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Want to be a top-notch hairstylist?

Andrea Gogri | June 14, 2006

Gone are the days when a haircut was a casual affair.

Back then, a visit to a local hairdresser/barber who used simple instruments like a scissor and comb to style or change your look, was all it took.

Today, hair means big business. And it's not just the celebrities who are constantly reinventing their looks.

imageMore and more people are willing to experiment and in turn spend money on getting the perfect hairstyle. They turn to professionals for treatments that enhance and maintain their looks.

Hence today's hairstylist is very different from the erstwhile barber. S/he uses an array of instruments ranging from combs and electrical appliances like hairdryers to complex chemical processes to tint, colour, wave, curl, straighten, and condition the hair, as well as hair products to finish off a look.

More salons are setting up shop all over the country including international brands like L'Oreal, Frank Provost and Schwarzkopf. The industry is said to be growing at 25 per cent a year.

As more salons open, there is a greater demand for trained professionals and many young people are seriously considering hairstyling as a profession.

Do you have the aptitude? 

Here are some prerequisites for any good hairstylist:

~ You must be creative and willing to experiment.

~ You must have an instinct about what hairstyle will best suit a person. In fact, you should be able to visualise the person with a different look and recommend new and exciting hairstyles.

~ An eye for detail is a must so that the finish of a haircut/treatment is good.

~ Besides being good at your job, a warm, friendly temperament will help encourage client loyalty.

~ You must be articulate and able to communicate well. This will help you explain the pros and cons of various treatments.

~ You must have a strong sense of hygeine and be neatly dressed.

~ You must be physically fit and especially have strong legs; this profession needs you to spend long hours standing on your feet.

~  You must have an open mind and be willing to learn about the practical/scientific aspects of new treatments and innovations in the field.

~ An interest in fashion and art definitely helps.

~ Like any other profession, you must have a passion for your work.

You must have the determination to keep learning and give it your best shot every single time. Hair is personal business where the results are seen immediately. Many a time, a wrong judgment can not only damage you professionally but also break one's spirit.

This is a profession where you cannot afford to be callous.

You need to have a lot of patience especially with fussy customers; you must try and exceed their expectations, in spite of it.

Career opportunities

~ Join a hairdressing salon. Some health clubs and fitness centres too have salons. Check out salons in good hotels and spas.

~ Be an in-house employee for fashion houses and fashion magazines, which regularly organise photo shoots.

~ Join a beauty consultant who caters to the film industry.

~ Set up your own salon or be a freelance hairstylist.

Self-employment is an attractive option but should only be considered after some years of experience. Take a good look at the location of the parlour, existing competition and the ability to raise start-up capital for the venture before you take the plunge. 

Remember, this is a word-of-mouth business. If you are good at your job, the word will easily spread around making it a lucrative career for you.

A trained fresher can get a monthly salary of Rs 5,000 to 7,000 at a hairstyling salon. If you join a salon run by an international brand, it doubles to Rs 15,000.

Your salary only increases with experience. Those with three to five years of experience can make Rs 50,000 plus. And don't forget tips, they form a lucrative part of your entire package.

Some beauty salons pay a fixed salary while others have a lower slab for the fixed component and give a percentage of every cut or hair styling or colour job.

Where you can study

A hairstylist's job requires skill training rather than high academic inputs.

Of course, you must be able to read and write and it is advisable to at least have completed your Class XII.

There are no formal programmes in India for hairstyling. Salons offer certified courses in hairstyling. We list some reputed ones below.

The courses cost between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,50,000 and schools provide both theoretical and practical knowledge.

Spratt The Hair Studio
Ground floor, Marielle Apartments
3, Magrath Road
Bangalore -- 560 025
Phone: (080) 5091110 / 12

Spratt also has a branch in Mumbai.

Habib's Hair Academy
M-3, South Extension
New Delhi -- 110 049
Phone: (011) 51640632
Web site:

It also has branches in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore.

b: blunt Academy
St John Baptist Road
Bandra West
Mumbai -- 400 050
Phone: (0) 9819725868

Pivot Point
32, De'Monte Colony
 T T K Road, Alwarpet
Chennai -- 600 018
Phone: (044) 467 1752 / 53

Polytechnic for women
A-3, South Extension, Part-1
New Delhi
Web site:

Eves Beauty and Hair Academy
194, B-Block
Lajpat Nagar
New Delhi
Phone: (0) 9811536559

Schnell Hans Beauty School
111, Mistry Chambers
Mumbai -- 400 005

Shahnaz Hussain's Woman's World International
B-40, Greater Kailash-1
New Delhi -- 110024

It has branches and franchises all over the country.

The author Andrea Gogri works for YoungBuzz India, a career guidance and people development company. For more information contact


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