Back to Careers » Full Career Details
Hairdressers condition, blow-dry, cut, style, perm and colour hair. They may also advise customers about hair products on sale in the salon, and carry out reception duties and deal with money. Some hairdressers are self-employed.
Hairdressers working in salons talk to their clients to find out what they would like to have done to their hair. They also suggest suitable treatments. Hairdressing may involve shampooing, conditioning, cutting, styling, blow-drying and setting hair. Hairdressers may also perm, colour and bleach hair, or diagnose problems with the hair and scalp.
Men's hairdressers also trim beards and moustaches. Some specialist hairdressers fit wigs. Hairdressers also advise customers about products on sale in the salon and may carry out reception duties. Hairdressers, especially trainees, sweep the floor and dry towels.
In a small salon, hairdressers may do all the tasks on their own. In larger salons, where there are several members of staff, a trainee or a junior may assist the hairdressers.
Hairdressers should be aware of new trends in hairdressing, new techniques and treatments. Qualified hairdressers are responsible for their own clients. They try to establish a good relationship with clients in order to maintain their business. They need to know the various techniques in carrying out such tasks as cutting, perming or colouring. Different products are used, some of which contain chemicals. Hairdressers need to know the effect that these can have on the clients' hair.
Some hairdressers go to peoples' homes (e.g. for brides on the morning of their wedding), they may also visit hospitals and residential care institutions.
Personal Qualities and Skills
You need to be friendly, polite and able to talk to customers easily. You should work quickly and well with your hands, doing detailed work. A creative, artistic sense and an eye for colour and form is needed, along with an interest in fashion. Self-presentation is important. You should be well groomed.
You need to be fit and able to stand for long periods. The use of treatments that contain chemicals may affect you if you have sensitive skin. In some cases, the treatments can cause problems for people with allergies.
Pay and Opportunities
Opportunities exist in salons, the fashion world, the defence forces, prisons, and holiday resorts at home and abroad. With experience salon ownership is an option, as is freelance work. Specific careers in the health and beauty sector are covered by agreements made by Joint Labour Committees (JLCs). The purpose of Joint Labour Committees is to regulate conditions of employment and set minimum rates of pay for employees in these sectors of employment. Where there is no agreement in place the minimum wage often still pertains (see www.employmentrights.ie or www.citzensinformation.ie for more information). An established hairdresser can earn EUR 35k to EUR 50k per year. Tips and commission from products sold in the salon can be a significant fraction of income.
Entry Routes and Training
New entrants normally train in the workplace where training takes place one evening per week. Instead of training through a salon you can also enter a full time course in college.
There is a wide range of full and part-time courses at both further education and private schools. Schools organise work experience placements with local employers or may have their own salon on-site.
Post Leaving Certificate courses are offered at a number of colleges and some courses combine Beauty Therapy. FÁS run a course in Hairdressing for more information contact your local FÁS office.
It can be a very useful experience to have a Saturday job helping out in a hairdresser's. This gives an insight into the work of a hairdresser and may be helpful when applying for training or a college course.
Often educational qualifications are not required for entry to colleges and training schemes; enthusiasm and the right personality are considered more important. However it is helpful to have a Leaving Certificate to include science.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for more information on course qualifications.
Candidates should check with the individual Institutions for more detailed information on courses and specific entry requirements.
There is no upper age limit for entry into this job. There are refresher courses for people re-entering this area of work.
Contact your local Intreo Centre or Employment Services office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you
Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
Back to top