How Much Can you Make as a Hair Stylist (Jobs in Haircare)

How Much Can you Make as a Hair Stylist (Jobs in Haircare)

How Much Can you Make as a Hair Stylist

Hair stylists are not exactly known for earning the highest paychecks in the personal care industry. In fact, it’s often seen as an entry level job, albeit one where a skill is needed and where experience can lead to higher paid positions. But just how much can you earn as a hair stylist and what other jobs pay well in the haircare industry?

How Much do Hairstylists Make?

In the United States, a hair stylist can expect to make between $12 and $13 an hour on average, which equates to a country-wide average of just under $30,000 a year. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s more than many popular entry-level jobs in the US, including the in the retail and hospitality sector.

Of course, this is the average and it is inflated by those who are earning more, with a percentage of higher earners picking up paychecks of more than $45,000 a year. At the bottom end of the pay grade stylists are making around $16,000 a year, typically because they are working fewer hours, are new to the job and/or are working on some kind of internship.

More than 90% of stylists in the US work for a personal care business, which includes saloons, spas and beauty shops. The average here is around $26,000, with between $35,000 and $40,000 being paid to the more experience workers in areas with more traffic and in shops with better reputations.

If you move away from this sector, the pay grade increases. Self employed stylists can expect to earn twice as much as this if they have the customers to fill their schedules, while stylists working for motion pictures and TV earn an average of around $70,000 in the United States. This is basically the upper limit for stylists that are not self-employed.

Pros and Cons of Working as a Hair Stylist

The money isn’t all that bad. It’s not high enough to consider it a positive, or low enough to consider it a negative, but there are certainly other things we can put into these categories. As far as cons go, it’s not the healthiest job and it’s not fun spending evenings picking customers’ hair out of your skin, nor is it healthy to work with so many sprays and liquid chemicals.

As for pros, hair stylists are able to benefit from promotions that promise a higher pay grade and if they are good enough and fortunate enough, they can also become stylists to the stars, self-employed stylists and business owners, all of which will allow them to use their skills and experience while earning significantly more than the base wage for this profession.

If we focus on those entry level jobs, then there are still many more benefits. This is a very social job and one that keeps standard hours, which means hair stylists can enjoy time with friends an families and tend not to struggle to build their social life around their working life. There are also many employee benefits and employee rights, all of which ensure that should they suffer from an injury or an illness in the workplace, then they can receive compensation. Many hair stylists will also benefit from health insurance, not to mention cheap or even free hair products, cuts and styles.

Alternative Jobs for Hair Stylists

Here are a few alternative options for stylists with the skill, experience and desire to take it a little further.


We have covered countless hair growth pills on this site. It’s what we do and it’s in our name. Many of these have been created by large supplement companies who spend millions on getting their brand out there. But the products themselves are usually created from basic ingredients that are easy to get your hands in and cheap when bought in bulk.

Many haircare supplements are simple vitamin concoctions, with a few extracts thrown in. These are easy to recreate and if you have worked as a stylist for many years, then you have a customer basis already and you can grow from there. There are also oils, shampoos and other topical treatments. Stylists have experience of working with these products. They know what works and what doesn’t and some of the richest stylists in the world are ones with their own line of supplements and haircare products.


The fact that these jobs tend to be 9 to 5 and 5 days a week also means that hair stylists that are very career minded can earn more money on the side. They can offer their services as a freelance stylist, they could open a side business, take a weekend job or they could even review products on Youtube. We recently worked with a stylist who made a decent side income working as a reviewer and freelance writer focusing on healthcare. She wrote a review of a dryer at, had been featured in a a local beauty magazine and even had her name on a YourTango piece.

These jobs may be small, but they can also be fun, with freelancing contracts like this paying upwards of $0.10 per word, giving faster writers the chance to earn over $100 an hour. Of course, the work isn’t endless and you may only get one or two articles a week, but for that rate, it’s still worth it. Checkout this guide, written by a pro freelancer, to learn more.


Many stylists will also be asked to perform other beauty treatments and in some cases they will be paid commission for selling these services. This is where the money really stats to roll in because these services have a huge markup. These days everyone wants the latest beauty trend, whether it be botox or mud masks. There is always something new and if you can be the one to offer it to customers after they have heard their favorite celebrity talking about it, then you can earn a sizable income, either directly or through your employee.

Be proactive and stay up to date with the latest trends. Even small town beauty shops can inject a bit of Hollywood glitz and glamor into their offerings because small town females are just as hungry for these treatments as everyone else.

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