The terms hairdresser and hairstylist are often used interchangeably but is there actually a distinction between the two? Yes, a hairdresser and a hairstylist are technically two separate occupations. That being said, is there really a difference? Many hairdressers are also hairstylists, and vice versa. Let’s break that down and talk about the differences between the two.

Hairdresser Duties

The term hairdresser has been around for a long time, since the 17th century to be exact. In this time, clients would hire a hairdresser to wash their hair whenever they needed it. Needless to say, the term hairdresser tends to be slightly dated. Nevertheless, hairdressers are responsible for washing, cutting, and colouring the hair of their clients. Hairdressers attend school and receive a diploma at the end of their schooling. A hairdresser will also have completed a number of salon hours under the supervision of a senior hairdresser.

Hairstylist Duties

Hairstylist is a newer term used to describe an occupation where the focus more on creating a certain style or design with the hair. The way they do this is through perms, updos, and hot tools. Stylists may advise their clients on the best look for their specific face shape or hair texture. That being said, in order to achieve a certain look, your stylist may need to cut or colour your hair in addition. 


When it comes to similarities between the two, there are a lot more than there are differences. Nowadays, stylists cut colour and wash hair the same as hairdressers and hairdressers curl, style, and perm hair all the same. Being both a hairdresser and/or a hairstylist takes time and is a skill that must be developed, and both work in hair salons, typically under the same job title.


Really, there is no difference in the role and duties of a hairstylist versus a hairdresser. The names are old-fashioned and play no real role in most salons today.

Who do we Employ at A & O?

Here at A & O Salon in Newport Beach, CA, we only use the term “hairstylist.” All of our stylists are hairdressers as well, the term hairdresser is slightly dated, hence our use of stylists instead! Each of our staff is trained when it comes to perfecting colour application, expert cuts, and styling updos. Our staff can expertly advise you on the best haircut, color, or style for your hair type, face shape, and personal taste.

Call the A & O Salons today to schedule your appointment with one of our expert stylists! We promise you will be glad you did!