how to become a stylist

Tips on How to Become a Professional Hair Stylist

So you want to learn how to become a professional hair stylist, huh? Good for you! 

Hair Stylists, or hairdressers, are some of the most fun jobs you could do since you get paid to make people look their best. Not to mention, the job itself is flexible in working hours, and you get to spend all day interacting with your clients!

However, learning how to become a hair stylist is not just about learning how to cut someone’s hair. There is a science to the craft, and to call yourself a professional, you must have a relevant degree or license to show for it. 

So if you want to know the steps in becoming everyone’s best friend, keep on reading this article!

What Is the Job Description of a Hair Stylist?

A hairstylist is someone who specializes in hair cutting, styling, coloring, and in some cases, providing scalp treatments. 

Their job description also requires them to have profuse knowledge in different hair care techniques, the ability to suggest the aptest hairstyle for every unique individual, and sales experience to convince customers to purchase relevant products. 

Aside from proficiency in hair styling, a good hairstylist must also have top-notch communication and listening skills. This is especially useful if they have a product they want to market to their clients. 

Here is a list of some duties commonly performed by hairstylists:

  • Properly wash hair, apply conditioner if needed
  • Color and style hair according to customer requests
  • Cut hair, from simple to elaborate hairstyles
  • Treat hair or scalp disorders/problems
  • Put on relaxers and permanent hair solutions
  • Perform every task mentioned above for men, women, and children

How to Become a Professional Hair Stylist

1. Complete a Cosmetology Program 

To become a professional hairstylist, the first thing to do is to enroll in a cosmetology program in a beauty school approved by the state in which you want to work. 

Make sure to do your research before you enroll in a training program. If you enroll in one that isn’t state-approved, you will not be able to get your license. 

You can do a quick search on the American Association of Cosmetology Schools‘ (AACS) website to find a program. Look for one that specializes in hair styling. 

AACS states that tuition fees depend on whether the program is located in a metropolitan or rural area. The overall cost can go between $6,500 and $10,000, excluding the tools you should personally provide. 

Coursework may depend on the program you choose, but here are some courses you may encounter: 

  • Salon Management
  • Relaxing
  • Permanent Waving
  • Color Methods
  • Hair Extensions
  • Texturizing
  • Hair and scalp disorders and diseases
  • Hair analysis
  • Haircutting and shaping
  • Sanitation and Sterilization

2. Get your license

After you graduate from a cosmetology program, you still need to acquire a state-issued license to become a professional hairstylist. There is no escaping from this– all 50 states require hair stylists to be licensed.

After graduating from beauty school, you need to pass some written exams before you get your license. In some states, practical exams are also necessary to demonstrate your skills. 

After passing the exam, take care of all the necessary paperwork, proceed to your state licensing agency, and pay all the required dues or fees. 

3. Get a Job

Congrats! You are well on your way to becoming the next sought-after hairstylist in your state! 

You might think it’s time and submit your resume to the biggest salon in your area or put up your own hair salon business, but we suggest you start at the bottom. 

Although you already got a professional hair styling license, you still need experience. Before making it big, you must be already used to styling actual people’s hair so you could make professional recommendations to your clients!

Getting experience from salons and other establishments is also helpful when you want to set up a business of your own. It will also help you develop good relationships with clients, which will make you in demand for the future!

4. Develop your skills

After a few months of experience, it would be a good idea to enroll and obtain professional certification in specific areas such as hair replacement, hair prosthetics, coloring, semi-permanent straightening, and hair extensions. 

Not only will you hone your skills further, being certified in several areas makes you stand out to your clients more so you could do a better job in styling them!

If you want to explore this step, seek out professional organizations or hair product manufacturers that conduct certification seminars. 

5. Keep and update your portfolio

Not all hairstylists gain business and financial success. One of the extra steps to take to reach your goal is to make a portfolio, which is helpful for all things marketing!

Every time you cut or make the perfect hairstyle, take a photo and put it in your portfolio. We recommend focusing on building a digital one so you could show off your work through social media and attract more and more customers. 

You can show off your skills by specializing in a particular hairstyle, or if you’re good at fixing bad haircuts or hair colors!


We hope these tips help you in your hairstyling journey! If you have any more tips on how to become a professional hair stylist, share it with us in the comments below!

Leave a Reply