Hair Qualifications and Experience Needed To Succeed as a Hairdresser in London

Ever wondered what hair qualifications and experience is needed to succeed as a hairdresser in London?

With its vibrant and dynamic beauty scene, London offers incredible opportunities for talented hair professionals. However, to stand out and thrive in this competitive market, it’s essential to have the right hair qualifications and experience.

In this article, we’ll explore what top London salons look for in a hairdresser and how you can prepare to meet these standards.

Essential Qualifications

  • NVQ/SVQ in Hairdressing The most fundamental qualification for a hairdresser in the UK is an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) or SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) in Hairdressing, typically at Level 2 or 3. These qualifications provide comprehensive training in hair cutting, styling, coloring, and basic treatments. Level 2 covers the basics, while Level 3 delves into more advanced techniques and salon management skills.
  • Apprenticeships Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain hands-on experience while earning a qualification. Many top London salons offer apprenticeship programs that combine practical work with classroom-based learning. These programs are often highly regarded by employers because they provide real-world experience alongside formal education.
  • Specialised Courses Taking specialised courses can set you apart from other candidates. Courses in advanced colouring techniques, precision cutting, hair extensions, and bridal hairstyling can enhance your skillset and make you more attractive to top-tier salons. Renowned institutions like the London School of Barbering and the Vidal Sassoon Academy offer a variety of advanced training options.
  • Health and Safety Certification Understanding health and safety regulations is crucial in a salon environment. Many employers look for hairdressers who have completed courses in health and safety, ensuring they can maintain a safe and hygienic workspace for clients and colleagues.

Desired Experience

  • Work Experience in Reputable Salons Having experience working in reputable salons can significantly boost your employability. High-end London salons often seek candidates with a proven track record in similar environments. Gaining experience in well-known or high-traffic salons demonstrates that you can handle a demanding clientele and thrive in a fast-paced setting.
  • Customer Service Skills Exceptional customer service is a cornerstone of a successful hairdressing career. London salons value hairdressers who can build strong relationships with clients, understand their needs, and provide personalized service. Previous roles in customer-facing positions, whether within the beauty industry or in other sectors, can highlight your ability to deliver excellent customer experiences.
  • Portfolio of Work A well-curated portfolio showcasing your best work is essential. Include high-quality photos of various hairstyles, cuts, and colors you’ve created. Before-and-after shots are particularly effective in demonstrating your skill and creativity. A digital portfolio, such as a professional Instagram account, can also be a powerful tool to showcase your talent to potential employers.
  • Participation in Competitions and Events Taking part in hairdressing competitions and industry events can set you apart from other candidates. These activities demonstrate your passion for the craft and your commitment to excellence. Many salons appreciate hairdressers who are proactive in honing their skills and staying engaged with the broader hairdressing community.

Additional Skills and Attributes

  • Adaptability and Creativity London’s diverse clientele means you’ll need to adapt to various styles and preferences. Salons look for hairdressers who are creative and can think on their feet, offering clients innovative solutions and keeping up with the latest trends.
  • Strong Communication Skills Effective communication is vital in understanding client desires and explaining styling options and aftercare. Being able to clearly articulate your ideas and listen attentively to your clients ensures satisfaction and builds trust.
  • Team Player Working in a busy salon requires excellent teamwork. Employers value hairdressers who can collaborate well with colleagues, contribute positively to the salon environment, and support one another in delivering top-notch service.
  • Time Management and Efficiency The ability to manage your time effectively and work efficiently under pressure is crucial. London salons often have a high volume of clients, and being able to maintain quality while working swiftly is a highly sought-after skill.

Continuous Professional Development

  • Staying Updated with Trends The hairdressing industry is ever-evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging regularly. Attending workshops, seminars, and industry events helps you stay informed and brings fresh ideas to your clients.
  • Advanced Training and Certifications Pursuing further education and obtaining advanced certifications can boost your credentials. Courses in business management, advanced color correction, or even teaching qualifications can open new career pathways and enhance your professional standing.
  • Building a Professional Network Networking with other professionals in the industry can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and valuable mentorships. Joining professional associations and online forums can help you connect with peers and industry leaders.


To succeed as a hairdresser in London, it’s essential to have a solid foundation of hair qualifications and experience, and a continuous commitment to professional development. London’s top salons seek talented individuals who are not only skilled and creative but also adaptable, communicative, and dedicated to providing exceptional service. By meeting these criteria and continually striving to improve, you can build a rewarding and successful career in one of the world’s most exciting cities. So, polish your skills, update your portfolio, and get ready to make your mark in London’s vibrant hairdressing scene.

Ready to get your hairdresser career moving with your next hair job in London?

Contact: Rose Hadley London: Tel 0207 584 1990 OR apply here:

Top Hairdressers Welcome In London

Top Hairdressers Welcome In London

Experienced top hairdressers are required immediately in London and also overseas.
Whether it’s hair cutting, colouring or styling, there’s an ever growing demand for top hairdressers with these skills. London hair salons in particular are seeking experienced top hairdressers to join their teams.

What Makes a Top Hairdresser?

…. and how do you ensure both hair and client success?

Here’s eight top tips that help ensure success as a top hairdresser in London.

Consult Like A Top Professional

Whether we like it or not, first impressions count, especially when it comes to impressing hair clients. If we think of hairdressing as a process involving clients, the first stage is the “meet and greet” upon salon arrival. This is generally under the control of the salon receptionist, so hopefully they are well trained to make a good first impression.
A warm welcome upon arrival is important, as it helps win the client over with good customer service prior to the client consultation.
With necessary care and attention, the meet and greet should proceed seamlessly to a positive, inspiring and memorable client consultation. If there is one thing that shows a top hairdresser from their less successful peers, it’s the quality of the hair consultation.

How do the top hair professionals do this?

Here’s What You Need To Know:-
• Make the client feel important
• Check client is comfortable in their chair (or do they want a coffee?)
• Ask quality open ended questions to discover client hair preferences
• Use listening skills to ensure you understand client needs
• Repeat back to client what you heard, so they know you listened
• Good eye contact to show you really care (but not too much!)
• Show enthusiasm for the what needs done
• Know your products (so you can recommend if asked)

The client consultation is a fantastic opportunity to communicate to the client how important they are to us.
Get attuned to your client needs, listen carefully to what they want done to their hair and set the tone for a successful hair management appointment.
During the hair consultation, you are their personal hair advisor, ready to provide solutions. So make the most of it and impress.

The Practical Stuff…

Haircutting Skills

Hairdressers are renowned for their primary skill of haircutting and this comes in many forms from fringe trims to full restyles.
The most successful hairdressers have both practical hair cutting experience, along with advanced people skills.

Hair Washing (Backwash loving!)

Hair wash is part of a good hair service offering, but what is best practice these days?
In top salons, it’s not just a hair wash, it’s a head massage, reiki and hair conditioning all rolled into the one. Take the opportunity to add a top customer service experience for the hair wash.

All clients will then remember the wash for the professionalism and care shown, rather than for water dripping down the back of their necks!


Perming is not as popular as in the past, but there are still some, mainly an older set of clients who enjoy a regular hair perm. Hair stylists use perming to create hair bounce and curl.

Hair Colouring

Colour technicians are experts in their craft of hair colouring. Knowledge of hair dye products and practical hair colouring experience are invaluable in the process of hair colour management. Clients will usually have some preferences for colour, but many seek advice and rely on hairdressing expertise to make it a reality for them.
Hair colouring is popular and provides regular work for hair salons because it’s difficult for clients to do themselves at home. If they have ever tried it, clients quickly find out it’s messy and inconvenient. Not a good idea and best left to the professional hair stylists.

Blow Drying (With Gusto!)

Blow drying, straightening and curling tongs are used by professional hairdressers to create a masterpiece hairstyling. It’s time to use your experience to make the most of the right heat, choosing the right hairbrushes for client satisfaction.

People Skills

All top hairdressers know this. Clients value hair technicians with good people skills.
Some clients have some things they want to chat about other than their hair. They take the opportunity to “chat” and share their life secrets with hairdressers. It could be holidays or their love life so be prepared. The ability to listen without judgement goes a long way to being a successful hairdresser. Communication during a hairdressing session is a priceless part of what hairstylists offer their clients.

The Feel Good Factor

Modern society can be stressful, so what better way to feel good and de-stress during work breaks and weekends than some hairdressing.
It can be best summed up as hairdressers offering the “feel good factor” to clients.

So if you are a hairdresser, hair stylist or colour technician, you will know your hair skills make a big difference to people, bringing beautifully cut and styled hair, as well as precious moments relaxation and the feel good factor for clients.

In Summary
There’s an all year round demand for experienced hairdressers and hair stylists for both permanent and temporary roles across London.

Contacting an expert recruitment agency specialising in the hairdressing industry, can be a good way to develop your career.

For a new role in the hairdressing industry or career advice, Contact Rose Hadley London. Tel. 0207 584 1990