Hairstylist Tiers – What’s the difference between a Stylist and a Master Stylist?

hairstylist tier

Though more frequently seen in larger salons, hairstylist tiers are an industry standard. So what do ‘Master Stylist’, ‘Stylist’ and ‘Advanced Stylist’ really mean? And why are hairstylist tiers even necessary?

One thing is certain – hairstylist tiers give you choice, but you need to understand what you are choosing! Selecting the right hairstylist can be intimidating. You look at the salon website, scan the portfolio, read the stylist bios……but other than that how do you really know who to choose?

One common misconception of hairstylist tiers is that they are based on years of experience.  This may even be true for a lot of salons but consider this; is a Stylist with 10 years experience equal in talent to another Stylist with 10 years experience? They’ve both probably been to some classes, worked with countless clients and developed their skill set.  So that should make them equal right? 10 years in the industry might sound pretty impressive, but not necessarily.  Years are simply a passage of time.  It doesn’t at all represent what has happened within those years.

I can’t speak for what happens in all salons.  I do caution you that its important to know what your prospective salon bases their hairstylist tier system on.  If it is based solely on years of experience you may be surprised to find out that of the two Stylists with 10 years of experience maybe only one has sought out continuing education twice a year, where the other 10 year veteran may have attended only a handful of classes.  You know the saying ‘Age is just a number’? Sometimes the same can be said of years of experience.  If the salon doesn’t have other requirements for stylists to achieve a certain ‘title’, then you really don’t know what you are getting.

Another thing you should know is that hairstylist tiers and titles are not universal!  An Advanced Stylist at one salon could mean an entirely different thing at another salon.  There are no rules for this type of thing.  Each salon chooses whichever titles they want.  I hate to refer to it as ‘picking a name from a hat’ but honestly, it really is that simple.  Unfortunately, this leaves you doing some research which is exactly why I’m writing this!

To me hairstylist tiers should represent a career path.  As with any job you don’t get a promotion based on being there the longest – you get it because you worked hard, met the job criteria and earned it.  Properly used, hairstylist tiers should function the exact same way.

At the Studio our hairstylist tiers are based on expertise and demand.  Expertise is measured technically with specific standards to meet at each tier before promotion, and demand is of course indicative of a consistent level of customer service being provided.

Here are the hairstylist tiers at the Studio and a little information on exactly what they mean:


Every hairstylist starts here and this tier is all about education! Your service may take a little longer since speed comes with practise.  Rest assured that Studio Apprentices are only able to book services they have completed the training module for so they are well prepared to look after you.  Another Stylist may be overseeing your service and stepping in periodically to teach and/or grade the final result as part of the learning process. For your patience and trust in us you will receive special pricing on Apprentice services.


At this tier you will find an eager, fresh and creative hairstylist with a complete and solid foundation of technical skills.  Stylists can offer you flexibility to book an appointment that will easily suit your schedule.

Advanced Stylist

With an Advanced Stylist you can enjoy the benefits of a stylist who has fine tuned their technical skills and holds a deeper understanding of more advanced colour and cutting theory.  These stylists still provide some flexibility in booking your appointment to suit your schedule and are beginning to create a demand for their services. Depending on the point in their career path an Advanced Stylist may work with a Colour Technician to help keep appointment availability as flexible as possible.

Master Stylist

At this tier you can experience a stylist who excels at their craft, are in high demand and have consistently performed the skills necessary to build a clientele. New clients are always welcome and although flexibility in booking appointments to suit your schedule may be limited, your Master Stylist is still as eager to suit your needs. Master Stylist may also work with a dedicated Colour Technician.


So which hairstylist tier is right for you?  Simply ask yourself this – which Stylist, after reading the above descriptions, would you be most comfortable trusting your hair to?  That is your answer!


I hope this has explained some of the mystery behind Hairstylist Tiers.  If you have any questions please comment below and I’d be happy to answer them the best I can!


Thanks for listening,


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