How do I Become a Hair Colorist?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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To become a hair colorist, a person should typically be trained as a general hair stylist and then choose to specialize in hair coloring. This can usually be achieved by going to a cosmetology school and completing a program in hair styling. In the United States (US), an applicant looking for a school should look for one that has been accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), which is an independent accrediting commission highly regarded by the beauty industry. Such NACCAS-accredited schools will be more likely to offer good programs that will ensure students who graduate are licensed hairstylists.

Someone who wants to become a hair colorist should have the understanding of general hair styling that would be acquired through graduation from such an institution. A hair stylist could then find employment at a salon or other similar establishment and work toward specializing in the field of hair coloring. In order to become a hair colorist, any stylist should try to work with hair coloring as much as possible. The stylist might offer to color the hair of friends or to do hair coloring at the salon for other stylists, allowing the person to specialize in hair color and other stylists to focus on cutting hair.


If a stylist manages to become a hair colorist, one drawback that should be considered is that by going into a specialized field the stylist may find employment more difficult to achieve. In the US, anyone wishing to become a hair colorist should also contact The American Board of Certified Haircolorists (ABCH). Being certified through the ABCH will help anyone who wishes to work in the specialized field of hair color by bringing a certified hair colorist into a group with professional contacts and an understanding of the industry.

While membership in the ABCH is not required to become a hair colorist, it would help someone set him or herself apart from other hair stylists, and allow for use of the title "Board Certified Haircolorist." While other avenues to becoming a hair colorist may be possible, such as apprenticeship through a friend or family member already working in the field, the direct approach of licensing through the NACCAS and certification from the ABCH would likely grant a person more opportunities in the long run. Anyone interested in becoming a hair colorist may also wish to find someone already working in the field and ask him or her for any advice or suggestions in addition to the above steps.


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