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How Much Do Hairstylists Make?

When most people think of a hairstylist, they think of someone who cuts and styles hair for a living. However, there is much more to being a successful hairstylist than simply knowing how to use a pair of scissors. In addition to being creative and knowledgeable about the latest trends, a good hairstylist must also be able to interact well with clients and make them feel comfortable in the salon.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of being a hairstylist is being able to generate a steady stream of income, and you’re probably here because you want to learn what to expect from a hairstylist’s salary. Fortunately, with the right mix of talent and hustle, it is possible to earn a good living working in this field. On this page, we’ll dive into the details of a career as a hairstylist and talk about the factors that determine a hairdresser’s salary.

How to become a hairstylist

To become a hairstylist, it is important to obtain the proper education and training. Most hairstylists complete a cosmetology program at a vocational school or community college. These programs typically last for about nine months to one year. During the program, students learn about hair care, haircutting, color theory, and much more.

After completing a hair school program, hairstylists must obtain a license from their state’s cosmetology board. This typically requires passing some mandatory exams. Most states have a theory exam, which is written, and a practical exam where you have to demonstrate your skills on a live subject or a mannequin. If you pass both tests, you’ll just need to finish your paperwork and pay your licensing fees. Once licensed, they can begin working with clients.

Many hairstylists start their careers by working in a salon before eventually opening their own businesses.

Learn more about how to become a hairstylist.

How do hairstylists get paid?

There are a variety of ways that hairstylists can earn income. The most common is through a salary or hourly wage. However, some stylists also receive commissions based on the services they provide or the products they sell. In addition, tips are often a significant source of income for hairstylists.

Most stylists rely on a combination of these sources of income to make a living. For example, a stylist who works in a salon may receive an hourly wage plus a commission on services and product sales. Tips can vary significantly based on the location and type of salon, but they can add a significant amount to a stylist’s income.

Regardless of the mix of income sources, hairstylists need to be good at their craft to be successful in making a living.

Average hourly salary for a hairstylist

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly salary for hairstylists in the United States is $17.30. The median average hourly pay is lower than the average, however, as that comes in at $14.26.

Average annual salary of a hairstylist

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a hairstylist in the U.S. is $35,990. Again, the median yearly number is lower here at only $29,670.’s data is similar, as they have a median salary of $28,140.

While those numbers may not blow your doors off, the earning potential at the high end of the profession is attractive, with the top 75% of earners making $38,790 or more per year, and the top 10% making $59,070 or more.

Mean hourly wage Mean annual wage
$ 17.30 $ 35,990


Average hairstylist pay by state

StateHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama$16.04 $33,370
Alaska$13.87 $28,860
Arizona$19.55 $40,660
Arkansas$14.94 $31,080
California$18.65 $38,790
Colorado$17.88 $37,190
Connecticut$16.91 $35,180
Delaware$17.62 $36,650
District of Columbia$34.87 $72,530
Florida$16.19 $33,680
Georgia$17.99 $37,420
Guam$10.18 $21,170
Hawaii$20.85 $43,370
Idaho$14.18 $29,500
Illinois$20.51 $42,660
Indiana$15.06 $31,320
Iowa$15.79 $32,850
Kansas$15.93 $33,130
Kentucky$12.40 $25,790
Louisiana$13.35 $27,760
Maine$16.27 $33,850
Maryland$18.96 $39,440
Massachusetts$21.27 $44,240
Michigan$21.19 $44,070
Minnesota$17.47 $36,340
Mississippi$13.96 $29,040
Missouri$17.51 $36,420
Montana$14.61 $30,380
Nebraska$18.22 $37,890
Nevada$12.78 $26,580
New Hampshire$16.42 $34,140
New Jersey$18.93 $39,370
New Mexico$12.63 $26,280
New York$19.39 $40,330
North Carolina$16.77 $34,880
North Dakota$17.13 $35,630
Ohio$15.26 $31,750
Oklahoma$13.28 $27,630
Oregon$15.81 $32,880
Pennsylvania$16.54 $34,400
Puerto Rico$11.23 $23,370
Rhode Island$15.71 $32,680
South Carolina$14.21 $29,570
South Dakota$16.28 $33,870
Tennessee$16.60 $34,540
Texas$14.27 $29,680
Utah$13.91 $28,920
Vermont$13.59 $28,270
Virginia$17.98 $37,400
Washington$20.96 $43,590
West Virginia$14.66 $30,500
Wisconsin$15.37 $31,970
Wyoming$13.36 $27,790

Top paying metro areas for hairstylists

The top ten paying metro areas for hairstylists are listed below.

CityHourly mean wageAnnual mean wageAnnual 75th percentile wageAnnual 90th percentile wage
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI$25.78 $53,630 $46,860 $142,140
Lansing-East Lansing, MI$25.71 $53,470 $48,130 $149,050
Barnstable Town, MA$25.30 $52,630 $58,970 $76,810
Muskegon, MI$23.80 $49,500 $44,630 $141,040
Upper Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area$22.67 $47,150 $44,980 $140,990
Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area$22.48 $46,750 $59,430 $75,470
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI$22.25 $46,290 $49,670 $62,730
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI$22.15 $46,070 $45,340 $144,980
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$21.83 $45,400 $47,680 $74,070
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC$21.62 $44,960 $53,720 $74,030

The ten lowest-paying metro areas are as follows.

CityHourly mean wageAnnual mean wageAnnual 75th percentile wageAnnual 90th percentile wage
Monroe, LA$11.88 $24,700 $28,100 $35,530
Lexington-Fayette, KY$11.71 $24,350 $27,920 $35,050
South Central Kentucky nonmetropolitan area$11.69 $24,310 $29,890 $37,240
Owensboro, KY$11.67 $24,280 $28,740 $34,940
Bowling Green, KY$11.66 $24,250 $29,090 $35,990
Ponce, PR$11.57 $24,060 $29,340 $37,040
West Kentucky nonmetropolitan area$11.52 $23,960 $30,130 $36,940
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas, PR$11.12 $23,130 $24,000 $35,870
East Kentucky nonmetropolitan area$11.05 $22,990 $28,310 $37,200
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL$9.67 $20,120 $18,800 $23,770

How to increase your earning potential

As a hairdresser, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your earning potential.

It is important to keep up with the latest trends. Read magazines and watch videos to see what styles are popular, and attend continuing education courses to learn how to execute them. It is also helpful to develop a strong relationship with your clients. Get to know them and their style preferences, and be sure to provide excellent service that leaves them looking and feeling good.

You should also consider offering additional services such as color consultations or makeup applications. By expanding your skill set, you will be able to attract new clients and retain existing ones. These are just a few ways in which you can earn more than the average salary for hairdressers in your area.

Job outlook for hairstylists

From 2021 through 2031, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates there will be 11% growth for hairstylist jobs. This beats the national average of 5%.

The demand for hairstylists will be driven by a growing population and an increase in the number of people who are willing to pay for hair care services. In addition, many hairstylists will retire over the next decade, creating even more job openings.

Although competition for jobs will be strong, those who have formal training and keep up with the latest trends in hair styling will have the best chances of finding employment. So if you’re thinking of becoming a hairstylist, now is a great time to start your career!

More questions?

Becoming a hairstylist is a bit of a process. If you have more questions about cosmetology school or the additional skills you’ll need to succeed in the beauty industry, check out our hairstylist FAQ page to learn more.