to deliver news that you know your client, employer, or co-worker may not be thrilled about hearing. It can be easy to hide behind vague language and hope that no one notices. However, clear communication is important and shouldn’t be shied away from just because it can be uncomfortable. Clear communication is a skill that will help you set expectations, define boundaries, and negotiate terms with clients and co-workers.

Ability to Perform Under Pressure

Anxiety and nervousness are feelings that many of us experience when we are under pressure. These high-tension conditions can create stress and make it difficult for us to do our jobs. However, there are some things that can help you minimize your workplace anxiety, even if you are someone who is nervous.

Adopt a Policy of De-Escalation

It doesn’t matter what kind of genius hairstylist you are, there will come a day that you have an angry client. You can be an absolute hair wizard and still end up with a customer complaint. You will likely even encounter a client or two who sits down in your chair already upset. These situations can feel like the pressure to perform is at its highest, because the consequences of failure are real. However, it is in these moments of heightened tensions that you can choose to remain calm. This will pressure your client to improve their tone and mood. Taking a few deep breaths can help you reset. Your calm demeanor won’t always improve the client’s mood, but it helps you remain reasonable and professional with people who are difficult.

Prioritize Time Management

Knowing how long various tasks take to complete is essential to minimizing your professional hairstyling stress. Your clients will be happy that their appointments feel calm and your co-workers and employers will be happy that you aren’t interfering with the flow of any other appointments. By simply being aware of and managing your time, you can avoid frustrating your clients and inconveniencing the people you work with.

Mastery of Technical Skill

The more at ease you are with the tasks you are doing, the less anxiety you will have about doing them. Practicing your techniques and revisiting the basics can be a great place to start. You might also think about taking additional classes to reinforce and expand your skills. This will help you be more comfortable, but it will also help your clients reach a greater satisfaction with your service.

Basic Math

You don’t need a degree in applied mathematics or a working knowledge of calculus to be a successful hairstylist. However, basic math is a skill that anyone in a customer service field needs. Lucky for us, we have tools that help us manage the areas we may struggle in. Here are just a few of the professional reasons to work on your arithmetic.

Time Calculation

If you ever hope to appropriately manage your time, you must be accurately calculating it. You will need to be aware of the time it takes to complete a scheduled appointment. If you are someone who struggles with time calculation, you will need to spend extra time preparing for your appointments. You may also use a timer to help you stay on schedule.

Service, Product, And Merchandise Pricing

If you help manage, own, or run a salon then pricing and calculation will be a significant part of your job. You will also need this math skill as an independent hairstylist. For example, you need to determine the cost of products and services, while also factoring in general market prices. Balancing the cost is crucial to financial success. So, while the math required to price a service or a product isn’t terribly difficult, it is important that it’s accurate.

Contractual Logic

Again, you must know what numbers you’re working with. The math behind employment agreements applies to every area of employment. Whether you work at a well-established salon or self-employed, you will need to know what kind of investment-to-benefit ratio you are agreeing to.

Regardless of your specific professional goals, you are going to need to understand all contracts you sign. You also need to know what you are held financially responsible for, as well as what kind of financial incentives and opportunities. Knowing how to weigh your options in factual numbers will keep you from being taken advantage of. It will also help you recognize a lucrative opportunity when it presents itself. Knowing how to weigh the expenses and/or financial penalties of a job offer will help you spot the difference between someone who values your talent and someone who is looking to exploit it.


Teamwork is a customer service and general skill that can take you a long way in the hairstyling industry. It can be easy to disappear into your goals while ignoring the way you are impacting those around you. Take time out to remember that there is a person in your chair. Don’t forget to consider the people you work with as you do your job. Healthy competition can be a positive driving force behind progress and innovation. Just make sure that you are balancing your drive to compete with a teamwork mentality.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about the importance of customer service as a hairstylist interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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