A Cut Above the Rest: a Guide for Budding Hairstylists

A Cut Above the Rest: a Guide for Budding Hairstylists

Stylists have different success stories, but everyone shares the same foundations from which they’ve built their business and reputations. Learn the very same foundations as you start your career in styling.

Pick up the (Literal) Tools of the Trade

Like a painter with different brushes or a sculptor with various chisels, a stylist needs to have different scissors and be adept in using every one of them. Short-bladed scissors for precision cutting and finishing, long-bladed scissors for long cuts and consistency, and various thinning/texturizing scissors to blend hair and remove bulk. Don’t skimp on your scissors. Quality scissors will make your job easier and create better results. Dull scissors can damage your clients’ hair and create unsightly split-ends; they’ll be looking for a new stylist and won’t be coming back after that. Choose scissors that rest comfortably in your hand. This is especially important for your short-blade scissors as they’re the ones you’ll be using most of the time. It will be very advantageous to start with swivel scissors early on. These scissors allow you to cut in various angles easily without having to strain your hands.

Practice the Correct Form and Technique

As much as possible, try not to fold your wrists. Change angles with your elbows and keep your wrist in line with your elbows. Not only will this make you appear more professional and elegant; it also decreases your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). 1 out of 7 stylists suffers from CTS, mostly because of a lack of rest and poor technique. Straighten your back, lock your wrists, and use your elbows to change angles. Swivel scissors can be a great help, but transitioning to one after you’ve mastered standard scissors will take a bit of time. Don’t forget to take short breaks every 1 or 2 hours, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

Hone Your People Skills

Woman and hairdresser with hair iron making hairdo at hair salon

You’ll need a certain degree of social skills to make it big. A friendly attitude can mean the difference between a $5 and a $50 tip. Learn to listen to your clients (not just pretend) but keep your opinions to yourself. Don’t offer advice they won’t come to by themselves. You’re like a therapist who wants clients to make their realizations instead of forcing one yourself. Some of your clients will probably reveal more to you than to an actual therapist. Try your best to learn your clients’ names. This forges a deeper relationship and will reap you more visits and referrals. Don’t talk politics, especially at these divisive times. Other clients waiting in line can overhear your conversations and be put off by your politics. Share brief anecdotes that connect with your client’s stories once in a while. But for the most part, let your client do the talking.

Styling is an art, and art requires proper tools and proper technique. Since people are involved, you’ll also need to learn the art of conversation. Tools, technique, and talk — these are the foundation of every successful stylist.