Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

Hairdressers and Cosmetologists provide beauty services, such as cutting, coloring, and styling hair, and massaging and treating scalp. May shampoo hair, apply makeup, dress wigs, remove hair, and provide nail and skincare services.

Becoming One
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth


Job description

Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists 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.

  • Keep work stations clean and sanitize tools, such as scissors and combs.
  • Bleach, dye, or tint hair, using applicator or brush.
  • Cut, trim and shape hair or hairpieces, based on customers’ instructions, hair type, and facial features, using clippers, scissors, trimmers and razors.
  • Schedule client appointments.
Read more about what does a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$30190 per year

Average hourly wage
$15 per hour

Hairdressers and Cosmetologists with little to no experience tend to make between $17980 and $20130 while the more experienced ones can earn over $34910 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $22 $45,680
MA $20 $42,260
WA $20 $40,910
NJ $18 $37,230
DE $17 $35,810

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Hairdressers and Cosmetologists are DC, MA, WA, NJ and DE.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Post-secondary certificate

We asked other Hairdressers and Cosmetologists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Post-Secondary Certificate followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Cosmetology/Cosmetologist, General
Electrolysis/Electrology and Electrolysis Technician
Make-Up Artist/Specialist
Hair Styling/Stylist and Hair Design
Permanent Cosmetics/Makeup and Tattooing
Read more about how to become a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist.

Suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
One of the lowest paying jobs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

70% of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists said they were satisfied with their job and 58% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

My name is Monica Davis and I’m a professional hairstylist. My Typical Day My typical day at a hair salon includes a whole load of small routines that make up the whole process. My working day actually starts in the evening before. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I work all night long, no! It … Read More

ShineForth Salon

I’m a Hairstylist and owner of ShineForth Salon. I love what I do. I work for myself and always have. Now I see clients out of my own studio. My Typical Day A typical day includes opening up the studio by cleaning and setting up my tools, looking at my clients for the day, and … Read More

The bulk of my day is obviously spent on giving haircare services. But no two days are the same. Sometimes I have a truckload of customers who only need a short trim or styling. And sometimes I get stuck with customers who are looking for specific styles and need a few hours’ worth of work. … Read More

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Artists and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

Summary (You are here)
Job Description

Related career information

Hairdressers and Cosmetologists job description, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists salary, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists information, what is the job of a Hairdresser, Hairstylist and Cosmetologist like, pros and cons about Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists, colleges and universities for Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists, is Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists the right career for me, careers in Personal Care and Service

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Barber Stylist, Beautician, Beautician Apprentice, Beauty Advisor, Beauty Operator, Beauty Therapist, Colorist, Cosmetic Consultant, Cosmetician, Cosmetician Apprentice

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