Hair Stylist Salary – What To Expect

Hair Care

Thinking about becoming a hair stylist but you’re not sure if it will pay out? If you’re into styling and doing hair, then becoming a hair stylist seems like a dream job. But before you actually get into the job, you need to understand just what being a hair stylist entails and what sort of an income you can expect to make.

What do Hair Stylists Do?

Hair stylists can usually be found in a beauty salon or a spa, though some hair stylists run businesses right out of their very home. Some hair stylists also do special “home visits” for those who are preparing for a special event (such as a wedding). Becoming a hair stylist means that you are responsible for:

  • Cutting
  • Styling
  • Shampooing

If you go on to broaden your skills in the hair trade, you can also learn a lot of other important skills, such as:

  • Coloring
  • Tinting
  • Permanent applications
  • Foils
  • Highlights
  • Conditioning treatments

Working as a hair stylist also means being neat, tidy, and most importantly, clean! It is amazing how many hair stylists keep an untidy station, which is why a lot of clients will not return for a second cut (which is definitely not good for business or for your pay check in most cases!).

Being a hair stylist means that you also need to have a trained ear so that you really know what a client wants before you sheer off one strand of hair. Learn what questions to ask and how to determine what a client means when they say they want an “inch or two” taken off of their hair. For many women, an “inch or two” is really “an inch or less”.

How much are Hair Stylists Paid?

Different salons pay in different ways. You may be paid solely on commission, you may make a certain percentage of all money made by the services the salon provides, or you may be paid hourly. A lot of hair stylists will keep the tips that their clients give them while paid an hourly fee, and are given a bonus commission if they sell any products that the salon are pushing for sale.

In general, as far as a basic hair stylist salary goes, you can expect to earn any where between $30 000 to $50 000 each year once a reliable clientele is developed. This means that for the first couple of years while you are building up your client base, you may make only around $20 000 or more. Whether or not you work in a barber shop or a high end salon also plays a huge role in the amount of money that you make. The “higher end” the salon you work in, the higher you can expect your salary to be.

If you are a hair stylist who is working in the movie, performing arts, or video industry, you can earn even more money and earn up to $70 000 per year.

The real key to making a good income from being a hair stylist is to become certified with a cosmetology license, and to continually take courses every couple of years so that you stay ‘in the know’ about hair styling and the different trends that are out there.