The qualities, knowledge, and skills it takes to be a successful hairdresser
Most professions have some specific skills and characteristic traits that are absolutely necessary to have in order to ensure success. The hairdressing profession is one of those fields that have these types of requirements. For a hairdresser, some of the qualities, knowledge, and skills necessary for success are:
You must like meeting new people and enjoy helping others. You must be a good communicator (good verbal, writing, and listening skills are needed). You must be good at making people feel comfortable and relaxed. You must be discreet, able to keep secrets, and be tactful. You must also be reliable, enthusiastic, and good at working independently and with other people.
Love of learning
You will have to constantly be learning about new styles and products and how to use new equipment. Plus you will have to complete 1-5 years of training in order to earn various levels of NVQ/SVQ qualifications.
You must have a smart personal appearance, as well as use good personal hygiene. You must also have good manual dexterity, as you will need to be able to work quickly and accurately with your hands. You must also have an artistic sense, and have a good sense of colour, contour, and form.
You will have to be patient with and tolerant of all types of people, including rude and obnoxious customers, or people you may dislike.
Problem solving skills
You may have to cope with equipment and hair product problems, as well as resolve disputes, business problems, and your customers’ problems.
You must highly believe in your own ability, be decisive enough to make a quick decision, and then follow through with it without second guessing yourself.
You must have lots of stamina because you may be working long hours and standing for long periods of time, as well as performing repetitious types of tasks.
You may need to design new styles, create new techniques, or create a marketing campaign.
Time management skills
You must know how to make the most use of your time, and be able to multi-task well. You must also be able to stay on a time schedule in order to meet appointment timetables and to keep from messing up your client’s time schedule.
You need to know how to cope with high-levels of stress (yours, your employees’, and your clientele’s). You may also need to be able to work while under lots of pressure, especially if you work in an environment with a high volume of customers or own your own business/salon.
Scent and chemical tolerance
Most hair and beauty products contain some type of scent and strong chemicals, so a person with really sensitive skin or severe allergies probably should avoid being a hairdresser.
As with most personal service businesses, you will have to acquire your own clientele, which will involve marketing or promoting your services and yourself in various manners, depending on the type of employment you obtain.
Business management skills
If you are self-employed or a freelancer, a salon manager, or own your own salon, you will need to know how to properly manage a business, which means knowing how to keep and protect accurate records, how to order supplies and performing customer service duties. You will also be answering phones, scheduling appointments, marketing/promoting your business, and doing accounting/bookkeeping tasks. You will need to know how to select and dismiss employees and how to manage finances if self-employed or managing a salon.
Although not specifically required, it’s highly recommended that you have at least GCSEs or Standard Grades (Scotland) in English, Science and Maths. You will need to be able to read instructions, write business proposals and reports, keep written records, and perform various math functions throughout the hair treatment processes. You will also need to understand how the chemicals in the products may react under various conditions.
A basic knowledge of first-aid treatments is also helpful, in case of accidents.
The level or degree of skill and knowledge you need for success will highly depend on what type of employment you seek and its accompanying level of responsibility. Fortunately, you can develop or hone some of these skills while you are in training, or after you have become a professional hairdresser. However, you still need to be aware of how frequently each of these skills will come into play for each area of employment when you are pursuing a hairdressing career. For instance, if you are not good at writing reports or accounting tasks, then you definitely will not want to be self-employed or own your own salon unless you know how to hire someone to do these tasks for you.
It doesn’t really matter when, where, or how you attain the aforementioned qualities, knowledge, and skills. It doesn’t matter if these qualities and skills are innate or acquired through proper training and lots of practice. It only matters that you are aware that you will need these qualities and skills in order to become a successful hairdresser in the United Kingdom.