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Career Profile: Hairdressers, Hairstylists, 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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 569,600 people employed as hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists in the United States. The median annual salary is $27,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $18,840 per year and senior employees earn approximately $53,410 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Shampoo, rinse, condition, and dry hair and scalp or hairpieces with water, liquid soap, or other solutions.
  • Operate cash registers to receive payments from patrons.
  • Order, display, and maintain supplies.
  • Comb, brush, and spray hair or wigs to set style.
  • 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.
  • Update and maintain customer information records, such as beauty services provided.
  • Demonstrate and sell hair care products and cosmetics.
  • Analyze patrons' hair and other physical features to determine and recommend beauty treatment or suggest hair styles.
  • Clean, shape, and polish fingernails and toenails, using files and nail polish.
  • Apply artificial fingernails.
  • Give facials to patrons, using special compounds, such as lotions and creams.
  • Attach wigs or hairpieces to model heads and dress wigs and hairpieces according to instructions, samples, sketches or photographs.
  • Develop new styles and techniques.
  • Apply water or setting, straightening or waving solutions to hair, and use curlers, rollers, hot combs and curling irons to press and curl hair.
  • Shape eyebrows and remove facial hair, using depilatory cream, tweezers, electrolysis or wax.
  • Shave, trim, and shape beards and moustaches.
  • Train or supervise other hairstylists, hairdressers, and assistants.
  • Massage and treat scalp for hygienic and remedial purposes, using hands, fingers, or vibrating equipment.
  • Administer therapeutic medication and advise patron to seek medical treatment for chronic or contagious scalp conditions.
  • Recommend and explain the use of cosmetics, lotions, and creams to soften and lubricate skin and enhance and restore natural appearance.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
569,600
Annual Openings:
78,900
Increase in Openings by 2030:
19%
Annual Salary Range:
$18,840 - $53,410
Education Requirements:
Some college