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What You Need to Know About Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist

Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist Definition 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.

Daily Life Of a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist

  • Update and maintain customer information records, such as beauty services provided.
  • Clean, shape, and polish fingernails and toenails, using files and nail polish.
  • Train or supervise other hairstylists, hairdressers and assistants.
  • Schedule client appointments.
  • Recommend and explain the use of cosmetics, lotions, and creams to soften and lubricate skin and enhance and restore natural appearance.
  • Shape eyebrows and remove facial hair, using depilatory cream, tweezers, electrolysis or wax.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist?

When polled, Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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 Jobs

  • Beauty Therapist
  • Mortuary Beautician
  • Hair Stylist
  • Beautician Apprentice
  • Salon Customer Experience Specialist

Is There Job Demand 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. The BLS estimates 84,700 yearly job openings in this field.


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 Salary

Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists make between $17,980 and $50,110 a year.


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 each U.S. state?

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

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists may use on a daily basis:

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

How do I Become a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist?

Individuals working as a Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist have obtained the following education levels:


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists Work


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


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Are you already one of the many Hairdresser, Hairstylist, or Cosmetologist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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