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Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist

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What Do Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist Do?

Example of Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist Job Provide beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair, and massaging and treating scalp. May apply makeup, dress wigs, perform hair removal, and provide nail and skin care services.

Life As a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist: What Do They Do?

  • Shave, trim, and shape beards and moustaches.
  • Analyze patrons' hair and other physical features to determine and recommend beauty treatment or suggest hair styles.
  • Comb, brush, and spray hair or wigs to set style.
  • Develop new styles and techniques.
  • Recommend and explain the use of cosmetics, lotions, and creams to soften and lubricate skin and enhance and restore natural appearance.
  • Train or supervise other hairstylists, hairdressers and assistants.

Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist Required Skills

These are the skills Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Types of Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist

  • Beautician Apprentice
  • Hairpiece Stylist
  • Cosmetology Teacher
  • Stylist
  • Trichologist

Job Outlook for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 617,300 jobs in the United States for Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 13% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 80,100 new jobs for Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 84,700 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist are Utah, Washington, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in Kansas, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist ranges between $17,980 and $50,110.


Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists who work in District of Columbia, Massachusetts, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

How much do Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $23,490
Alaska $32,170
Arizona $29,010
Arkansas $23,890
California $31,400
Colorado $34,830
Connecticut $34,140
Delaware $35,810
District of Columbia $45,680
Florida $31,530
Georgia $26,960
Hawaii $34,300
Idaho $31,090
Illinois $29,900
Indiana $27,460
Iowa $28,360
Kansas $25,620
Kentucky $27,270
Louisiana $22,990
Maine $28,680
Maryland $30,590
Massachusetts $42,260
Michigan $29,080
Minnesota $30,690
Mississippi $25,800
Missouri $28,620
Montana $26,170
Nebraska $28,850
Nevada $23,420
New Hampshire $28,770
New Jersey $37,230
New Mexico $23,370
New York $30,920
North Carolina $28,550
North Dakota $28,240
Ohio $27,300
Oklahoma $25,180
Oregon $28,050
Pennsylvania $26,990
Rhode Island $28,730
South Carolina $24,090
South Dakota $30,630
Tennessee $28,300
Texas $25,520
Utah $26,370
Vermont $35,700
Virginia $34,250
Washington $40,910
West Virginia $24,260
Wisconsin $28,970
Wyoming $30,000

Tools & Technologies Used by Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Facebook
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • YouTube
  • Appointment scheduling software
  • Customer information databases
  • Sale processing software

How to Become a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist

What education is needed to be a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist?


Who Employs Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Career changers with experience as a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Tiffany Bumgardner via Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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