Hair stylists provide various beauty services, including hair cutting, colouring, shampooing and styling. Hair stylists tend to have high job satisfaction and some flexibility in their schedules. While many hair stylists work more than 40 hours per week, many others work part time. A hair stylist's income depends on several factors, such as experience, the size and location of the salon, and whether she is self-employed.
In 2009, the median full-time income for hairdressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists was £15,164, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That equates to an £7.20 hourly wage. The middle 50 per cent of these workers earned between £11,888 and £20,449. The top 10 per cent earned £28,112 or more while the bottom 10 per cent earned £10,387 or less, according to BLS data. In 2010, private company Payscale.com reported the salary range for hair stylists nationwide as £12,386 to £23,887.
Commissions and Bonuses
Many hair stylists receive at least part of their compensation in the form of commissions. Some hair stylists receive commissions based on the cost of the services they provide or on the beauty products they sell to clients. Some salons give hair stylists bonuses for bringing in new clients. According to the Payscale.com report, hair stylists' bonuses range from £66.1 to £669 per year, while commissions range from £195.8 to £6,656.
According to the BLS, about 44 per cent of personal appearance workers, which includes hair stylists, are self-employed. This includes hair stylists who own their own salons and those who lease space or a chair from a salon owner. Self-employed hair stylists must pay for their own benefits and taxes and provide their own supplies. The salary range for self-employed hair stylists is £15,501 to £36,140, according to Payscale.com data.
Entry-level wages for hair stylists are usually low. Hair stylists typically increase their earnings as they build their regular client base. Hair stylists who advance to salon management positions can see an increase in pay. According to Payscale.com, hair salon and spa managers earn between £16,748 and £27,294 per year.
Average hair stylist pay varies by geographic location. In 2009, the District of Columbia and Honolulu were the highest-paying metropolitan areas in the United States for hair dressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists, according to the BLS. The average annual income for hair stylists in Washington, D.C. and Honolulu was £28,164 and £26,507, respectively.
Type of Salon
Mid- to high-end salons tend to pay higher wages than do low-end salons. Hair stylists face strong competition for the higher-paying jobs because qualified applicants far outnumber available positions. Experienced hair stylists who offer a variety of services tend to have the most advancement opportunities.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009: Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers
- US News Money: Best Careers 2009: Hairstylist/Cosmetologist