Why an Artist Makes a Great Hair Stylist

There are many factors that make up a great hair stylist. A love for beauty an aesthetic is of course an important aspect, but it’s certainly not the only one. We often see incredibly creative individuals come through our door to enroll in school, and one thing that always catches our ear is when a future stylists mentions a love for art.  While having an artistic background certainly isn’t a requirement to become a hair stylist, it gives a hair student an incredible advantage early on. That is because many elements in hair dressing follow the same elements of art.  Line, shape/form, color, value, texture, and shape/perspective, are all taken into consideration when approaching a haircut or color.

Here are some examples of how artistic elements share closely with the principles of hair dressing, and how understanding them may make a classically trained artist a great hair stylist:




The first art element which can easily correlate with hair dressing is line. Especially predominate in Sassoon cutting, line is important in creating clean, precise haircuts and consistent coloring.  When following the shape of the clients face, line can be the most important factor in determining the look of a cut and color. Line guides the viewers eye along the edge of a haircut, and with it a stylist can create or stop movement in order to achieve the desired look. Acknowledging the use of line can help shape and flatter a face, or give it a wild and drastic change.


Shape is the most important element in distinguishing different haircuts. Graduated bob, rounded bob, long layered cut, ect. ect. These haircuts originate around specific shapes and forms.  Knowing what shape you are trying to achieve dictates how the hair will fall and lay when cut.  A customers face shape also has a large part in deciding how to shape and form a haircut.  Paying close attention to this element will ensure your customer leaves with a flattering style which compliments their facial structure.



With only a few minor differences, formulating color follows many of the same rules and principles of the artistic element color.  Looking to diffuse yellow tones in hair? Purple, yellows complimentary color on the color wheel will do the trick!  Being familiar with the color wheel and all of it’s properties is crucial when formulating and applying color.  If you are looking to become a hair stylist, be prepared to spend a large chunk of time studying the color wheel, and learning how to apply it to your hair dressing techniques!



A color book has a striking resemblance to a chart of varying levels of contrast.  Being able to differentiate between different shades, tints, and tones of color will all aid you in color formulation.  Being well versed in the element of value will also lead to strong and creative coloring methods, which is the most lucrative services you will preform as a hair stylist. Without a lighter shade to compliment the base color, and ombre wouldn’t be an ombre.  Great color application includes beautiful dimension and shine, which wouldn’t be possible without the element of value and contrast.



Perhaps the most exciting and fun elements to both hair dressing and art, is texture.  Texture defines a style unlike any other element.  As a hair stylist, you will learn a variety of cutting techniques which will aid you in achieving a wide range of hair textures. Whether you are looking for a straight, smooth cut, or a tousled, textured pixie, each cut has it’s own unique look and feel. Being able to tactically understand the difference between different textures of hair stands will also play a large part in how you approach a hair style and hair care. For example, fine hair is treated differently than coarse hair in both cutting and coloring applications. There is a wide variety of naturally occurring hair textures, and understanding each of them means you can service a wide range of clients’ and all of their unique hair needs.


Space / Perspective

Space refers to the area in which art is organized, so in hairdressing, you can definitely expect this element to be applied regularly.  Space/Perspective joins shape and form in deciding what hairstyle best suits a certain facial structure.  For example, a short hairstyle may suit someone with a shorter rounder face, while a long, unframed hairstyle may suit someone with a longer narrower face. This has to do with the negative space left between different areas of the face such as the chin and forehead. Hair stylist use space and perspective to determine where and how a face is framed, and can even be applied in makeup application and nail design. In makeup application, carefully placed contouring and change how the facial structure is perceived, and applying the rules off space and perspective can prevent a nail technician from over work, or under working a design.  Master the use of space and perspective will allow a student to have a better understanding of what aesthetically looks good for each individual client.


The elements of art are taught from early adolescence, all the way to grad school programs.  If you find yourself already well verses in how to apply each element to create a beautiful and functioning work of art, you may just hit the ground running when you chose to become a hair stylist. And if you find you aren’t so artistically inclined, never fear!  All good things come with practice, patience, and a good education.  For those interested in learning more about art and its’ elements and principles, cosmetology school may double as a chance to take on new artistic skills!  Either way, at Mitsu Sato Hair Academy, we truly believe that hair dressing can be approached as an art form, and we are dedicated in providing you the training and education needed to turn you into masterful hair artists.