What is a Session Stylist?

Unlike ordinary stylists who usually work in salons, session stylists are called to create hair styles for events, parades, fashion shows, magazines, television appearances, films and advertising campaigns. Clients vary and can include anyone from a local news reader, models for a photo shoot, through to celebrities preparing for a magazine spread.

Session stylist are generally ‘freelance’, meaning they work for themselves. Many are aligned with an agency that looks after other creatives. These could include makeup artists, photographers and fashion stylists. Agencies promote their work to magazines, advertising agencies, brands and other clients, so they can get booked for jobs.

Whilst there is no specific training to be a session stylist, most are fully qualified hairdressers, as you need the skill set to perform your job well. Any chance you get, practice, practice, practice your styling skills.

Here are a few tips below to climb the competitive ladder of session work.

Put yourself out there

Offer to assist some established session stylists for free to better understand the industry and get a foot in the door.

Get some photos done with models

Showcase your work on professional models. Take some photos to show potential clients and agencies the quality of your work.

Never stop learning

As session styling focuses mostly on ‘styling’ rather than cutting or colouring, do as much long hair and bridal styling education as you can. You’ll always pick up tips and techniques that you can add to your repertoire!

Follow other session stylists

There’s nothing wrong with some professional stalking! Scroll through Instagram and check out the work of successful session stylists. Some local names include Richard Kavanagh, Alan White, Renya Xydis and Sarah Laidlaw. Overseas stylists you can follow may include Nicolas Jurnjack, Eugene Souleiman, Jen Atkin, Harry Josh, Sam McKnight and Lacy Redway.

Keep up to date with the latest in employment and recruitment in the hair and beauty industries at the HeadHunter blog.