The ultimate guide to hairdresser equipment

As a hairdresser, having the right tools is essential to creating beautiful and high-quality haircuts, styles, and colours. In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the essential hairdresser's equipment that you'll need to start or grow your hairdressing business.


What do you need to think about when it comes to your hairdresser kit?

We’ll start out by saying that the exact equipment you need depends on the services and the clients you work with. A colour specialist will have different equipment needs to a barber who only works on shorter hair, and a hairdresser who does hair extensions only will have very different needs to a mobile hairdresser who does everything.

Your budget also matters, and it obviously makes sense to prioritise your budget based on what you use the most often and which tools are most important to the services you offer. It can be tempting to buy every single item you might ever need straight away, but pacing yourself can be more sensible. There’ll be some items that you rarely use, and others that you use every single day. It can be expensive to build a full kit so prioritise your absolute essentials.

You also need to think about your clients and their needs. It’s important to have the right tools and products to work with a range of different hair types, textures and conditions. So bear in mind that one version of a tool or product might not be the right one for your clients. This can also end up getting expensive pretty quickly.

Choose the brands that you work with carefully. You need to make sure that they work for you and your clients, that they’re cost effective (as in you can build the cost per use into what you charge your client) and that they do everything you need them to. You also want to ensure that you can buy them in the right sizes for your needs. Big salon-size bottles are great in a high volume, high footfall salon but they might never get used up if they aren’t a product you use that often.

Think about where you work too. Your needs will be slightly different if you’re a mobile hairdresser vs a hairdresser who shares a space in a salon. With the latter, you’ll probably have some equipment included in your hair salon agreement (but it’s always important to check this out to avoid any misunderstandings). Knowing your business is just as important as knowing your clients.


What hairdresser equipment do you need?

Looking for a list to help you choose the essential hairdresser equipment that you need to start or build up your kit? Here’s our general guide to everything you need in your hairdresser kit to thrive as a salon or home based professional:

Scissors and shears

The most basic and essential hairdressing tool is a good pair of scissors. Scissors come in many different sizes and styles, including straight, curved, and thinning scissors. It's important to choose a pair that feels comfortable in your hand and is sharp enough to cut through hair without pulling or damaging it. High-quality scissors can be expensive, but they're an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Clippers and trimmers

Clippers and trimmers are used for cutting and shaping hair, especially for men's haircuts. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, including corded and cordless models. Cordless models are more convenient and portable, but they may not have as much power as corded models. It's important to choose a clipper or trimmer that is comfortable to hold and has sharp blades for clean cuts.


Combs are used to section and style hair during a haircut or colour. They come in many different shapes and sizes, including wide-tooth combs for detangling and fine-tooth combs for precision work. It's important to choose combs that are durable and easy to clean, and that won't snag or pull at hair.


Brushes are used for smoothing and styling hair during a blowout or to create volume and texture. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, including round brushes, paddle brushes, and vent brushes. It's important to choose brushes that are gentle on hair and won't cause breakage or damage.

Hair dryers

Hair dryers are essential for styling hair and setting colour. They come in many different styles and sizes, including handheld and professional-grade models. Professional-grade models are more powerful and have more settings, but they can also be more expensive. It's important to choose a hair dryer that is comfortable to hold and has multiple heat and speed settings.

Hair straighteners and curling irons

Hair straighteners and curling irons are used to create straight or curly styles. They come in many different sizes and styles, including flat irons and curling wands. It's important to choose a straightener or curling iron that is easy to use and has adjustable heat settings to prevent damage to hair.

Colour bowls and brushes

If you offer hair colour services, you'll need colour bowls and brushes to mix and apply hair colour. Colour bowls come in many different sizes and styles, including those with measurement markings to ensure accurate mixing. Brushes come in many different styles, including those with wide or narrow bristles for precise application.

Salon cape

A salon cape is a protective garment worn by clients during a haircut or colour. It helps to keep hair and colour off of the client's clothes and skin. It's important to choose a cape that is comfortable and easy to clean, and that won't slip or slide during use.

Salon chairs and stations

If you plan to open your own salon or work as a freelancer, you'll need salon chairs and stations for your clients. It's important to choose chairs that are comfortable and adjustable, and that have features such as footrests and hydraulic lifts. Stations should have ample storage space for tools and products, and should be easily cleanable. If you share a space in a salon, then you’ll usually be ok for this equipment.

Sanitising equipment

Sanitising equipment is essential for maintaining a clean and safe salon environment. This includes disinfectants for tools and surfaces. Working safely protects you, your customer and your business - as well as your professional reputation. Keeping your equipment and working area hygienic is absolutely essential for this.

Hair products

Hair products are the foundation of styling and maintaining hair. This includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products, hair dye and hair treatments. It's important to choose products that are appropriate for different hair types and that are safe for use on colour-treated hair so take this into account when you choose. You might also want to add some products that you can sell to your clients to generate further income too.


If you don’t work in a salon, then you’ll definitely need towels to dry hair, protect clothing, clean tools and wipe up any spillages or mess. Make sure you have some spares and choose good quality towels that wash well - they’ll be getting a lot of use day to day as long as you’re booked and busy.

Foils and clingfilm

If you offer colour services, then you’ll need to buy foils for highlights and colour, along with clingfilm for storing and protecting products. Think about how much you need and storage when you pick items like this up. It can sometimes be worth waiting for offers and buying in bulk - it isn’t going to perish and you know it’ll get used, it just depends if you have the space for it.

Storage solutions

Storage solutions are essential for keeping your salon organised and tidy. This includes shelves, cabinets and carts for storing tools and products. It's important to choose storage solutions that are durable, easy to clean, and that have enough space to accommodate all of your equipment and supplies.

A phone

While it’s not a piece of hairdressing equipment, a phone is a hairdressing essential - especially if you’re self employed. It can help you market your business, take photos of client’s hair, keep in touch with your clients and take appointments. A phone can also help you to manage your business daily, so it’s definitely an essential part of your hairdressing kit.


What do you not need in your hairdressers kit?

While the list of what you don’t need in your hairdressers kit could go on forever, here are a few of the common unnecessary extras that you might be keeping in your kit:

Outdated tools

If you've been a hairdresser for a while, you may have collected a range of tools that are no longer necessary. For example, old hair dryers, straightening irons, and curling wands may not be as effective as newer models and they can take up valuable space in your kit.

Excessive product

While it's important to have a range of products available for your clients, having too many can be overwhelming and confusing. Stick to the essentials and make sure you have products that cater to a variety of hair types and styles.

Multiple varieties of the same product

It's important to have backup products in case you run out of something, but carrying multiple varieties of the same product can be redundant. Stick to one or two of each product type, and make sure they can be used on a range of hair types.

Too many brushes

While brushes are essential tools for hairdressers, having too many can lead to confusion and clutter in your kit. Stick to the brushes you use most frequently, and make sure they're high-quality and durable.

Check through your kit regularly and take stock of anything you need to order, anything that’s expired or about to run out and any tools that are broken. Decide whether you want to replace them or if actually you can manage without them.


How to protect your hairdressers equipment

As a hairdresser, your equipment is your livelihood, and it's essential to protect it. Here are some tips to help you protect your hairdressing equipment:

Keep your equipment clean

Regularly clean your equipment, including your scissors, combs, brushes, and clippers. Use a disinfectant to kill any bacteria or viruses that may be present on the equipment. A clean set of tools will not only last longer but also prevent the spread of infections.

Store your equipment properly

Invest in a good-quality storage bag or case for your equipment. This will protect it from dust, moisture, and accidental damage. Ensure that the case or bag is well-padded and has compartments to keep your tools organised.

Use protective covers

Cover your chairs, sinks, and other equipment with protective covers to prevent damage from hair colour, chemicals, and water. This will also make cleaning up easier and quicker.

Invest in quality products

Invest in quality products that are specifically designed for hairdressers. For example, use a good-quality clipper oil to keep your clippers running smoothly. Using quality products will not only help to protect your equipment but also enhance its performance.

Handle with care

Treat your equipment with care, and avoid dropping or mishandling it. If a tool needs to be repaired, don't attempt to fix it yourself; take it to a professional repair technician.

Insure your equipment

Consider insuring your equipment to protect it against theft, loss, or damage. Hairdressing insurance will give you peace of mind and help you get back to work quickly in case of an incident. Choose a specialist hair and beauty insurance policy to make sure that it’s right for your business.

Having the right hairdresser's equipment is essential for creating high-quality haircuts, styles, and colours. From scissors and shears to products, each piece of equipment plays an important role in your success as a hairdresser. By investing in high-quality tools and staying up-to-date on the latest techniques and trends, you can provide your clients with exceptional service and build a successful hairdressing business.


Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.

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