What are the responsibilities of a hairdresser?

Updated April 17, 2017

People depend on a hairdresser, also called a cosmetologist or hairstylist, to enhance their appearance. Although a hairdresser performs similar duties to a barber who is responsible for cutting, trimming and shampooing clients' hair, a hairdresser has more responsibilities. For example, a hairdresser may be responsible for selling skin care products, cosmetics and hair care products and creating new hair styles.


Although a hairdresser may need a high school diploma or GED to work in the cosmetology field, obtaining additional education is required. Full-time cosmetology programs last approximately nine months. An individual may receive an associate's degree in cosmetology after completing a postsecondary program. Also, to stay abreast of the last hair care and style trends, an individual continues education in hairstyling or outside the field. For example, a hairdresser may take courses in marketing or sales, or attend training seminars to learn about styling techniques. Obtaining a license is another responsibility. All states require a cosmetologist to complete a written examination. In addition to a written test, a practical test consists of show styling skills. An oral examination may also be required.

Styling Hair

Before styling hair, the hairdresser analyses the client's physical features and hair to determine or recommend the best hairstyles. A hairdresser's responsibility includes providing services such as a bleaching, conditioning, drying and styling hair. For instance, a hairstylist may straighten permanently wavy hair or add hair extensions to a client's hair. Also, a hairdresser may have the responsibility of cleaning and styling toupees and wigs.


A hairstyling career includes teaching clients about hair and cosmetics. For instance, a cosmetologist teaches clients how to care for their hair at home, especially to repair any damage. After styling, the hairdresser also teaches clients how to maintain their new hairstyles and what products to use. Advising and recommending beauty products or hairstyles to clients is also a responsibility of hairdressers.


A hairdresser may have additional responsibilities other than styling hair. For example, a hairstylist provides make-up analysis, pedicures, manicures and facial treatments to clients. Also, a hairstylist is responsible for sanitising equipment, such as shavers and scissors. Clerical responsibilities include operating the cash register, scheduling appointments, answering telephone calls and maintaining client records. As of the time of publication, a hairdresser earns a median salary of £17,231 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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About the Author

Demetrius Sewell is an experienced journalist who, since 2008, has been a contributing writer to such websites as Internet Brands and print publications such as "Cinci Pulse." Sewell specializes in writing news and feature articles on health, law and finance. She has a master's degree in English.