In Summary - Hairdresser
The Work - Hairdresser
Hairdressers, also known as stylists, typically work in hair salons, although freelancing and mobile hair salons are becoming increasingly popular.
Hairdressing involves shampooing, conditioning, cutting, styling, blow-drying and setting hair. Hairdressers may also perm, colour and bleach hair, or diagnose problems with the hair and scalp and suggest suitable treatments. A key part of the hair stylist's role is to talk to their client to find out what they would like to have done to their hair.
Men's hairdressers or barbers, also trim beards and moustaches. Some specialist hairdressers fit wigs. Hairdressers also advise customers about styling products and may be required to carry out reception duties in the salon. Hairdressers, especially trainees, are also required to sweep the floor, launder towels and sterilise the styling implements used in the salon.
In a small salon, stylists may do all these tasks on their own. In larger salons, where there are several members of staff, a trainee or a junior stylist may assist the more senior hairdressers.
Hairdressers need to be aware of new trends in hairdressing, new styles, techniques and treatments. Qualified hairdressers are responsible for their own clients. Hairdressing is a very sociable job. The stylist aims to establish a good relationship with clients in order to maintain their business and build up a strong client base. They need to be skilled in the various tasks and techniques involved in cutting, perming or colouring a client’s hair. Many products are used in the hairdressing business, some of which contain chemicals. Hairdressers need to understand the effect that these can have on the clients' hair.
Mobile hairdressing businesses and freelancing have become popular in recent years, where the stylist goes to peoples' homes (e.g. for brides on the morning of their wedding), or to hospitals and residential care institutions. In fact, as long as you have your scissors and your comb, and are skilled in using them, you can work pretty much anywhere, from a nursing home, to a cruise liner.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Keep work stations clean and sanitize tools such as scissors and combs.
- Cut, trim and shape hair or hairpieces, based on customers' instructions, hair type and facial features, using clippers, scissors, trimmers and razors.
- Analyze patrons' hair and other physical features to determine and recommend beauty treatment or suggest hair styles.
- Schedule client appointments.
- Bleach, dye, or tint hair, using applicator or brush.
- Update and maintain customer information records, such as beauty services provided.
- Shampoo, rinse, condition and dry hair and scalp or hairpieces with water, liquid soap, or other solutions.
- Operate cash registers to receive payments from patrons.
- Demonstrate and sell hair care products and cosmetics.
- Develop new styles and techniques.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Interests - Hairdresser
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
As a hairdresser, interpersonal skills are vital. You need to be friendly, polite, sociable and able to talk to customers easily.
Practical skills are important too - you should be able to work well with your hands, and undertake detailed, intricate work.
A creative, artistic sense and an eye for colour and form is needed. An interest in fashion and style is important, as is self-presentation. You should be well groomed.
As a hairdresser, you need to be fit and able to stand for long periods. The use of treatments that contain chemicals may affect you if you have sensitive skin. In some cases, the treatments can cause problems for people with allergies.
Entry Requirements - Hairdresser
The official entry route for a Hairdresser is through undertaking an apprenticeship.
There are different routes available to a career in hairdressing in Ireland:
Salon Training – doing your training in a hairdressing salon. Training in a salon should follow a definite structure and a student should be familiar with the content of the programme they are following, what they have completed and what is left to complete. Under the National Minimum Wage Act an apprentice should receive 10% of their training off the job i.e. from an external source. An apprentice may also combine their in salon training with more formal structured training available in either Private and Governmental schools.
|Note: There is currently no national apprentice programme for hairdressing in Ireland. This means that the training givenby by a salon will not be formally recognised, either nationally or internationally. The experience gained in a salon alone will be limited by the quality and range of work available in that particular salon. An apprenticeship is in development so may be available in the future, more details may be found here.|
Private Training Schools – There are a large number of private training schools in various locations around the country. They cater for the complete beginner through to the advanced stylist. The duration and cost of courses together with the qualifications on offer will vary from school to school for various reasons. It is important that you make a well informed decision. Talk to the course co-ordinators in the schools that interest you. Chat with past students. Discuss job opportunities on completion of the course. It is important to research all options in advance of making your final decision. Many of these schools are affiliated to the Irish State Commission through QQI, International City & Guilds, The World Hairdressing Federation and the OMC World Hairdressing Association.
State Training – SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority in Ireland, is responsible for funding, planning and co-ordinating training and further education programmes. The State Examination Commission (SEC) provides the Junior and Senior Trade Certificates in Hairdressing. These are certified by the Department of Education and Skills, and recognised nationally. These qualifications are available through many private schools and PLC colleges. The Junior and Senior Trade Certificates in Hairdressing are basic qualifications for the industry that every trainee should complete during their training. They are the only State Examination programme.
PLC colleges offer a wide range of fully accredited qualifications at level five and six (Leaving Cert/higher certificate), including hairdressing. Recognised, accredited qualifications will make it easier for you to advance in your career in Ireland. It will also be advantageous to have an accredited qualification if you wish to travel and work abroad, or take up opportunities on an international cruise ship for example, where hairdressers and other beauty industry professionals are always in demand.
Last Updated: July, 2019
Pay & Salary - Hairdresser
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 15k - 24k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Hairdresser
Employment growth in this occupation was slightly above the national average. Part-time roles account for over two fifths of all employed. The recent job hires also outnumber growth in this occupation indicating that job churn is occurring. There is a relatively large number of learners enrolled in FET sector training for these occupations