12 Essential Stylist Tools (With Stylist Duties And Skills)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 February 2023

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Working as a stylist can be a lucrative and creative career choice. Creating visually appealing hairstyles and looks can fulfil the needs of customers who become more likely to secure services repeatedly. Knowing what tools stylists need for work and how they use them, can help you deliver high-quality, professional work to your customers in this role. In this article, we provide a list of 12 essential tools for stylists, explain what a stylist does and discuss the skills required for this career.

Related: How To Write A Barber Resume (With Steps, Tips And Examples)

12 Essential Stylist Tools

These are 12 essential stylist tools that enable professionals in styling to render consistent, high-quality services:

1. Cutting tools

Shears are various types of scissors that stylists use to cut hair. Shears are available for a variety of tasks, including texturing and removing weight without completely cutting the hair. A motorised hair clipper can also be useful for stylists when working with shorter hairstyles and fades.

2. Hairdryer

A hairdryer is an electric device that blows hot air over damp hair to speed up the evaporation of moisture. Hair drying is one technique you can use to shape hair into a specific style while also reducing frizz. Finding a powerful and versatile hair dryer can give you more control over styling processes and significantly reduce the ‌time that each styling appointment takes.

3. Cleaning tools

By maintaining a clean work environment, you can provide comfort to your clients and keep your tools and workspace hygienic. Cleaning tools can range from a simple broom to sweep up loose hair, to soaking tools that are part of advanced sanitising solutions. These tools can also prevent the buildup of residue from hair products on equipment and improve the life expectancy of your tools.

4. Colouring accessories

When a client wants a new colour for their look, a stylist can use a variety of specialised tools to help them achieve the prescribed look. Accessories can include bowls for mixing dyes or brushes that withstand the strength of bleaching chemicals. It is also good practice to wear gloves to avoid burning your hands with bleach or dyeing your skin with hair colour.

5. Hairbrushes and combs

Combs and brushes are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on their purpose and the length of hair they apply to. Specialised tools like hairbrushes that can detangle hair and combs that work well on thick hair are available to stylists. Understanding the differences between the various types of hairbrushes and combs available can help you style a wide range of clients based on their specific requirements.

6. Hair accessories

Hairstylists use a variety of accessories like ties and clips while working. Sectioning clips help stylists separate hair into groups to make layer cutting easier. Smaller pins and clips can keep sections of hair in place for more complex hairstyles. Having a variety of peripheral accessories to choose from can help you keep your hands free while working on an ideal style for a client.

7. Heat styling tools

Stylists can use other tools similar to hairdryers to give their clients the look they want. This can include tools like a flat iron for straightening curly hair or a curling iron for shaping and styling hair. Investing in high-quality versions of both tools can help you control the direction a styling assignment takes while also ensuring the customers' hairs' health.

8. Styling products

Stylists use hair products to sustain the shape of a hairstyle or to promote scalp health. Hair gel, pomade, mousse and hair spray are all examples of this. Stylists can also help clients maintain healthy hair by prescribing a variety of hair oils and nourishment serums.

9. Aprons

Aprons act as a protective tool for stylists. Aprons can make it easier to clean up cut hair by allowing it to fall to the floor. They can also keep bleach and other styling pigments from staining a client's clothes. Stylists also purchase and wear aprons themselves, to make cleaning up easier on a routine basis.

10. Mannequin head

Mannequin heads are specifically for studying and practising cosmetology. Stylists can practice with dolls by placing wigs on them so that they have a solid foundation before they start work on actual human hair. This can help them improve their skills as a stylist, by trying out and perfecting styling and colouring techniques before using them on clients.

11. Shampoo and conditioner

By providing a deep clean, you can help clients relax while also promoting their hair's health. You might require a stronger conditioner or a special shampoo for curly, thick and oily hair. Because shampoos and conditioners differ in their ingredients depending on the hair type, having a good selection of different varieties can help you work effectively on multiple hair types.

12. Barber chair

Having a specialised chair to work around can help you maintain a professional atmosphere and keep clients comfortable while you style them. You can also use the chair to keep clients stationary and rested while you work without having to lean or stretch your back extensively. Purchasing a hydraulic chair may not be cost effective, but it can be a simple way to elevate the quality of your styling work.

What does a stylist do?

A stylist is a professional that works in hair-related cosmetology. They can work with a group of stylists in a salon or independently. Their primary goal is to create and help maintain hairstyles that make their clients feel confident and attractive. Some of their responsibilities include teaching customers how to use hair care products, developing client relationships to promote retention, pursuing new clients, taking part in continual education to stay updated on trends and offering customer service and support. Their specific tasks can include:

  • Recommending hairstyles: A stylist's knowledge of cosmetology can help them in discussing and understanding a client's style goals. This allows them to recommend an ideal hairstyle based on the client's preferences, considering aspects like their hair texture and face shape.

  • Washing hair: A stylist's training can help them in determining which products best suit a client's hair. They do this to ensure proper health and conditioning of a client's hair even when the client goes through harsher treatments like bleaching or perming.

  • Styling hair: Stylists use different types of hair-setting cosmetics like hairsprays and gels to style hair into an intended shape. They can also use a blow dryer and other forms of heat styling tools to create the desired hairstyle.

  • Colouring hair: Stylists can use multiple types of hair bleaches and dyes to change a client's hair to the desired colour. This can involve natural or vivid colouring, or mixing colours to create a look that a client desires.

Related: What Is Cosmetology? Definition And Career Advice

Skills required for stylists

To succeed in their line of work, hairstylists require a combination of hard and soft skills, including:

Active listening skills

This skill impacts the ability to focus on clear communication. Before beginning any salon service, this skill is required to fully comprehend a client's concerns and recommendations during the consultation. Active listening considers not only verbal communication but also nonverbal signals, such as body language and facial expressions. Stylists can benefit from developing key communication skills, whether they are recommending certain hairstyles to clients or listening to how a customer wants their hair cut. They can use their communication skills to listen to client requests and provide excellent service, allowing them to build professional relationships and perform their duties effectively.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

Customer service

Stylists typically work closely with clients, so they benefit from having excellent customer service skills. This includes the ability to pay attention to customer requests, make recommendations and maintain a professional demeanour at all times. This also includes the ability to manage time and work following a strict schedule. Customer service also entails product knowledge and the ability to make recommendations for various customers.

Critical thinking

Clients consult hairstylists for advice and recommendations on what style and colour can look best on them. Hairstylists can benefit from having strong critical-thinking skills to evaluate various options and select one that can potentially appeal to a client. In this line of work, you can develop a capacity for critical thinking by gaining work experience and industry knowledge.

Read more: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions And Examples

Physical stamina

This is the ability to exert energy for an extended period. Working in a salon entails standing for long durations and maintaining a high level of energy throughout a shift as you interact with multiple clients. You may be required to work at unusual times to prep clients according to certain event timings. The better shape you are in, the better equipped you may be to deal with the physical demands of this job.

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