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

Hair Qualifications and Experience Rose Hadley 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: