Since ancient times, people have styled their hair and beards in certain fashions as a display of wealth and status. Different cultures around the world have differing perceptions on hair and how it should be worn. Hairstylists have existed for thousands of years and their job has remained essentially the same since then, cutting and styling people’s hair in accordance to social or cultural convictions, or in later times, according to each individual’s sense of style.
Hairstylists usually work in hairdressing salons or barber shops. These establishments may vary according to the type of customers they service. Some hairdressing salons focus mostly on female customers, offering other services that may include makeup consultations and application, nail care services, and spa treatments; whereas barber shops specialize in male clients, as their Hairstylists or Barbers are also trained in cutting and styling facial hair.
While hair salons and barber shops are the most common workplaces for Hairstylists, they can also be found working in theatre, television, and motion picture production studios as part of the hair and costumes department. In these cases, Hairstylists are usually required to work with wigs, extensions, and other products in order to accurately create an image that is coherent with the time and setting of the production.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Hairstylists are required to complete.
- Cutting, trimming, and styling hair or hairpieces according to the customer’s desires or necessities:
- Providing advice to customers based on physical features, hair type and colour, as well as current fashion trends;
- grooming and styling wigs and hairpieces;
- bleaching, dyeing, or tinting hair according to customer’s requests;
- shampooing, conditioning, rinsing, and drying customer’s hair using water, special hair products, towels, and blow dryers;
- using special equipment (e.g. straightening or waving solutions, curlers, rollers, hot combs, and curling irons) to style hair in different fashions;
- shaping eyebrows and removing facial hair using tweezers, wax, or depilatory creams;
- combing and brushing hair using hairspray to obtain certain looks and styles;
- shaving, trimming, and shaping beards and mustaches; and
- attaching wigs, hair pieces, and hair extensions to customers.
- Keeping their work station and tools clean and stocked:
- Disinfecting and cleaning tools using special solutions;
- sweeping the floor around their work station to remove trimmed hair;
- cleaning blow dryers to avoid overheating; and
- stocking up on hairstyling products (e.g. razors, scissors, brushes, and lotions).
- Performing administrative tasks when necessary:
- Using cash registers to receive payments from customers;
- updating and maintaining records of customers and services provided; and
- replenishing the inventory for hair styling and caring products (e.g. dyes, tints, shampoos, and lotions).
- Displaying and demonstrating hair care products for sale:
- Recommending beauty treatments and services to customers; and
- recommending and explaining the use of different hair care products and habits.
- Recommending other services available in the establishment to customers, such as nail care services or scalp and body massages.
- Cutting, trimming, and styling hair according to customers’ requests.
- Advising customers on hairstyles according to physical features, current hairstyle, type of hair, and fashion trends.
- Shampooing, conditioning, rinsing, and drying hair.
- Applying hair styling products and treatments.
- Maintaining their work station and tools clean and stocked.
- Shaving or trimming beards and mustaches.
- Styling eyebrows and removing facial hair.
- Receiving payment from customers.
The average Hairstylist salary in Canada is $30,029 per year or $15 per hour. This is the same as the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $21,000 while most experienced workers make up to $42,000. These results are based on 412 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Possessing high levels of hand dexterity and knowledge on the use of hair grooming tools and products:
- Knowing how to cut, trim, and shave hair according to instructions; and
- being able to use different tools and products (e.g. scissors, clippers, hair lotions, creams, shampoos, dyes, and dryers) to obtain the desired style.
- Creativity and a strong artistic sense, always willing to try out new ideas:
- Having an excellent fashion sense and the ability to translate trends into hairstyles.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly with the client in order to receive instructions and act accordingly;
- displaying strong customer service skills; and
- being able to work cohesively with assistants and other staff members.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- having time management and prioritization skills in order to satisfy the client demand;
- being highly responsible, reliable, and organized; and
- having strong attention to detail.
- Self-motivated and willing to work independently, as well as part of a team.
Hairstylists are required to have completed at least secondary school education before being able to find a job; nonetheless, further education may be required by some establishments. Vocational schools and some colleges offer specialized hair styling or barber programs where applicants may study and practice their trade under the supervision of experienced Hairstylists. These programs may last 2 to 3 years. In some cases, demonstrated experience may be sufficient to apply for a job in a hair salon instead of years of study.
Provincial regulations in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta require all Hairstylist to possess the necessary qualifications and registration in order to work; however, Barbers are exempt from this requirement. This registration is also available, though not obligatory, in all other provinces and territories.
Red Seal certification is also available for Hairstylists and Barbers provided they pass the regulatory interprovincial test. This enables professionals to work with a high standard of quality throughout the entire country.