Timeless Talent: Why Age is No Barrier to Becoming a Hairdresser
Can one launch a passion-filled new career in the hair industry after 40? Absolutely! While pop culture depicts stylists as young hipsters, the reality proves hairdressing talent transcends age. Read stories of inspirational stylists starting later in life, and discover data showing experience is valued alongside youthful flair. It’s never too late to follow your creative dreams.
TV and movies often portray stylists through tropes like edgy 20-something upstarts with funky dyed hair. But the reality of salon culture reveals practitioners of all ages thriving. From celebrity stylists to small town salon owners – many didn’t even begin their journey until well into adulthood.
Hairdressing is often viewed as a young person’s career. But with dedication, one can certainly start on-the-job training or attend beauty school in their 40s, 50s, or beyond. While making a big career switch mid-life takes courage, know that it’s absolutely achievable. Your maturity and life experience can even provide advantages the 20-somethings lack.
Stories of Late Bloomers
Plenty of inspiring stories exist of stylists starting later and excelling through passion and grit:
- Charles Worthington didn’t attend hairdressing college until age 29, but went on to do Princess Diana’s hair and build a luxury global brand.
- Jo Hansford opened her first salon at 42, and now counts British royalty among her A-list clientele.
- Vidal Sassoon veteran Mark Hayes started hairdressing at 17 but says some of his most talented mentees began in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
- Guia Baggiani pivoted to hairdressing at age 45 and won Ontario Hairstylist of the Year just 5 years later.
- Rosie Cunliffe opened her first salon at 48 after finding joy in doing her daughter’s hair. Her success allowed her to open a second location at age 60.
Clearly, the passion for hairdressing can strike at any age. While gaining skills takes dedication, one’s maturity and life experience can actually enhance client relationships and industry acumen.
Industry Demand for Mature Stylists
The numbers also show the hair industry actively seeks and values stylists of all ages, not just the young guns.
- 23% of all UK hairdressers are 50+
- The 45-54 demographic is the 2nd largest age group employed as stylists
- Employers value maturity for client care and mentoring younger staff
- Veterans transfer decades of skills not easily replicated
Yes, one must keep skills sharply honed through ongoing education. But the core artistry and finesse take years to hone. Stylists starting later in life bring a level of mastery that enables them to climb the ranks and earn top incomes.
While pensions allow some older stylists to retire, many stay active for the joy and income. Passion for the craft keeps legendary talents like Vidal Sassoon and Nicky Clarke working into their 80s.
Taking the First Step
Pursuing this career later in life understandably brings questions. But know that the main requirements are inner drive and commitment to perfecting your technique. With focus and resilience, one can attain mastery at any age.
To get started:
- Enroll in a respected cosmetology program
- Gain apprenticeship experience in a quality salon
- Build a portfolio and clientele
- Specialise in a niche like colour, styling or extensions
- Continue honing skills through classes and conferences
Talk to working stylists for advice. Share your aspirations and they’ll likely provide enthusiastic encouragement rather than judgement. Age becomes insignificant when passion shines through.
While the path requires dedication, pursuing hairdressing beyond one’s 20s or 30s is absolutely achievable. Let inspiration from veteran late bloomers instill confidence to follow your creative dreams. With maturity and tireless devotion to your craft, you can build an exciting new career and become proof that talent transcends age.