hairstylist in salon with client

Cosmetology Students: Essential Skills You Should Have

October 16th, 2021


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hairstylist in salon with client

Maksym Povozniuk –

Being a cosmetologist means you must be skilled at cutting, coloring or styling hair. However, technical excellence is only the first step. To really learn cosmetology, you must develop a wide range of skills. Let’s take a look at the essential ones.

Customer Service Skills

Hair stylists must have great customer service skills, including being friendly, welcoming and professional to clients. It’s also crucial that you can listen and communicate with your clients effectively. Often, clients are unhappy with a haircut or hairstyle because the hairdresser didn’t make the effort to understand what they wanted.

Take the time to understand your client’s desired hairstyle. Ask them to bring in example photos and look through them together. If you don’t think that a hairstyle would suit your client’s features or hair type, explain this clearly and politely without being pushy. Suggest other ideas.

Ask questions to gain a good understanding of your client’s personal fashion and lifestyle. This will help you select a style that your client will enjoy and be able to replicate at home. For example, if your client has a busy schedule, try to give them a relatively low-maintenance hairstyle.

Many clients see their hair stylists as confidants and friends. Others prefer to relax in silence or read while their hair is styled. The ability to gauge each client’s interpersonal needs and meet them is key to ensuring their satisfaction. If a client is chatty, remember to be both friendly and professional.


Cosmetology classes can teach you many hairstyling techniques. You will also learn what styles generally suit different hair textures and face shapes, but no one can teach creativity.

Presumably, you’re a cosmetology student because you have a passion for hairstyling. So as you grow in your technical skills, don’t be afraid to get creative. Combine established techniques in a new way or play around with inventing your own. Find inspiration from celebrities, models, style influencers and your client’s preferences. No two people’s hair is exactly the same. This means that no two haircuts should be exactly the same either.

Before you try something really bold, tell your client exactly what you have in mind. Get their enthusiastic permission. Different clients will have different interest levels in risk-taking. If a client wants to stick with the hairstyle they already have, respect their decision.

Organizational Skills

Even if you work for a salon, spa or other company, you must have strong organizational practices to be successful. These include keeping track of your schedule and ensuring your workstation is fully stocked, cleaned and organized at the beginning of each day. You must clean up and sanitize between each client. This will help protect their safety and yours. It’s also the law.

Being organized takes practice, but it’s the best way to grow your business. An organized hair stylist can fit in more clients each day. She can also be sure she is prepared with the supplies she needs to treat each client effectively.

Though your clients hopefully enjoy seeing you, most do not have endless hours to spend sitting in your chair while you hunt around for a missing tool or product. They will be grateful to you for respecting their busy schedules.

hair stylist curling hair in salonMaksym Povozniuk –

Ability to Learn New Trends

Hair design is so exciting because styles and trends are constantly changing. Hair stylists must remain in tune with what is new and fashionable. This means not only identifying trendy new hairstyles but being able to properly execute them.

Learning new hair trends may require you to become proficient with a new tool or product. If you are passionate about hair design, this should be an enjoyable process.

Willingness to Improve

No matter how successful you become as a hair stylist, you should never stop pushing yourself to improve. Take classes to brush up on techniques or learn new ones. Experiment with innovative products and tools. As long as you’re growing in your craft, you’ll never get bored. Your clients won’t either.

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