Nothing beats the feeling of walking out of the salon with a brand-new, perfectly coiffed hairdo. And it wouldn’t be possible without the skill and ability of a talented hairstylist. But exactly how much do hair stylists make?
Whether you’re thinking of a career change or are just curious, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll look at how much hair stylists make. We’ll also dive into some of the best and worst parts of the job, so make sure you stick around until the end!
How Much Do Hair Stylists Make?
Hairstylists make an average salary of $25,000 to $75,000 a year. This usually works out to between $16 to $35 an hour. Keep in mind that this range reflects average salaries.
|Time Frame||Average Salary|
|Per Year||$25,000 – $75,000|
|Per Day||$128 – $280|
|Per Hour||$16 – $35|
The specific amount a hairstylist makes varies depending on the number of hours worked, the services that are offered, and how many clients the hairstylist sees. It also differs significantly, depending on the location of the salon.
Where Do Hair Stylists Get Paid the Most?
As we mentioned earlier, location plays a prominent role in how much hairstylists make. Hairstylists in small, rural towns tend to make significantly less than those in suburban or urban areas.
Hairstylists get paid the most in densely populated, metropolitan cities like San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC. The only downside is that expenses are also higher in these areas.
Can Hair Stylists Make 6 Figures?
Plenty of stylists are able to make six figures or more by working hard and approaching their business creatively. Successful hairstylists develop a streamlined process so they can get clients in and out of their chairs quickly (i.e., making good money).
They also stay up to date with hairstyling trends and learn higher-end techniques like balayage, formal updos, and extensions. That way, they can charge a premium for their time.
Another way hair stylists can make six figures a year is to broaden their services. They supplement their income by teaching classes, selling hair products, making house calls, or giving private lessons.
What Are the Disadvantages of Being a Hairstylist?
Being a hairstylist is a potentially lucrative career. However, it’s not all positive. Hairdressing comes with a few significant caveats. Curious about what they are? Here are some of the disadvantages of working as a hairdresser.
It’s Hard on Your Body
It’s easy to underestimate just how physically demanding doing hair is. Hairstylists spend long hours on their feet, with their heads bent forward.
That can cause poor posture, neck pains, and back strain. They also make a lot of repetitive movements, which can lead to hand and finger injuries like carpal tunnel or arthritis.
On a positive note, there are a few ways to mitigate these symptoms.
The stylist can take consistent breaks, use ergonomic styling tools, and perform regular wrist stretches and exercises. They can also invest in specialized equipment, which will help take some of the pressure off their knees, back, and feet.
It Can Be Expensive
If you want to be a hairstylist, you’ll have to spend money to make money. To start, stylists have to spend time and money obtaining certifications.
The tuition alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Once a stylist finishes their education and starts working, they’ll probably have to rent a salon space.
Then, they usually have to purchase an arsenal of styling tools and accessories and a vast selection of salon-quality hair products.
They might even hire an assistant to help with things like shampooing, cleaning, and hair prep. Although having an assistant or two increases the number of clients a hairstylist can see daily, it adds to their overall costs.
They’re Independent Contractors
The vast majority of hairstylists work as independent contractors. Even though this gives them plenty of freedom, it also means that they don’t get all the benefits that come with being an employee.
Most hairstylists will have to purchase their own supplies and life, health, and dental insurance. They have a more significant financial burden, as they’ll have to fund their Social Security and Medicare taxes independently.
There’s a Ton of Competition
It’s important to note that hairstyling is one of the most competitive beauty industries. There are thousands of young professionals seeking employment at your local salon.
As you try to grow your career or transfer to a new location, you might find that securing a full-time salon position is more challenging than you expected.
And as DIY tutorials proliferate on the internet, a lot of people have started doing their hair on their own.
Fortunately, there is always a high demand for skilled hair stylists. So, getting additional training, certification, and experience can help a hairdresser stand out from the crowd.
It Can Be Harmful to Your Health
As a hairstylist, you’ll work with a variety of chemicals. Hair styling products like bleach, relaxers, and hair dye contain harsh, caustic ingredients.
While these products are usually safe in small doses, stylists spend hours exposed to them. They inhale large amounts, which can lead to headaches, respiratory issues, and even cancer.
Constant exposure to chemicals can also damage a hairstylist’s skin or lead to chemical sensitivities.
Protecting yourself from exposure is incredibly important. Luckily, stylists can wear gloves and ensure that their workspace has plenty of ventilation.
You May Have Demanding Clients
One of the most challenging aspects of hairstyling has nothing to do with cutting or styling hair. The truth is people have high expectations, particularly regarding how they look. And this is definitely the case when it comes to hair.
For example, a stylist may have a client with jet-black hair who wants to be taken to the highest level of blonde in just one session.
They’ll need to educate the customer on why that’s not possible, find an acceptable alternative, and deal with their frustration. It can be a mentally and emotionally draining process, particularly with the more demanding customers.
Is Hairdresser a Good Career?
With so many ups and downs, you probably want to know whether or not becoming a hairstylist is worth it. For many stylists, the answer is a clear, resounding yes!
Even though there are some downsides to being a stylist, the same can be said about every career. Being a hairstylist allows you to show off your creativity, make a decent living, and spend time doing what you love.
Most cosmetology programs only require a high school diploma to get started, which also makes the career path very attractive. Hairstylists also have an extremely flexible schedule in many cases, with complete control over how long and how often they work.
They set their own prices and have the capacity to earn six figures or more. Additionally, hairstyling is often referred to as a recession-proof industry.
While that’s not entirely accurate, the industry is exceptionally resilient.
Even in difficult economic times, people need to get regular haircuts. Hairstylists have excellent job security and are essentially guaranteed work for as long as they want to!
To sum things up, hair stylists make an average of $25,000 to $75,000 a year. However, this is just an average, and some stylists may make significantly more or less.
The good news is that the amount they earn is entirely up to the stylist.
They can always supplement their income by diversifying their sources of income. We hope that the information we’ve gone over today helped shed some light on how much hair stylists make!
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a serial hair blogger that has been writing about hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric and Natural Hair Box. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care.