What Are the Duties of a Hairdresser?

Hairdressers provide a variety of services to clients to help enhance and improve the appearance and style of the clients' hair. Although many hairdressers work in salons or spas, they can also be found working in resorts, on cruise ships and independently. Hairdressers must complete a state-licensed cosmetology programme and pass state exams to obtain licensure. You can find cosmetology programmes focusing on haircare techniques through high school vocational programmes as well as at community colleges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2008, hairdressers made an average of £7.20 per hour.


Men and women utilise the services of hairdressers for haircuts, styling and hair colour. While the hairdresser must use good communication skills to discuss with her client his desired style, she must also be knowledgeable and honest enough as she works with the client to help him get a style that will enhance his appearance. Because a hairdresser works with a variety of people, she must also be able to work with a variety of hair types, textures and lengths. When using processing chemicals, such as permanent wave chemicals or hair colouring chemicals, the hairdresser must be able to tell when the chemicals have achieved the desired effect, as each person's hair will react differently.

Help Around the Shop

Most salons and spas have times when business peaks and everyone is required to pitch in to keep things running smoothly. A hairdresser may be asked by his boss to help out in the shampoo area, sweep floors or answer phones and schedule clients. If the hairdresser is knowledgeable about the products used in the salon, he may also participate in taking inventory and ordering supplies that are running low. Good communication skills are essential as the hairdresser speaks with clients, vendors and coworkers. A hairdresser who has been with his place of employment for a while may assist with training newly hired staff members, showing them around so they know where to locate everything and modelling how the salon staff answers the phone and greets clients.

Stay Current with Trends

Hairstyle trends change frequently. To keep up on the latest hairstyle and cutting trends, hairdressers attend workshops and classes to observe and learn the latest techniques. During these workshops, the hairdresser will observe and listen as a seasoned hairdresser performs the technique on a hair model who has volunteered to have her hair cut and styled for the workshop. Once the hairdresser is finished learning about the new technique, she will have an opportunity to try it out on a mannequin head outfitted with natural hair. She does this with an expert available to supervise, answer questions and provide guidance. Learning new techniques, haircuts and styles helps the hairdresser to increase her clientele as she provides the latest trends to people who desire to stay on the cutting edge of style.

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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.