A Cut Above: Leveling Up as a Hair Stylist
In the world of hairdressing, stylists must constantly hone their skills to rise through the ranks. Much like a video game with increasingly difficult levels, hair stylists face escalating challenges as they aim for the top. From apprentice to master stylist, each tier brings more complexity, pressure, and rewards. So what does it take to level up? Read on for an insider’s guide to hair stylist levels.
Apprentice (Level 1)
Fresh from beauty school, apprentices begin their journey under the wing of an experienced stylist. At this novice level, training focuses on fundamentals:
- Shampooing and conditioning techniques
- Basic haircuts like trims and blunt cuts
- Basic color techniques like all-over color and highlights
During this time, apprentices slowly build fundamental skills under close supervision. While the basics are crucial, they can also grow bored of repeatedly performing the same simple tasks. Patience and persistence are required to get through this novice stage.
Junior Stylist (Level 2)
After 1-2 years training, apprentices graduate to junior stylist. At this point, they can handle more complex haircuts and color jobs with moderate guidance:
- Layered haircuts
- Color corrections
- Partial highlights and balayage
- Simple updos
Junior stylists tackle more advanced techniques but still require guidance when things go sideways. They build speed, confidence and client management skills. But the job can still feel repetitive, and juniors must push themselves to keep learning.
Stylist (Level 3)
After 3-5 years experience, stylists can operate independently without constant supervision. At this stage, stylists expand their repertoire with advanced techniques:
- Expert cutting techniques like razored edges, texturizing and seamless layers
- Advanced color like ombre, fashion colors and vivid rainbow looks
- Complex updos for weddings and events
- Men’s cutting and styling
At the stylist level, creativity comes into play. Stylists enjoy more autonomy to flaunt their own signature style and build a loyal clientele.
Senior Stylist (Level 4)
After 5+ years perfecting fundamental skills, standout stylists reach senior status. At the top of their game, senior stylists push boundaries with avant-garde looks:
- Precision cutting to create geometric shapes, shattered layers and razor-sharp lines
- Vivid color melting and hand-painted looks
- Show-stopping updos with braids, flowers and accessories
- Runway and editorial styling for photo shoots
Senior stylists expend great effort to stay on the cutting edge of trends. Attending advanced training classes and hair shows helps them learn new techniques. Many begin training junior staff. At this expert level, stylists gain prestige and their books fill up quickly.
Master Stylist (Level 5)
The pinnacle takes 10+ years to achieve. Master stylists are industry celebrities like Louis Licari and Sally Hershberger. Their technical skills are flawless and their creativity knows no bounds.
Masters shape trends rather than follow them. They frequently work on runways, photo shoots and with celebrities. While constantly honing their craft, they also manage busy salons and train the next generation.
For masters, hair design is an art form. Their knowledge and instincts allow them to transform a client’s style to match their true essence. Masters live and breathe hair – it’s not just a career but a passion.
Leveling up as a stylist takes time, determination and lifelong learning. But the investment pays off in creative fulfillment, career opportunities and industry clout. From novice to master, each step of the Hair stylist levels journey brings new techniques, challenges and rewards. For hairdressers passionate about their craft, the sky’s the limit.