Apprentice Week: 10 Ways You Use Maths in Hairdressing Without Even Knowing It
The stigma that hairdressing isn’t for smart people is something that our industry is constantly trying to combat. Creativity is obviously central to the field but being business savvy and good at maths is also pretty core to succeeding in the business.
Maths and numbers are central to many tasks we all do every day and hairdressing is no exception. Although you might think you’re “bad at maths” because you didn’t do well at it at school, you’re using it all the time at work, probably without realising it.
Here are just 10 of the ways you are using maths in hairdressing without even knowing it.
1. Planning your time
Even simple tasks such as booking appointments involve a basic grasp of how numbers work, especially to estimate how much time you’ll need with each client throughout the day so you don’t keep anyone waiting.
2. Stock management and ordering supplies
Running out of products is every hairdresser’s worst nightmare, so being able to manage your stock accurately and order enough of the right products is really important. If you can count and do basic sums involved in stock control, you can do maths.
3. Taking payments and giving change
This is probably the most obvious way you use maths in the salon every day. Understanding how treatments are priced so you know what to charge customers and what change to give them is vital to your work.
4. Colour treatments
Understanding quantities is an important part of any hairdresser’s job, particularly when it comes to colour treatments. To select the right developer and measure the right proportion of products to get the results your client wants, knowing how volume and ratios work is essential.
5. Sectioning hair for colouring, cutting and styling
Being able to section hair means having to understand shape and space, a key concept of the maths learning we all do at school. If you can section your clients’ hair properly, you can do maths!
6. Getting the cut right
A haircut is more than just knowing how to use a pair of scissors. Understanding angles, lengths and shapes are key maths concepts that are the most important part of getting a haircut right. You wouldn’t be able to give a client the perfect asymmetric bob without them.
7. Washing hair
Neither you nor your client wants their scalp scalded! Understanding temperature to make sure it’s just right involves a knowledge of maths, as does estimating how much shampoo, conditioner and treatments your client needs for their hair.
8. Interpreting numbers
Many products you use in the salon are numbered to indicate their strength or colour. Being able to interpret these numbers and knowing what they mean is a part of mathematical understanding, so if you get it then you can do maths!
9. Running a salon
As with running any business, maths skills are essential to calculating profits and outgoings, including rent, bills and paying your stylists. Even if you’re not running the salon, you’ll still need to check you’ve been paid correctly and understand your payslip.
10. Spatial skills
If you’re considering starting a salon or you’ve already opened your own, making decisions about the design of your space will have involved more maths than you’d think. Understanding the space, measuring for fixtures and fittings, and working out how many workstations and sinks to fit – all involve mathematical understanding.
If you’re not as confident with maths as you’d like to be but don’t know how to improve, sign up for the National Numeracy Challenge. The site is simple to use and can tell you the areas that you could do with some practice on, as well as giving you the resources to learn. Find out more.