Future Talent

5 Skills you Need to be a Successful Hairdresser in 2018

by laurahusband / May 7, 2018

FG Apprenticeships

The hairdressing industry has a rich history of training professionals from scratch, but there is so much more to hairdressing than cutting hair. Gemma Hart, the Work Based Learning manager from Francesco Group has put together a list of skills that you need to be a successful hairdresser in 2018.

The science behind the style

Right across the board, there are a range of treatments that require a solid understanding of chemistry and physics from the stylist. Every time a customer wants a colour change, the stylist needs to understand how each client’s unique make-up of natural pigments can affect the colour choices made, as well as knowing how to handle hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Equally, a strong understanding is needed about the structures of the bonds within the hair to safely break them down and build them back up again.

Knowing the science behind the style is a constant learning path, as so many new trends come into fashion every day. Take the ‘unicorn’ – salons everywhere are receiving  requests for this style, meaning that both stylist and apprentice need to know how to mix and apply colour chemicals properly to create such advanced colours. These brighter, new fusions are a fantastic opportunity to learn with the team while keeping a finger on the pulse of contemporary trends.

Mathematical creativity 

The Meet Me at McDonalds wasn’t imagined in a second, and neither was Sia’s infamous blunt fringe. Both took careful calculation, consideration and measurement.

This simple formula applies to hairdressing across the business – from cuts to mixes to business management. Taking a mile when the customer thinks you’ve chopped an inch can damage the reputation of you and your salon.

The correct, bold angle can perfect the ultimate cut and perfecting the precise measurements for the amount of product needed ensures the customer leaves satisfied with their treatment.

But maths goes further than this; working out the business’ total cost, profit and revenue are essential skills for all businesses, and especially self-employed stylists. Knowing how to effectively calculate your column to make the most of the time and space in order to maximise profit are key skills that will take a business forward. 

Strong business management

On Francesco Group’s academy training programmes, the students have to prepare a business plan that in incorporates the core skills needed to run a business, such as maths, english and ICT skills. Part of the rationale here is to create a marketing plan so all training hairdressers know how to effectively and efficiently market themselves and the business. This includes a strong understanding of how to use social media, a major tool for those working in the hair industry with its focus on visual content.

We also train our students on how to conduct effective market research and translate the findings into financial benefits. Furthermore, we provide them with general business knowledge to ensure they know things like national insurance, tax requirements, as well as shop or chair rent.

Indeed, all potential and new Francesco franchisees have the opportunity to complete a Francesco Group business management course to make sure they can succeed.


Successful stylists need to be fashion forward and aware of the latest trends, but most importantly, must understand how to turn those ideas into styles.

It is an essential skill for all apprentices to know the basics of how to promote their creativity on social media. We’ve found a lot of the younger learners now have around 50k Instagram followers helping to highlight their creativity and passion for the sector.

People first

When running any business, communication is key, and business owners running salons are no exception. This is why consultation methods are taught right from the start to make sure all hairdressing professionals are equipped with the correct skills.

Ensuring your people skills are on point is so important to building the morale of your team, especially if you are an apprentice. Knowing how to work and communicate with your team effectively will put you on the front foot, helping you to not only be successful at your place of work, but also how to have fun along the way!

Gemma Hart, the Work Based Learning manager is from Francesco Group, an award-winning hairdressing business with over 40 salons and three VTCT approved training academies across the UK, providing apprenticeships and training within the industry.


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