Just graduated from high school or contemplating a career change into cosmetology? It can be exciting when you decide to take the plunge. The beauty industry is innovative and resilient, but you may still have some questions and apprehensions about becoming a hairstylist. Are you wondering if it is a good idea to begin your transition into a new career field? Interested in what the learning process might look like, how long it will take, or if you are cut out to be a hairstylist at all? Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about becoming a hairstylist.
Are Hairstylists in Demand?
The demand for hairstylists and barbers is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the market is projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028. The constant innovation and continued evolution of cosmetology and beauty have opened a lot of doors within the industry to have a successful career in hair. The only thing holding you back from achieving your goal of beginning your exciting new career in hair is the right training, the proper license, and the ambition to succeed.
What is the Education Commitment for a Career as a Hairstylist?
The education you will need to become a licensed hairstylist is not nearly as big of a time commitment as many other career options. Where other career fields require a traditional college degree that can take up to 4 years to complete, becoming a fully licensed hairstylist can happen in less than a year. For your best chance at success you will want to fully research all of your education options before making a decision. Finding a program that fits your lifestyle is important. Also, working with experienced industry instructors will help with the transition to a career as a hairstylist.
What Kind of Jobs are Available?
You may think that the term “hairstylist” means only one thing. However, a hairstylist is actually an umbrella term for a lot of different cosmetology professions. Hairstyling can have a lot of different focuses depending on the hairstylist in question. Let’s take a look at some of the areas of beauty a licensed hairstylist might choose to focus their career on.
Cutting hair is probably the most common association with being a hairstylist. This is the part of the process where scissors, clippers, and razors are used to tailor and shape hair. Any good hairstylist can cut hair into a variety of customizable styles. You will need to know how to deal with many hair textures, lengths, and head shapes in order to help your customers achieve the looks they want.
A colorist is a hairstylist who specializes in using a combination of chemicals and hair coloring to change the color of a client’s hair. This can include subtle, well-blended highlights and gray coverage to extremely saturated color streaks and ombré color transitions. The sky is the limit when it comes to creative hair color possibilities. It all depends on your client’s personal aesthetic style preferences and the condition of the hair they want to color. This subsection of hairstyling requires a lot of attention to detail and precision.
There are a lot of different reasons that a client might seek a professional hairstylist to help style their hair. They may have a special event, wedding or prom that they want to look special for. The client may want assistance with a long-term hairstyle, such as braids or dreadlocks. You may be called on to help create looks for television and photo shoots. Whatever the exact task may be, this type of stylist has a primarily focused on the physical manipulation of the hair itself. This can involve heat treatments including curling and straightening, twisting, and pinning hair into a certain style. It can also include chemical styling changes that alter the overall texture of the hair, such as perming and relaxing hair.
Synthetic Hair Work
Synthetic hair is becoming a very popular option for clients who want to drastically change their looks quickly or frequently. Hairstylists are becoming more interested in and aware of synthetic hair options. The kind of synthetic hair a client wants depends on how permanent or temporary they want their hairstyle changes to be. Wigs and extensions can be different lengths, textures and colors. This gives a client unlimited amounts of looks to choose from. Extensions (sometimes also referred to as weaves) can range from temporary clip-in options that are easily changed and removed to more permanent options that are glued or sewn into the client’s natural hair. If you want to focus on synthetic hair, it is important that you instruct your clients on the proper ways to secure, care for, and wear artificial hair.
Social media probably isn’t something that that is immediately associate with the hairstyling profession, but online opportunities to make a career in cosmetology are growing. Creative influencers can now make careers based on their passion for hair styling and creativity. These careers are financially facilitated through advertisements and product endorsements. These Internet based beauty career paths can be risky and require a lot of dedicated commitment to get started, but they are also lucrative and extremely rewarding for those who are able to use their creativity to make a name in the industry.
Using education to teach others is a fantastic way to put your skills, talents, and knowledge to use helping others achieve their goals. You may want to take the traditional route of educating people through the licensing process in the same way that you were. You may also consider setting up online tutorials for people at home who want to better their haircare or learn new styles. Being a licensed hairstylist gives you a credibility in online education that is often lacking in beauty tutorials. A license could help set you apart from amateur enthusiasts by giving you an authority they don’t have within the industry.
What Kind of Skills are Needed to be a Successful Hairstylist?
Along with the skills learned during professional education there are certain social skills that are important when working as a hairstylist. Here are a few of the people skills you will want to strengthen and/or develop.
Good Listening Skills
Being a good listener is important in almost every professional field, but it is especially important in beauty professions. When a client wants a change in their hairstyle it is important that you understand the look they are going for so that you can help the client find the best way to achieve their goal. It can be tempting to tune people out or to focus on what you want to say while someone else is speaking, but it is important that you actively pay attention to what your clients are saying when you are speaking. This will allow you to fully understand the client’s vision and give them the opportunity to clarify anything they don’t understand. Active, engaged listening throughout the appointment will also help you make sure that you don’t miss anything the client may change their mind about. Even if you decide that you want a hair career that is more remote or based online, it is important that you are able to communicate with and listen to your audience.
Being arrogant can make clients uneasy but being confident can help put them at ease. Being confident and self-assured can be easier said than done. For naturally anxious or socially awkward people, confidence can be difficult to come by even if you are the most talented hairstylist on the planet. Preparation is key for those who need a little help in the confidence department. You should practice a few standard questions to get the ball rolling at the beginning of the appointment. What products do you use at home? What is your home maintenance regimen? When was your last haircut, chemical service? These verbal skills can help build confidence.
If you are worried about how you will be received online or on social media, you can always research other successful online hair professionals for tips and tricks. A great way to help boost confidence and put professional anxieties at ease is to practice hairstyling skills until they become almost instinctive.
Keeping a schedule, ordering supplies and maintaining a professional space are all areas that require a certain amount of organization. Being prepared and aware can keep even challenging days from becoming chaotic, so it is important that you are professionally organized even if your personal lifestyle is a bit more cluttered. By organizing appointments, prioritizing tasks, and preparing equipment and supplies you can avoid unnecessary schedule interruptions and quickly fix any mishaps that may occur throughout the day without the added stress of disorganization.
Becoming a hairstylist is a career choice that provides a lot of different professional opportunities that fit a variety of personal preferences and lifestyles. So even if one particular professional door closes, there is a good chance that other options and avenues will open up. Hairstyling has a long history of expression and evolution. That isn’t going stop any time soon. Getting an education and taking that step toward your career goals will help you make being a hairstylist a part of the industry’s history and its transitions into the future.
Did learning about the demand for hairstylists 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.