Common Hairdresser Skills And How You Can Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hairdressers are primarily responsible for designing different hairstyles to enhance the look and style of their clients. As a hairdresser, you may work in beauty salons, makeup studios or at a client's home. Knowing about a hairdresser's skills can help you to develop them so that you can work with clients professionally. In this article, we discuss what hairdresser skills are, explore some beneficial skills for a hairdresser, look at how to improve your hairdressing skills and outline some helpful tips for those seeking to enter this profession.

What are hairdresser skills?

Hairdresser skills are capabilities that allow a person to become a cosmetology professional. These professionals work on clients' hair to perform several tasks, like cutting, colouring and applying hair care treatments. Hairdressing skills also include certain techniques like blow-drying, backcombing, braiding and curling. Professionals who possess strong hairstyling skills are typically creative and have a good sense of visual appeal.

Understanding the fundamentals of hairstyling helps a hairdresser to work with clients proficiently. To do that, they may attend a cosmetology school or enrol in a vocational programme. Alongside their education, a hairdresser may improve their skills by working with experienced professionals in a salon. In addition, a hairdresser can also work at events, like weddings, fashion shows or movie sets.

Related: What Is Cosmetology? Definition And Career Advice

Beneficial hairdresser skills

Here are some key skills that may benefit you as a hairdresser:

Customer assistance

Customer assistance focuses on giving customers an enjoyable experience. These skills include engaging with clients and paying attention to their requests. Customer assistance skills help a hairdresser to remain cordial and maintain a positive attitude throughout a client's appointment. By possessing these skills, a hairdresser can have positive customer interactions, which encourages customers to visit the hairdresser repeatedly. Due to these positive interactions, a hairdresser's clients may also recommend them to their friends or colleagues.


Possessing creativity allows a hairdresser to recommend a suitable hairstyle to their clients. An artistic hairdresser has knowledge of contemporary styles, lines and shapes, which helps them to design impressive hairstyles. Hairdressers work with different clients, all of which have different face shapes, hair textures and lengths. Using their creativity helps a hairstylist to create a style that specifically suits the appearance of a client. Hairdressers also use their artistic expertise to select the right colour for a client's hair.

Active listening

Active listening is the ability to focus on the speaker, understand what they are saying and reply thoughtfully. When you possess this skill as a hairdresser, it allows you to pay attention to the descriptions that the clients provide, which helps you to give the clients the looks they desire.

Moreover, you are more likely to make your clients happy when you actively listen to them. Being a hairdresser also requires you to make conversations with your clients and listen to what they share with you. This exercise helps you create strong relationships with your clients, which can positively impact your client retention rate.


When you work at a salon, there are several hair-styling products that customers can buy. Selling these products to clients is a key part of this job. This requires extensive knowledge of the products, alongside an understanding of how each product may suit a particular client.

Sales skills focus on persuading customers to buy from you and your willingness to explain the benefits of a particular product. Effective hairdressers explain to their clients how a specific product may help them achieve salon-like results. Developing effective sales skills can also help you to achieve any sales targets that the salon might set.


A hairdresser's job involves the same manual movements many times throughout the day. Working as a hairdresser can therefore be physically demanding so it is useful to have endurance, as this can help you to work in this role comfortably. To build your stamina and improve your fitness levels, consider following a workout routine.

Finger dexterity

Finger dexterity is the ability to coordinate small finger movements to complete fine motor tasks. Working as a hairdresser requires good coordination of your finger movements when completing a variety of tasks, like hair cutting, colouring and braiding. A hairdresser also uses this ability to effectively work with scissors and brushes. Possessing these skills helps them to make quick finger movements and handle equipment with ease. With these skills, it is easy for hairdressers to work accurately and achieve results that impress clients. To enhance these skills, consider using a squeeze ball to strengthen the muscles in your fingers.


Having confidence in yourself and your abilities helps you to deliver significant results as a hairdresser. When you are confident, your clients are more likely to trust your recommendations and expertise. Your confidence not only helps you to tackle various problems and conflicts but also boosts the morale of the hairdressers working with you.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions And Examples

How to improve your hairdressing skills

Knowing how to improve your hairdressing skills can help you to increase your client base and become an established hairdresser. Below are some steps you can follow to improve your hairdressing skills:

1. Enrol in a course

There are several courses that are available in hairdressing. Consider enrolling in a course that focuses on the latest trends in hairstyles, cuts and colours. Try to choose a course that has lessons on various hairdressing techniques and methods. Some institutions offer online courses, so you may be able to comfortably fit them into your schedule.

2. Network with like-minded professionals

Meeting with other hairdressers helps you to build a network of like-minded professionals. These professionals may be able to offer you work opportunities that can help to develop your career. For instance, by speaking with other hairdressers you may learn about an upcoming opportunity in a new salon that's about to open that can offer you the chance to work with more experienced and skilled hairdressers that you can learn from.

3. Seek a mentor

Finding a highly experienced mentor may help you to determine ways of improving your skills and techniques. A mentor may be a talented colleague or an industry expert that you admire. After identifying a potential mentor, consider scheduling meetings with these professionals to discuss how to develop your hairdressing skills.

Related: How To Develop Effective People Management Skills

Tips for becoming a successful hairdresser

Becoming a successful hairdresser is not only about making your clients look their best, but also involves how you conduct yourself professionally. From maintaining your appearance to paying attention to the needs of your clients, there are several aspects to consider, which can help you to succeed in this role. Here are some tips to consider that can help you to become a successful hairdresser:

  • Maintain a good appearance: As hairdressers are in the business of making others look good, it is important to maintain a good appearance. This helps to improve customers' confidence in your hairdressing abilities.

  • Know your equipment: Having in-depth knowledge of hairdressing equipment enables you to follow the styling process systematically. This knowledge also helps you to style hair efficiently.

  • Stay perceptive: Staying perceptive can help you to anticipate and avoid issues while working as a hairdresser. For example, your clients may have certain allergies to different products and by asking them if they have any allergies before you apply any products, you can avoid any potential health complications while also demonstrating your diligence to customers.

  • Start a conversation: If your clients like to chat, consider starting a conversation with them. These conversations can help clients to feel at ease while you cut or style their hair.

  • Be respectful: Being respectful reduces the chances of a client getting upset. Additionally, if you are polite to customers, you are more likely to build strong relationships with them.

Related: Key Employability Skills To Be Successful In The Workplace

Tips for hairdressers to highlight their skills

Here are a few tips that you can consider to highlight your hairdressing skills effectively:


To highlight your hairdressing skills on your resume, start by mentioning your strongest abilities and accomplishments. Next, ensure that you include all your professional talents and select the most relevant ones to add to your resume. Then, consider analysing the job description to identify the particular abilities that the prospective employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. If you possess these abilities, ensure that you include them on your resume.

Job interviews

If a prospective employer invites you to interview for a hairdressing role, focus on discussing your unique skills. To do this effectively, use appropriate examples to illustrate your soft and hard skills. During your interview preparations, practise describing the skills and techniques mentioned on your resume, as the salon owner may ask you to elaborate on them.

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