Skip to content

Hairdressing Careers

Deciding what you want to do in life – who you want to be – can be a daunting task filled with tough decisions and major U-turns. But if you’re looking for a creative, sociable and flexible career in one of the happiest industries in the world, hairdressing is a great choice.

Every single day in hairdressing comes with the opportunity to unleash your creative potential. You get to work with different colours, braids, shapes and textures, and the amount of new products and equipment is actually insane! The possibility to be inventive is a daily reality in hairdressing that the majority simply don’t have in their 9 to 5 grind. Hairdressing isn’t limited to the salon, either. There is ample opportunity to express yourself in other areas of the profession too. Keep scrolling to find out more.

Hair. Where can it take you?

TV stylist

Adam Reed

“Working backstage for live TV, like The X Factor, requires listening to what the client wants and what the show execs want. It is not the place to showcase your creativity as you have a lot of people to make happy. You should never do it for your own ego because it’s more about demonstrating your skill-set while being an outstanding communicator and creating hair with staying power. You need to be adaptable and really quick. A lot of the time the people you’re styling are going on live TV so you need to make them look their best as calmly and quickly as possible, so they can focus on their job.”

Avant-garde stylist

Anne Veck

“Avant-garde hair is an experimental treatment of hair that is often quite daring and revolutionary. It can be created through using traditional techniques and adjusting them in an unusual way or devising a completely new technique. Whether it’s a flourishing flower hair band, a bountiful beehive or a quintessential 50’s quiff – anything that makes your hair stand out is labelled as avant-garde.

 “Avant-garde hair to me is like couture fashion, it can be totally absurd, clever or abstract, it’s a form of art. Like couture fashion, many designers are portraying the outrageous or dramatic and this is often diffused so the general public can wear the image in a more commercial way.”

The salon boss

Sophia Hilton

“When I went to west London to get my hair done I didn’t feel posh enough, and when I went to the east I didn’t feel cool enough. I created Not Another Salon, with its builder’s tea and Wagon Wheels, Game Boys and Play Doh, to remove the pressure and make you feel like you’re in an adult Disneyland.

“Salons can be a scary place. It’s intimidating to walk in anywhere new – especially a salon. I wanted to make it clear that we don’t care where you’re from or what your style is. My staff are beautiful, caring people who make everyone feel that the salon is for them; It’s a place for you to be you. Not Another Salon has an #AntiFactory ideology, we’re here for those bored of blow dries, disinterested in dip-dyes and sick of standard salons.”

Haircuts4Homeless

Stewart Roberts

Haircuts4Homeless is a community group where skilled hairdressers give their time free-of-charge to provide haircuts for homeless people in the UK. Set up by veteran hairdresser Stewart Roberts in November 2014, Haircuts4Homeless now has 49 sites with over 600 volunteers nationwide and has delivered over 35,000 free haircuts. In 2018, Haircuts4Homeless and Stewart became the face of The People’s Project for the National Lottery.

“Anyone who wants a career in hairdressing has to love communicating with people,” says Stewart. “Those living on the streets often feel they have no voice and are invisible. But as great listeners, hairdressers are the perfect people to engage and build their confidence. We are planning to launch a Haircuts4Homeless Training Academy, where we can teach homeless people hairdressing skills and help them get back into work.”

Podcasts

The Root of It – Sam McKnight

Princesses, supermodels and 200 Vogue covers (and counting)… Enter the world of mega-session stylist Sam McKnight.

Listen to What the Man Said – John Vial and Claudia Croft

BFFs John and Claudia met in a Leeds hair salon. Now he’s a major hairdressing name and she’s at British Vogue. It’s one helluva journey – and you heard it here first!

George Northwood’s Hedtalks – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Ever wondered what goes on in George Northwood’s celebrity-filled salon in London? Here, George chats all things hair and beauty with model, actress, designer and entrepreneur Rosie

Then and Now – Luke Hersheson and Nicola Clarke

Luke is creative director at the majorly cool salon brand Hershesons, while salon owner Nicola’s A-List clientele includes Kate Moss, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Madonna. Yes, Madonna. Listen to them talk about their journeys to the top of the hair world and how they’re bossing it in business.

The Emma Guns Show – Charlotte Mensah

The former beauty editor at OK! interviews hairstylist, salon owner brand creator and author Charlotte Mensah about why hairdressing is spiritual for her.

READY, ON SET, ACTION!

It takes a whole gang of experts to shoot a fashion story – and the hairdresser is right at the heart of the action. Lisa Farrall specialises in session work; she was Ed Sheeran’s hairstylist for his music video Anti Social with Travis Scott, worked on Kendrick Lamar’s video All The Stars for the Black Panther soundtrack and styled American singer Ellie King’s hair for Glastonbury. Lisa’s also an expert in naturally textured hair, making her the perfect choice for this location shoot on a 200-acre conservation farm with a landscape of flower meadows, ancient woodland and natural ponds, brimming with life. The hair brief: create phenomenal looks that embrace movement, texture and beauty in tune with the surroundings.

Do your research – who are the models, who will you be working with, what’s the brief? Ask questions and don’t be scared to share your ideas. When everyone is on the same page, everyone is happy.

Be kind to everyone and don’t forget everyone has a job to do, so focus on your job and getting it done! Stay professional but don’t be too serious – it’s okay to smile.

A studio Is a safe space: you have shelter, water, electrics… On location, you never know where you will end up so you have to be prepared for sunshine and rainfall. Whether you’re working in a studio or on location, always have a back-up.

I remember travelling to the farm – it was in the middle of nowhere! – worrying about getting stuck behind a tractor or that the model would turn up with a different hair colour. And would it rain? (It turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.) In the end, one of the models had much shorter hair than I expected and the clothes were much softer so I adapted my look, added extensions and kept to the brief. That’s the beauty of hair… the only limitations are your imagination and your kit bag. That’s why I’m always packing!

 

Hair On Instagram

@ChrisAppleton1

Chris Appleton went from working in salon in Leicester to styling the hair of Kym Kardashian and, more recently, J-Lo. Watch and dream, people!

@Bangstyle

Based in the States, this House of Hair Inspiration shares the most beautiful hairstyles and colours from all over the world.

@BleachLondon

Two salons in London, one training academy, a product range and an Instagram following of 360k – you have to add these super-salons to your weekly Insta-inspo. Checkout @BleachLondon

@GeorgeNorthwood

When Alexa Chung describes a stylist as ‘a hair magician & master of hair’ and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a regular on the columns at their prestigious London salon, you know George Northwood will have an Instagram account you need to keep your eyes on.

@Guy_Tang

Guy Tang is the ultimate Hollywood celebrity hairstylist with over 2 million followers, thanks to his worldwide collaboration with Olaplex.

Watch out for incredible colour inspiration from the fabulous Guy Tang.

More Resources

Winning Awards

If you like the buzz of getting recognised for your talents, hairdressing is definitely for you!

Cast your mind back to your childhood and think of a time you won something. Whether it was a sports day race, a talent show performance, swimming gala or a quiz in class, chances are you remember feeling great. Proud, excited and very, very happy.

Now imagine you’re at a big fancy awards do with your family and team-mates. You look around the room, packed with industry VIPs, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the awards announcements. You’ve spent time and effort preparing your entry and now is when you’re going to find out if it’s all been worth it. You watch as the celebrity host announces the next category. It’s yours. You hear those four little words – “And the winner is…” It’s you! Heading up onto stage you get the same feeling you did when you were younger – that sense of achievement and pride makes you feel like you can take on anything.

Welcome to hairdressing – an industry that loves to celebrate the talents that work within it. Now watch this short video from Creative HEAD’s Most Wanted & The It List Awards and feel the buzz. Wish you were there? We do too!