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What Does A Hairstylist Assistant Do?

“No one is going to have your best interest or have your back or want you to succeed. You really need to be in the driver’s seat.” Jen Atkin, Hairstylist

As Director of Salon Education I was the person that hired and trained all of the Salon Assistants. Interviewing, hiring, training, and at times firing so many New Hairstylists taught me to be good and clear about what a Salon Assistant is hired to do.

Do you want my “Insider Secrets”? Keep Reading!

The easiest way to explain the job of a Hairstylist Assistant is that a Hairstylist Assistant is not one job it is two jobs! It is two different jobs with two different job descriptions. If you prepare mentally for this going in, you should be able to learn what you need to as an Assistant in about 1 to 1 ½ years and move on to being a Hairstylist.

A Hairstylist Assistant Does Two Jobs!

Job #1

Have the Hairstylist and the Salon’s back.

A Hairstylist Assistant is hired first and foremost to make the Hairstylist and the Salon look good. Period. End of Story.

Job #2

Learn and Grow Your Own Business.

As a savvy Hairstylist Assistant you will know to observe, learn, absorb, practice, grow in experience and build your own clientele base.

As a Hairstylist Assistant you are being hired and paid to assist the Salon and the Hairstylist. A Salon is not hiring and paying you to continue your education. So “Job #2 Learn and Grow Your Own Business” is all about you, and it’s all on you. Wow. That might sound rough, but if you were fortunate enough to get hired as an Assistant, you have the awesome position of working around talented, established Hairstylists. Please hear me. They know a lot, and assisting them do their work can be an amazing education, IF you pay attention.

Our Salon was unique in that we had an organized, weekly, New Talent training program. Like I said…unique, most salons do not have a training program. So, what do you do if there is no training program at your salon? Follow my job description #1 and #2 lists (below) and you will do great!

Job #1 → Have the Hairstylist and Salon’s back.

How do you have the Hairstylist and Salon’s back? Make them look good!

Start Your Day Like a Professional
  • Shower

  • Shave

  • Makeup

  • Hair

  • Nails

  • Ironed clothes

  • Clean shoes

  • Eat your breakfast

  • Pack your lunch and a snack

  • Get to work early

Before the Salon Day Begins
  • Look over the schedule for the day.

  • Tidy and clean the Stylist Station, locker, and check the bathroom.

  • Have a tray ready, lined with a clean towel and clean tools set out.

Take Care of the Salon Guests
  • Greet the guests with a smile and a complement.

  • Give Spa like shampoos, and finish with a turban

  • Get Amazing at a Professional Blow Dry.

Take Care of Your Boss
  • Tell all the guests that you love working at the salon, and that you are learning so much from your boss.

  • Sweep, get drinks, do laundry, wipe everything down, clean up color, and keep your stylist on schedule.

  • Limit your conversations with the guests. Job #1 is all about making your boss and the salon look good, the guest is there to talk to your boss, not you.

  • Be one step ahead. Organize your boss’s locker, order color, make sure they have everything they need.

  • NEVER look bored, tired, or disinterested, or anything that could be misunderstood as lazy.

Job #2 → Learn and Grow Your Own Business

The faster you learn the professional skills and techniques you are observing, the faster you will be on the floor doing your own clients.

  • What is your boss and the other Hairstylists in the salon doing well?

  • What are the client's reactions to the Hairstylists and how the salon is being run. What do the clients seem to really like? Not like?

  • Watch the services being done in the salon, go home and practice them on a friend or mannequin head.

  • If the salon offers ANY education you TAKE it. Salon Education is a bonus, a perk, an amazing opportunity, DO NOT waste it.

  • Ask if you can bring in your own clients on your boss’s day off. (Start building your own clientele.)

  • If you can bring people in, you hustle and bring people in. If the salon won’t let you, you start building a clientele at home or going to clients homes on your days off.

If you are able to find a Hairstylist Assistant position, Congratulations! Look out for the Salon, and the Hairstylists and have their back. But most importantly, be in the driver's seat, learn your career and have your own back. Please don’t make the mistake of only doing Job #1, and neglecting Job #2 to “Learn and Grow Your Own Business”. I believe in you! You’ve got this, you’re great!

Elevating The Industry,

Karen Spinelli


Cosmetology Students and New Hairstylists My intention with every post is to give New Hairstylists all over the world the tips, short cuts, and tools they need to quickly achieve success. I would love to hear from you! You can reach out here, on my site, Instagram, or Facebook. Sign up for my newsletter to receive my weekly blog sent to your inbox.

Cosmetology Schools and Teachers I would love to talk to your students! To book Karen as a speaker at your Cosmetology School, click here.

Karen Spinelli is from Pasadena, California. She was behind the chair for thirty five years, as well as Salon Director of Education for New Hairstylists for the last twenty years. Karen loves Hairstylists! She loves to be a part of “AHA” moments, and to watch New Hairstylists grow in their confidence and skills.

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