How to Jumpstart Your Hairstyling Career

2020 was an impossible year for hairdressers. With Covid-19 shutdowns and mitigation efforts, hairstylists found themselves out of work. Their customers found themselves with a considerable amount of quarantine shag.

Now that 2021 is here and vaccines are on the way, we’re all hoping for a return to normalcy. That means haircuts. 

If you’re looking to start a hair styling career, now is the time to get in. There is money to be made. Read on to learn more about how to jumpstart your hair stylist career path.

Hair Stylist Education Requirements

Becoming a hair stylist is a way to make serious money, but it isn’t so easy as picking up a pair of scissors. Sure, you might be handy around the house with a set of clippers.

That doesn’t mean you can work as a hairdresser. There are certain hair stylist qualifications you need to seek work or start your own business.

American Association of Cosmetology Schools

Hair stylist qualifications come from the American Association of Cosmetology Schools. To start your career as a hairdresser, you must take hairdressing courses and earn a certificate.

There are many different avenues to take courses. Community colleges and vocational schools offer these classes. There are also standalone, licensed cosmetology schools available for enrollment.

Though there are curriculums with a specialized focus, all cosmetology students must become proficient in certain aspects of the business.

You’ll learn the proper sanitation methods. You’ll also learn hair analysis, proper cutting and shaping techniques, and salon management. 


Once you complete your accredited coursework, you have to obtain licensing in your state before you can cut hair commercially.

Licensing requirements vary in some states. The hard and fast rule is you must be at least 16 years of age and completed an approved cosmetology course. Most states require you to pass a written exam as well.

Get a Job or Open a Salon?

Once you obtain the proper license, you are then free to work. You have a choice. You can work for another salon or start your own.

Many inexperienced hairdressers like to start their career working for someone else, even though it’s not a requirement.

Working in a salon as an employee rather than an owner is like an extra step in your training to be a hairdresser. You get to apprentice under an experienced salon owner to learn the business.

You are also able to polish and hone your skills while building a reliable customer base. These loyal customers will be helpful when you branch out and start your own business.

How to Make Money

Once you’re working in the hairdressing business, there are certain things you can do to boost your earnings. Hair stylists are like any other public-facing career. You have to earn the trust of your customers.

Customer Service is Key

You can be the most skilled hair stylist in the world, but that isn’t what makes you money. What makes you money in the hairdressing business is skill combined with great customer service.

Customer service skills remain the key to building return clientele. This is also how to build business through word of mouth. You want people to recommend your services to others.

It’s still the best advertising there is.

Invest in Quality Tools

Your scissors, thinners, and razors are all part of your tool kit. You rely on these stylist tools as a mechanic relies on his or her wrenches. Like a sushi chef relies on their knives.

You can’t expect to give quality service without quality equipment. While hair styling is a pleasant business, it’s also a competitive one. Give yourself the edge with superior tools.

Continue Your Education

What was in fashion ten years ago isn’t now. The styles you learn these days will be out of vogue in a few short years. To keep ahead of the curve, you have to continue your hair styling education.

Your customers will always want the latest styles. If you don’t know the latest techniques, they will find someone who does.

You can keep up on trends through extra courses or even online.


There was a time, and it wasn’t too long ago, that hair stylists made their money as a local business. While they still do in some respects, people are now willing to travel further for the best cut.

Marketing in the hair styling business is not only about marketing your skills. It’s about marketing YOU.

How do you do this? Social media is the ultimate tool. You’ll have to keep an active profile across various social media platforms.

As a beginner, you’ll use these profiles to signal who you are as a stylist as well as your aesthetic. The more people see you looking stylish, the more they will trust your ability.

Teaching and Selling

Our hair always looks the best right after we leave the salon. Why? Because an expert’s hand styled it!

You stand to make more money as a stylist by teaching your clientele to style their hair to achieve that fresh from the salon look. Sell your customers on a specialized hair product line you use and sell.

When you offer to teach with the aid of a special product line, your customers will return again and again.

Make Money in Your Hair Styling Career

We choose our careers out of passion. You want to be a hairdresser because you love style and fashion. That’s a great start, but you also work to make money.

If 2021 goes as planned, hair stylists should be in demand. Make your hair styling career profitable by using these strategies.

Are you interested in more style and fashion news? Make sure to check out the rest of our articles.