Most hairstylists enter the profession with dreams of creating spectacular looks for their clients and loving their work every day. But unfortunately, not all hair stylists stay in the profession.
There are several reasons why some hair stylists choose to leave the industry and pursue a different career path. Here are ten unknown reasons why many hair stylists have left the profession.
Why many hair stylists leave their profession
Difficulty in balancing personal and professional life
As with any profession, it can often be difficult for stylists to balance their personal and professional lives due to long hours and busy schedules that conflict with family life or other non-work commitments.
The difficulty of balancing personal life and work can cause stress and eventually drive some stylists away from the profession altogether.
Too much work load
Many people don’t realize how long a typical day can be for a hairstylist. Hairdressers usually work six or seven days a week and up to 12 hour shifts. It also means that many of the working hours are when most people go out to spend time, such as weekends, mornings and nights.
Hair stylists are known to be flexible to meet the needs of their clients, but this flexibility can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. Working this type of schedule is tiring and leaves little time to spend with family or other non-work hobbies.
Working these long hours may seem okay at first, but after many years in the profession, hair stylists can quickly burn out from the demanding nature of the job and choose to leave the career for a break.
Not paying enough
The average salary for hairdressers is $32,740 per year, and many hairdressers do not offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings or vacation pay.
Since the average annual salary for all occupations in the U.S. is $58,260, earning less than that can make it difficult to make ends meet, leading some hairstylists to leave after they realize they can make more money elsewhere.
There is no job security
Despite being one of the most competitive industries, many hair stylists struggle with job security due to high salon turnover rates or other issues such as natural seasonal fluctuations in business.
Even with reliable booth rentals, it’s difficult to secure work for clients, forcing hairstylists to market themselves to get and keep clients.
Constantly presenting yourself and your work in a sea of other competitive hairstylists can be exhausting, and some hairstylists leave the profession for something more stable and secure.
Trends change often
Keeping up with changing trends is essential for any successful hairdresser, but the demand to stay connected to the latest advances can be exhausting and overwhelming.
It’s also challenging when styles quickly become outdated, and what was once new and innovative becomes old news.
Staying ahead of fashion and beauty trends requires research on contemporary looks, participation in classes and workshops, visiting exhibitions, etc.
Hair stylists must invest a lot of money and hours to keep up with this pace. For some it is not worth it, so they choose another job.
Although customer satisfaction is part of what makes being a hairdresser so rewarding, it’s not always easy to deal with difficult personalities or last-minute changes in clients’ plans.
Handling difficult customer situations for years without proper support from management or colleagues can be mentally exhausting.
Even when hair stylists have a great team and leadership team supporting them, bad clients are bad clients, and it’s hard to avoid them completely. The inevitable risk of unhappy and challenging clients leads some stylists to find a better career elsewhere.
No matter how talented or experienced a stylist is, it’s hard to gain recognition in the industry unless you’re part of an elite group or have a successful chain of salons, which takes time and money to build.
Failure to recognize hard work causes some hair stylists to eventually give up on their dream of being leaders in the business, bringing them to a new field where they have a better chance to shine.
Promotional opportunities are limited
Most salons do not offer many advancement opportunities for their stylists, meaning there is no clear path to career advancement in the industry.
Most hair stylists go through the ranks of apprentice, junior hair stylist, associate stylist and master stylist, but beyond that, there is not much room for advancement.
The lack of upward mobility in the field can lead some stylists to move on after a few years to find a career path that better supports their growth.
fear of failure
For many people entering this field, the fear of failure plays a significant role. There may be doubts whether they will succeed in the highly competitive industry.
Doubts about one’s ability coupled with the fear of failure can cause hair stylists to give up on this career path and choose something that feels more secure and familiar.
a health hazard
Working with harsh chemicals all day takes its toll on your body after years of exposure. Hairstylists often experience skin or eye irritation from dyes and respiratory problems from inhaling toxic fumes, not to mention musculoskeletal disorders that can develop from overuse of hands and arms.
If health problems start to pile up, a hairstylist may have to make the difficult decision to leave the industry for good.
While treatments and protective equipment can help reduce the health impact of working in a salon, the effects of years and years on the job can leave a stylist with no choice but to quit.
Learn more with answers to the most frequently asked questions about why hairdressers leave the profession.
Yes. Being a hairstylist can be an extremely stressful job. Between demanding and unsatisfied clients, long hours, working during sociable hours, low wages and ever-changing trends, it’s easy to understand why a hairstylist might burn out from stress.
Hair salons fail for many reasons. If the business is financially unstable, has trouble finding customers, can’t find talented hair stylists, can’t keep talented hair stylists or has a bad reputation in the field, it is at a higher risk of failure.
The nature of starting a small business is challenging in itself. Almost 20% of all new businesses fail, whether they are hair salons or not.
Hair stylists could easily transition to another job in the cosmetics field, such as a facialist, nail artist, eyelash artist, or something similar. Teaching at a cosmetology school is another way to use hair styling skills in a different way.
They could also find related but different jobs, such as dog grooming or wig making, which tend to have more regular hours and a stable salary.
A hairdresser who wants to move away from cosmetology jobs can consider customer service, office management, marketing or styling.