Hair Stylists vs Hairdressers: Do You Know the Difference?

Many people often wonder why some people who work with hair are labelled stylists and others are known as hairdressers. Knowing if there really is a difference between stylists and hairdressers and whether they actually do different jobs is the first step to learning about these careers.

What's the difference between hair stylists and hairdressers? The difference between hair stylists and hairdressers is in what they do, with hair stylists focusing on styling such as putting people's hair up in different ways to heat styling hair with waves, curls and volume to suit a particular style. Whilst hairdressers are involved with washing, shampooing, coloring, applying chemical treatments to cutting hair.

A hairdresser will be professionally trained to cut your hair and style it. They are able to offer other services such as, straightening your hair, curling and can advice you on products which are best suited to not only to maintain your style but can benefit your hair needs too. Hairdressers remain updated on the current trends, styles and cuts.

A stylist would be great for a bride or for any other special occasion as they will be able to create the best look for you, for any occasion. A good stylist will also spend time with their clients, ensuring they understand the style you are trying to achieve and whether it is the best possible style for your face shape.

They will try and understand the look you are trying to achieve and by talking to you and discussing the condition of your hair, you will together be able to agree upon a style which will be best suited to you.

What is a Hairdresser?

Hairdressers can carryout a number of different duties and treatments. Your hairdresser will be able to color your hair, they will always shampoo and wash your hair, and should you wish, condition your hair which could even be a specialized hair conditioning treatment for your specific hair needs and concerns.

You can find hairdressers in various surroundings. Apart from the obvious choice of salons, a hairdresser can also be found in some hotels, spa's, health clubs and can also be involved in the film and fashion industries as well.

Hairdressers do require a level of education and training. A Level 2 or 3 Diploma in hairdressing is a typical requirement to get you started. The Diplomas can be carried out at colleges and you can also obtain training whilst working in a salon by getting an apprenticeship and work towards either an intermediate of advanced level. Hairdressing at colleges can also be combined with obtaining other skills such as make-up, nails and beauty.

Once you start your journey to becoming a hairdresser you could even specialize in a particular part of the hairdressing industry. You could specialize in color or in the different types of perming techniques.

As with any job, a hairdresser does require additional personal skills which will encourage repeat customers. They need to be creative, be able to work as part of a team, be clean and professional at all times and have excellent communication skills.

When we first visit a new hair salon and new hair dresser, this can be a daunting experience and can make some of us very nervous in their skills and abilities. A good hairdresser will initially spend some time talking to you to try and find out what style you would like and at the same time ascertain the type of hair you have.

They should keep in mind your face shape and be open and honest whilst carrying out the initial consultation. If you are opting for a completely different look, it is always helpful if you take photographs/pictures of the style you want so that the hairdresser can advise you whether that style would suit your or may be adapt it for your specific face shape. You need to feel comfortable with the hairdresser as you are putting so much trust in them.

Hairdressers can manage a salon and even eventually open and own their own salon.

What is a Stylist?

Stylists and hairdressers are both terms used in salons. In some high-end salons the role of a stylist and hairdresser may differ slightly. A hairdresser may be responsible for washing and conditioning your hair, coloring or cutting your hair. Whilst a stylist as the name suggests, focus on perms, curling your hair, and work on styles such as putting your hair up in different ways.

In some high-end salons you can find stylists at different grades, for example, a new stylist could be known as a Junior Stylist and the more experienced Stylist may be labelled as Senior Stylists.

The term stylist can be also be applied to beauty or fashion i.e., beauty stylist or fashion stylists. They can also be applied to writers or speakers who are acclaimed in the filed of style and fashion. A fashion stylist specializes in putting outfits together for any occasion.

How similar are Hairdressers & Stylists?

Similarities between hairdressers and stylists do exist and I've listed a few below:

  • Hairdressers and stylists both invest their time in ensuring the best cut and style for your hair. Whether its a brand new style for you or to maintain your current existing style
  • Both a hairdresser and a stylist can both offer you services such as, coloring, straightening, washing and conditioning your hair, as well as cutting and coloring your hair – to name a few
  • Apart from their hairdressing/hair styling skills, both a hairdressers and hair stylists need to possess excellent communication skills, have an eye for detail, need to be creative, keep their tools clean and obviously have great cutting and styling abilities

How to prepare when visiting a new salon for the first time?

The hard part is to find the best hairdresser/hair stylist for you and for your hair type. Hair types are varied, from thick, thin, wavy and coarse hair. Your hair could be bleached, highlighted, or colored. A good hairdresser and hair stylist will keep all this in mind when you discuss the look you are aiming for or if you are just interested in getting a good cut to maintain the style you already have.

Prior to any cut, a good hairdresser/stylist should spend some time with you to thoroughly talk through any style or concerns you may have and also discuss the condition of your hair. It is always advisable to take pictures/photographs with you if you are going for a completely different look. This will give your stylists/hairdresser an idea as to the look you are trying to achieve. It is always better to show them pictures then trying to describe the look you are going for.

A good hairdresser/stylist will be open and listen to you and hopefully be upfront and honest with you if they think the style should be adapted to suit your face shape as well as the condition and type of your hair. After styling your hair a good stylist will be able advice you as to how to manage and keep your new style whilst at home and also recommend products that can help to keep your hair in the best possible style and condition.

How best to choose a hairdresser or hair stylist?

The first thing you should do when searching for a hair salon is perhaps speak to your friends and ask them what salon they go to and ask them to recommend someone to you. Word of mouth is a great way to find a new salon. The other way is obviously through the internet. Check the ratings of the salons and also read the reviews. The reviews should give you some idea as to whether you wish to try that salon. The other thing to look at is the cost factor. In most salons, the cost of a stylist can vary quite considerably, depending on their position.

A cut by a Creative Director may be more costly then a cut by a Senior Stylists, so ensure you pick the right stylist for your budget. It is only through trial and error that you will find the right stylist for your hair. Once you find the right hairdresser/stylist will ensure that your look will always be achieve and maintained.

Through personal experience, I have gone through several salons until I have found the right one that suits my needs and my pocket. I have found that having thick hair has been a challenge for some hairdressers as they have gotten carried away with cutting my hair and also, I find using thinning scissors is a complete no, especially for me.

If you are going for a completely new look, then my best advise is to take a picture or a photograph to show your stylists so that your hairdresser can clearly see the style you are trying to achieve. Merely trying to describe your look is not the best way as it is open to different interpretations. At least if your stylist can see the picture, they can advise you whether that style is best suited for your face shape or whether it could be altered slightly to make that look more appropriate for the shape of your face.

Wrap up

A hairdresser and a stylist require the same level of education and training. They both do the same job, and both possess the same level of skill. The only difference which may be apparent is may be in some high-end salons, where they may differentiate between a hairdresser and a stylist.

In these cases, the hairdresser will be responsible for washing and conditioning your hair, coloring and cutting your hair whilst a stylist will be responsible for updo's, curling or perming your hair. So, to reiterate there is no difference between a hairdresser or a hair stylist they both are capable of doing the same job. It is only in certain cases, where the salons choose to separate their roles.

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