Hairdressers help people to look and feel their best.They may be asked to curl, wave, perm, bleach, tint or dye a customer’s hair, or merely to cut and style it.

Each appointment begins with a consultation with the customer, to find out what they want done to their hair and offer potential options. They may suggest a hairstyle compatible with the client’s physical features, or determine the best style from the client’s instructions and preferences.

To complete the appointment, hairdressers advise patrons on how to care for their hair, discuss any problems and recommend appropriate hygiene and styling practices. Before starting on the next customer, they always clean and sanitize their hairdressing equipment.

As styles continually change and evolve, hairdressers must also continue to upgrade and learn new skills to keep up with new trends, products and styles. This training may involve travelling to attend conventions and hair shows, or taking short courses at private styling schools.

    Traits and Talents

    Finger dexterity, hand-eye coordination and depth perception are all invaluable qualities for a successful hairdresser. You need to develop the ability to visualize or conceptualize in order to accurately interpret your clients’ requests. Creativity, an aritistic flair and an interest in fashion and beauty are also necessary characteristics.Communication and interpersonal skills are almost as important as the ability to provide a quality haircut in this people-oriented profession. You should be able to converse freely and easily with your clients and be able to provide honest, knowledgeable advice about hairstyles and hair-care products. As you will be dealing with all sorts of people, it helps if you are outgoing, tolerant and respectful in order to develop solid relationships and a wide-ranging client base. Customer satisfaction is key to success.

    Education and Training

    • Some secondary school education is required. 
    • Completion of a two- or three-year hairstyling apprenticeship program or completion of a college or other program in hairstyling combined with on-the-job training is usually required. 
    • Several years of experience may replace formal education and training. 
    • Employers may require applicants to provide a hairstyling demonstration before being hired. 
    • There are various provincial/territorial certification and licensing requirements for hairstylists, ranging from trade certification to licensing by a provincial/territorial association. Interprovincial trade certification (Red Seal) is also available for qualified hairstylists 

    The Workplace

    Hairstylists perform some or all of the following duties: 

    • Suggest hair style compatible with client’s physical features or determine style from client’s instructions and preferences 
    • Cut, trim, taper, curl, wave, perm and style hair 
    • Apply bleach, tints, dyes or rinses to colour, frost or streak hair 
    • Analyze hair and scalp condition and provide basic treatment or advice on beauty care treatments for scalp and hair 
    • Clean and style wigs and hair pieces 
    • Apply hair extensions 
    • May shampoo and rinse hair 
    • May perform receptionist duties and order supplies 
    • May judge in competitions 
    • May train or supervise other hairstylists, hairstylist apprentices and helpers. 

    Skills for Success

    • The key Skills for Success for this career path are:

      • Reading 
      • Communication 
      • Adaptability 

    Sample Job Titles

    • Scalp treatment specialist 
    • Wig maker 
    • Aesthetician 
    • Hairdresser 

    Companies and Sectors

    • Salons 
    • Self-employed 
    • Training schools 
    • Hair replacement clinics 
    • Retail environments 
    • Entertainment industry