Published: 5 July 2023

How Much Will You Make as a Hairstylist Over Your Lifetime?

In the world of economics, we often find ourselves delving into the financial intricacies of large corporations, global markets, and national economies. Yet, the economic realities of individual professions, such as hairstyling, are equally fascinating and impactful. Today, we’ll embark on a journey to understand the lifetime earnings of a hairstylist, from the first snip of the scissors to the day they hang up their apron for good.

The First Cut: Year One

How much hairdressers earn

The first year in the hairstyling industry is often the most challenging. As a novice, you’re likely to start as an apprentice, earning the national minimum wage. In the UK, as of 2023, this is £9.50 per hour. Assuming a 40-hour work week, your annual income in the first year would be approximately £19,760.

Climbing the Ladder: Years Two to Five

How much hairdressers earn

As you gain experience and build a loyal clientele, your income is likely to increase. By the second year, you could be earning around £21,000 per annum. This figure could rise to approximately £25,000 by the fifth year, assuming a modest annual growth rate of 4.5%.

Mastering the Craft: Years Six to Twenty

By the sixth year, you’re no longer a novice. You’ve mastered the craft, and your income reflects this. Let’s assume an average annual income of £30,000 for these years. Over this 15-year period, you would earn around £450,000.

The Golden Years: Years Twenty-One to Retirement

How much hairdressers earn

In the final phase of your career, you might take on a managerial role or even own a salon. Your income could rise to £40,000 per annum or more3. If you work for another 20 years, this would amount to an additional £800,000.

The Lifetime Earnings of a Hairstylist

Adding all these figures together, the total lifetime earnings of a hairstylist, from the first year to retirement, could be in the region of £1.3 million. This figure is, of course, a rough estimate and can vary based on factors such as location, specialisation, and individual talent.

The Earnings of a Superstar Stylist

Let’s now turn our attention to the upper echelons of the hairstyling profession – the top 5% of hairstylists. These individuals are the true talents of the industry, possessing not only exceptional technical skills but also an undeniable charisma and a profound passion for their craft. Their earnings are a testament to their mastery and dedication, and they serve as an inspiration for aspiring hairstylists everywhere.

By the 10th year of their career, these superstar stylists can expect to earn upwards of £80,000 annually, purely through their hairdressing commissions. This significant increase in income is a reflection of their exceptional talent, the high demand for their services, and the premium prices they can command due to their reputation and expertise.

As they progress into their 15th year and beyond, their earnings can soar well beyond the £80,000 mark. It’s not uncommon for these top-tier stylists to earn six-figure incomes, purely from their hairstyling services. This level of income is a testament to their ability to consistently deliver outstanding results, maintain a loyal clientele, and attract new customers through word-of-mouth and their reputation in the industry.

However, it’s important to note that reaching this level of success and income is not easy. It requires years of hard work, continuous learning and improvement, exceptional customer service, and a deep understanding of the trends and dynamics of the hairstyling industry. But for those who are willing to put in the effort and dedication, the rewards can be truly extraordinary.

The Science of Earnings

Now, let’s delve into the empirical side of things. The numbers we’ve discussed are not plucked out of thin air. They’re based on economic principles, labour market trends, and industry-specific data. Economists use complex models to predict income trajectories, factoring in variables such as inflation, wage growth, and career progression. These models are continually refined to reflect changing economic conditions and industry trends.

For instance, the hairstyling industry has seen significant growth in recent years, driven by increasing consumer spending on personal care services. This trend is expected to continue, potentially leading to higher wages for hairstylists in the future. However, factors such as automation and changing consumer preferences could also impact the industry, underscoring the need for continuous learning and adaptation.


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