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Embrace the twists and turns of your learning journey

We will spotlight different careers every week to educate and allow young people to discover new interests.

Selecting the correct career is a crucial decision with far-reaching implications. It is a choice that will shape your future, underscoring the importance of making an informed decision.

Over the next few weeks, The African Reporter will engage business people, professionals, and other role players, focusing on a specific career field weekly.

By doing this, we aim to provide valuable guidance to our younger readers navigating their career choices.
This week, we give a platform to the hairstylist career.

Kwa-Thema resident Mongezi Nkosi (32) is a hairstylist who started his business in the industry in 2020.

Nkosi said hairdressing, as an occupation, dates back thousands of years when Africans believed that hair was a method to communicate with the divine being.

“Hairdressers can also be referred to as hairstylists,” said Nkosi.

Nkosi added that life is always more beautiful when one meets the right hairdresser.

What is a hairdresser?
A hairstylist is a beauty service professional who specialises in the fashioning, creation, innovation and treatment of hair.

What does a hairdresser do?
A hairdresser’s occupation is to cut or style hair to change or maintain a person’s image and they achieve this using a combination of techniques. It can be an exciting career for creative and personable professionals.

A hairstylist might recommend various products and techniques suitable to the client that help with hair maintenance, like applying hair gel or mousse. Additionally, hairstylists do basic business tasks, like ordering supplies, cleaning the shop, sanitising the workstations and accepting customer payment.

What skills do I need to become a hairdresser?
• Artistry and creativity – Playing around with ideas if you are a hairstylist is crucial. Monitoring trends, modifying them, and practising them are vital in this field, and this is where attention to detail comes in.

This skill can allow a hairdresser to advise their clients on new and contemporary styles that might suit them. Artistic capabilities might help professionals understand lines and shapes, allowing them to create flattering hairstyles for their clients.

• Attention to detail – Listening to clients’ hairdressing requests and providing them with honest feedback and professional insights is crucial.

• Time management – It is vital hairstylist monitor their spend your time. Each client is important, so it is essential to manage your time wisely to meet all their needs.

• Active listening – To help clients achieve their desired look, hairdressers might benefit from active listening and paying close attention to a client’s given descriptions and gestures.

• Customer service skills – You must be polite and understanding with all your clients, so this is where the ‘customer is always right’ phrase comes in. Providing customers with the service they request while offering an enjoyable experience is vitally important.

• Professionalism – While developing friendships and professional relationships with clients could be beneficial, remaining professional is crucial.

• Confidence – Being confident in yourself and your professional abilities might help you throughout your career as a hairdresser.

Where can I acquire the necessary skills to become a hairdresser?
One can study to become a hairdresser anywhere, even on YouTube. Hairstylists can study full-time or part-time at a college or do an apprenticeship with a qualified hairdresser, combining training towards a qualification while also working.

To study for a qualification, most colleges require a Grade 10 certificate. Institutions are Sector Education and Training Authority-accredited, and practical learnership is part of the training. Courses might take six to 12 months if doing them at a salon, and some colleges might offer the course for 12 to 24 months.

Where do hairdressers work?
Hairstylists work in various settings, including salons, spas, fashion shoots, and film, TV, and theatre production sets. Hairdressers might be self-employed or work for hotels and resorts, providing various hairdressing services.

They provide hair advice and recommendations and attach wigs, hairpieces, extensions, and toupees to clients.
The workplace of a hairdresser can vary depending on factors such as the type of salon, clientele, and geographic location.

Generally, hairdressers work in well-equipped salons that provide a comfortable and inviting environment for their clients and staff. These salons might range from small, independently owned establishments to large upscale chains in urban areas or shopping centres.

What are a hairstylist’s duties and responsibilities?
• Consultation: Before performing any service, hairdressers consult with clients to understand their desired hairstyle, hair type, lifestyle, and maintenance preferences. They offer expert advice and recommendations based on their knowledge and expertise.

• Product recommendation: Hairdressers recommend hair care products, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and treatments, to help clients maintain their hairstyle and keep their hair healthy between salon visits.

• Sanitation and hygiene: Hairdressers maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards in the salon by regularly sanitising tools, equipment and workstations. They adhere to health and safety protocols to ensure the well-being of clients and staff.

• Continuing education: To stay current with industry trends and techniques, hairdressers participate in ongoing education and training programmes. They attend workshops, seminars, and classes to enhance their skills and expand their knowledge.

Are there different types of hairstylists?
Yes, there are several types of hairdressers. Each requires different skills and expertise, and individuals may choose to specialise in a specific area of hairdressing based on their interests and strengths. Types of hairdressers:

• Barbers specialise in cutting and styling men’s hair and facial hair. They typically work in barbershops where they offer a range of services, including haircuts, beard trims, and shaves, while also providing grooming advice to clients.

• A hair colourist focuses on colouring hair using various techniques and products to achieve desired shades and effects. They assess clients’ hair colour goals, recommend suitable colour options, and apply colour treatments.

• Hairdressing educators specialise in teaching aspiring hairdressers the skills and techniques necessary to succeed in the industry. They develop curriculum, conduct hands-on training sessions, and provide guidance and mentorship to students, ensuring they receive comprehensive education and preparation for their careers in hairdressing. We also have all-rounder hairstylists who do all the above.

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