Knowing how to style your hair is tricky – with a mountain of products, styles and colours around nowadays, how can you know what will look best on you? And more importantly, how to actually do it?
Questions like these can make you realise how difficult a hairdresser’s or barber’s job is. Not only do they have to be familiar with the latest trends in hairdressing, but they also need to have the creativity and skill to adapt their knowledge to each individual client.
Apprenticeships are a popular way to kickstart your career in hairdressing, so we’re taking a look at how you can find your path in this stimulating and challenging industry.
Jobs in hairdressing
This one might sound obvious considering the title of this article, but what do hairdressers actually do all day?
As well as cutting, colouring and washing hair, you’ll need excellent interpersonal skills in order to understand what your clients want and to advise them on what will work best for them. You’ll also need to be a quick learner to adapt to all the different clients that walk through your doors.
Barbers work with men’s hair and facial hair. Similarly to hairdressers, barbers will cut, colour and style hair, but the difference is that they are often trained in shaving and styling facial hair too.
They use various clippers, combs, razors and scissors to achieve the look, and are experts in the latest trends in male grooming. Barbering work is equally as creative, adaptive and challenging as hairdressing.
Colourists are experts in dying their clients’ hair and some even specialise in particular types of colouring, such as dying blonde hair or dramatic transformations (for example, going from black hair to blonde). You’ll also be acting as a consultant to your clients, and taking the reins in helping them achieve the colour that they want without damaging their hair, or worse – getting the wrong outcome!
Top industries to work in
For some hairdressers and barbers, working in fashion shows is the ultimate challenge.
If you thrive on pressure and adrenaline, the intense and fast-paced atmosphere of a fashion show will be perfect for you. But this isn’t the only reason why so many hairdressing professionals choose to work in fashion – it’s also a great opportunity for you to practise a wide range of skills on a daily basis, and to really get creative.
From glamorous looks to wacky styling and cutting-edge designs, the fashion industry demands a lot from hairdressers, which is why it will never get boring.
Television, film and theatre
If you’re interested in styling a diverse range of looks but fashion isn’t your jam, why not take a look at jobs in the entertainment industry?
Hairstyles can help bring iconic characters in TV, film and theatre to life, so your job is vital to the experiences of the actors and the audience. Before you even pick up your comb, you’ll be involved in the pre-production phase, during which time you’ll read scripts and draft your unique designs. Plus, you won’t just be working with hair – have you considered special FX work using wigs, prosthetics, bald caps and more?
One thing’s for sure – people will always want to get married.
Bridal hair is largely considered to be a separate speciality to general hairdressing, and many brides like to incorporate extras into their hairstyles, such as flowers, tiaras and veils. Although this one is more applicable to hairdressing than barbering, it doesn’t mean that barbers are unwanted on the big day.
You could set up a mobile business to specialise in cutting men’s hair and facial hair on the morning of their wedding, and you can easily build a portfolio through social media.
The best apprenticeships in hairdressing (right now)
The Alan D academy has two schools in London and Ipswich, and they have apprenticeships in hairdressing and barbering. You could become a barber in 14 months and a hairdresser in 21 months, and qualify with a Level 2 Diploma for Hair Professionals.
You’ve probably seen a Francesco Group salon on your local high street. They offer an 18 month Hair Professional Apprenticeship, with the chance to progress to a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Hairdressing at the end. Entry requirements include at least Level 1 in English, Maths and IT.
With the Learning Curve Group, you can achieve a Diploma for Hair Professionals (Barbering) in 15-18 months, through a combination of on-the-job training and study at the LCG Hair & Beauty Academy.
Heart of England Training (HOET) offer a Level 2 Barbering Apprenticeship that will ensure you are ready to work upon completion. Be sure to check out the vacancies on their website because they fill up quickly.
Personality is key in hairdressing and barbering. Your clients will trust you with their hair – which is a pretty big deal! – so you’ll need to have the interpersonal skills to build a good rapport with them. Aside from that, the hairdressing industry is incredibly creative. Any artistic flair can translate well in the hairdressing world, even if you’ve never picked up a pair of clippers before.
The future is bright in hairdressing
You can find a multitude of professional hairdressers and barbers on social media to follow, so you can see what they do and how they have achieved their success.
This will further inspire you to forge your own fantastic career – if other people can do it, why can’t you? Embrace your creativity and work ethic with an apprenticeship in hairdressing or barbering. It’s your future – why not start now?