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How can I become a hairdresser?

Becoming A Hairdresser

Trevor Sorbie (Director) gives expert video advice on: What skills do I need to be a hairdresser?; Is it best to be trained at a college or a hair salon?; What makes a successful hairdresser? and more...

What skills do I need to be a hairdresser?

To be a hairdresser, you have to really enjoy communicating with people. I think you have to have people skills, I think you also have to be somewhat creative, because hairdressing is a very creative job, and I think you have to have a very good sense of fashion. These are the three most important skills you need to be a hairdresser.

What qualifications do you need to be a hairdresser?

To be honest you actually don't need any. I have been hairdressing for 42 years and I have no documentation to say I'm a qualified hairdresser mainly because in those days you didn't need any qualifications you just learned as you went along, but now a days you can go to a college or school and take what is called MVQ. and there is 3 grades. 1st year, 2nd year, and after the 2nd year you can actually be called a hairdresser. You can actually physically work cutting peoples hair and the third level is almost like an advanced stage like an advanced driving course you just take it to the next level and obviously it will improve your skills which in turn will make you a better hairdresser. So 3 years is usually I think the best training

Is it best to be trained at a college or a hair salon?

The difference between a hairdresser being trained in a college or a school versus a hair salon is, for me, the hair salon's the best way to go simply because you're on the floor every day. You are working in a hairdressing environment. You are dealing with paying customers. So I think that's an experience that you don't get so much learning hairdressing in colleges. And also you can customize how often you want to do the NVQ in hairdressing. You can go in for five days a week, or you can go for one day a week. Obviously, the more time you put in, the quicker you're going to learn to be a hairdresser. So I still think that the salon is the better route to learn to become a hairdresser because I think you'll get more one-on-one education as well.

You do need to be up to date in hairdressing with the fashion trends, simply because it's a very fashion orientated business. It's a very young business, in terms of hairdressers are usually very young, excluding me, but I was once, and at the same time, fashion leads and hair follows fashion. So you have to know exactly what's happening through the media, television, films and, obviously, magazines. It's a very important part of being a hairdresser, knowing the trends, because if somebody comes in and says I want my hair cut like Posh Spice and you haven't seen her or read about her for the last six months, you'll probably give her the wrong hair style because she's probably changed it, knowing her. So, yes, very important to keep up with the trends.

What makes a successful hairdresser?

The main component that makes a very successful hairdresser is firstly the passion. You also have to have staying power and very importantly not be afraid of hard work and probably equal to passion, I would say, the main component in being a successful hairdresser is to be the best you can and not be money motivated, if you have this quality and can invent a hairstyle in this day and age you are going to be an incredibly successful hairdresser. If you can design a haircut that the world will wear tomorrow you are going to make a very big name for yourself in hairdressing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring hairdresser?

If you want to get to the top, you never stop learning. After forty-two years of being in this business, I am still learning things that I don't know. And I'm actually one of these people, I'm not that interested in what I know, I'm very much more interested in what I don't know, and so therefore it's ongoing. And my advice to any hairdresser is, the minute you stop learning, is the minute you stop growing.