Hairdresser/Barber Kaikutikuti Makawe

Hairdressers/barbers cut, colour and style hair. Barbers also shave and trim hair, moustaches and beards.

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Hairdressers/barbers can join Hair and Barber New Zealand. 

Hairdressers/barbers may do some or all of the following:

  • consult with clients about the style and cut they want
  • wash, cut, colour, style and blow-wave hair
  • shave and trim beards and moustaches
  • sell haircare products and products for hair and scalp problems
  • clean and sanitise equipment and their work area
  • promote their services on social media 
  • run their own business.

Physical Requirements

Hairdressers/barbers need to be reasonably fit and healthy and able to stand for long periods. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and steady hands. Also, they should not be allergic to chemicals.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for hairdressers/barbers includes:

  • work as a hairdresser's/barber's assistant
  • sales or other work involving contact with people.

Personal Qualities

Hairdressers/barbers need to be:

  • good at communicating and listening
  • friendly and polite
  • organised
  • able to follow instructions
  • accurate, with an eye for detail.


Hairdressers/barbers need to have:

  • skill in different hairdressing and barbering methods, including cutting, styling, perming and colouring
  • knowledge of current hair and barbering trends
  • knowledge of hair and skin types, and how they react to chemicals such as colouring products
  • knowledge of health and hygiene regulations
  • creative and artistic skills
  • basic maths skills.

Hairdressers/barbers who run their own businesses also need bookkeeping and management skills.



  • usually work on week days, at least one weekend day, and some evenings
  • work in hairdressing salons or barbershops, which can be very busy
  • work with equipment that can cause cuts or burns.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a hairdresser/barber. However, maths, science, English, visual arts, and design and visual communication (graphics) are useful. 

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Hairdresser/Barbers can earn around $47K-$65K per year.

Pay for hairdressers/barbers varies depending on experience and how many clients they have. They may also receive bonuses and commissions.

  • Apprentice hairdressers and barbers can expect to start on the training wage with pay increasing as they gain skills and complete unit standards.
  • Qualified hairdressers/barbers usually earn at least minimum wage.
  • Qualified and experienced hairdressers/barbers with a good client base usually earn up to $65,000 a year.
  • Highly skilled and experienced hairdressers/barbers can earn from $65,000 to more than $100,000. 

Hairdressers/barbers running their own business may earn more than this, but their income depends on the success of the business.

Sources: Trade Me Jobs, 'Salary Guide', 2018; and Vivo Hair & Beauty, 2018.

Hairdressers/barbers may progress to set up their own hairdressing/barbering business or move into management, training or education roles.

Years Of Training

2-4 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a hairdresser/barber. However, employers usually prefer people with either:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing - Professional Stylist (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Barbering (Level 4).

You can gain a hairdresser/barber qualification by:

  • completing an apprenticeship, which the New Zealand Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO) oversees
  • applying to have your hairdressing experience recognised by HITO through the Qualification by Experience (QbyE) programme.