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10 Untold Reasons Many Hairstylists Quit Their Profession

Most hairstylists enter the profession with dreams of creating stunning looks for their clients and loving their job daily. But unfortunately, not all hairstylists stay in the trade.

There are several reasons why some hairstylists choose to leave the industry and pursue another career path. Here are ten untold reasons why many hairstylists quit the profession.

Why Many Hairstylists Quit Their Profession

Difficulty Balancing Personal & Professional Lives

reasons why hairstylists quit - Lack of work life balance

As with any profession, it can often be difficult for stylists to balance their personal lives with their professional ones due to long hours and busy schedules that conflict with family life or other non-work commitments.

The difficulty of balancing both personal and work lives can cause stress and eventually lead some stylists away from the profession altogether.

Too Much Workload

Many people don’t realize how long a typical day for a hairstylist can be. Hairdressers usually work six or seven days a week and up to 12-hour shifts. It also means that many of the hours worked are when most people are out socializing, such as weekends, mornings, and nights.

Hairstylists are known for being flexible to meet the needs of their clients, but this flexibility can lead to an unhealthy work/life balance. Working this kind of schedule is tiring and leaves little time to spend with family or other hobbies that don’t involve work.

Working these long hours might not seem bad at first, but after many years in the profession, hairstylists can quickly burn out from the demanding nature of the job and choose to quit the career for respite.

Not Paying Enough

reasons why hairstylists quit - Low Pay

The average salary for hairdressers is $32,740 per year, and many salons don’t offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, or vacation pay.

Since the average annual salary for all occupations in the US is $58,260, earning less than that can make it hard to make ends meet, leading some hairstylists to quit after they realize they could be making more money elsewhere.

No Job Security

Despite being one of the most competitive industries, many hairstylists struggle with job security due to high turnover rates at salons or other issues such as natural seasonal fluctuations in business.

Even with a reliable booth rental, it’s hard to guarantee client work, forcing the hairstylists to market themselves to get and keep clients.

Constantly pitching yourself and your work in a sea of other competitive hairstylists can become exhausting, and some hairstylists leave the profession for something more stable and secure.

Keeping up with changing trends is essential for any successful hairdresser, but the demand to stay plugged into the latest advances can be exhausting and overwhelming.

It’s also challenging when styles become outdated quickly, and what was once new and innovative becomes old news.

Staying ahead of fashion and beauty trends requires researching contemporary looks, attending classes and workshops, visiting trade shows, etc.

Hairstylists must spend lots of money and hours to keep up in this way. For some, it’s not worth it, so they choose a different job.

Challenging Customers

reasons why hairstylists quit - Difficult Clients

Although satisfying clients is part of what makes being a hairdresser so rewarding, it’s not always easy dealing with difficult personalities or last-minute changes in plans from customers.

Handling difficult client situations for years on end without proper support from management or colleagues can be mentally exhausting.

Even when hairstylists have a great staff and leadership team supporting them, bad clients are bad clients, and it’s hard to avoid them entirely. The inescapable risk of unhappy and challenging clients leads some stylists to find a better career in a different field.

Lack Of Recognition

No matter how talented or experienced a stylist is, recognition within the industry is hard to come by unless you are part of an elite group or have a successful salon chain, which takes time and money to build.

Not being recognized for hard work causes some hairstylists to eventually give up on their dream of becoming a leader in the business, bringing them to a new field in which they have a better chance at shining.

Limited Advancement Opportunities

reasons why hairstylists quit - Limited Advancement Opportunities

Most salons don’t offer many advancement opportunities for their stylists, meaning there is no clear path for career progression within the industry.

Most hairstylists move through the ranks of apprentice, junior hairstylist, associate stylist, and master stylist, but beyond that, there’s little room to progress.

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, fear of failure plays a significant role. There may be doubts about whether they’ll succeed within the highly competitive industry.

Having doubts about one’s ability coupled with the fear of failure might cause hairstylists to give up on this career path and choose something that feels more secure and familiar.

Health Hazard

reasons why hairstylists quit - Health Issues

Working with harsh chemicals all day takes a toll on your body after years of exposure. Hairstylists often experience skin or eye irritation from dyes and respiratory issues from inhaling toxic fumes, not to mention musculoskeletal disorders that can develop from overuse of the hands and arms.

If health issues begin to pile up, a hairstylist may have to make the difficult decision to leave the industry for their own good.

While therapies and protective equipment can help reduce the health impact of working at a salon, the effects of years and years spent on the job may leave a hairstylist no other option but to quit.


Learn more with answers to the most frequently asked questions about why hairdressers quit the profession.

Is being a hairstylist a stressful job?

Yes. Being a hairstylist can be an extremely stressful job. Between demanding and unhappy customers, long hours, working during sociable times, low pay, and constantly changing trends, it’s easy to see why a hairstylist might burn out due to stress.

Why do hair salons fail?

Hair salons fail for many reasons. If the business isn’t financially stable, has trouble finding clients, can’t find talented hairstylists, can’t keep gifted hairstylists, or has a bad reputation in the area, it’s at a higher risk of failure.

The nature of opening a small business is challenging in itself. Nearly 20% of all new businesses fail, whether they are hair salons or not.

What other jobs can a hairstylist do?

Hairstylists could easily move into another job in the cosmetology field, such as a facialist, nail artist, lash artist, or something similar. Teaching at a cosmetology school is another way to use hairstyling skills differently.

They could also find related but different jobs, such as dog grooming or wig-making, which tend to have more regular working hours and a stable salary.

A hairdresser who wants to get away from cosmetology-related jobs could consider customer service, office administration, marketing, or styling.