Voted By Pros

Best tools for professional hairstylists

November 28, 2021

We asked our readers to tell us all about the hairstyling tools they can’t live without, and they didn’t disappoint! Here are the 12 essential tools all hairstylists should have.

The life of a hairstylist is both hectic and rewarding. You have to juggle focusing on your work, building a rapport with your clients and marketing yourself. Luckily, if do good work, your clients will do most of your marketing for you!

If you want to wow your clients and build a following of loyal fans, you need the best tools you can get your hands on. We reached out to our professional hairstylist readers to learn which tools they thought were absolutely essential to building a thriving hairstyling business. They gave us their advice and picks for the best brands to buy.

If you lean strongly toward any of the tools in the article or want to vote for a favorite we didn’t mention, be sure to tell us in the survey!

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Hair shears

It’s fitting to start this list with the most basic yet essential tool of the trade: all-purpose hair shears. Since you’ll be using these more than any other tool, quality and comfort should be your top priority. Those $20 shears may look nice, but you’ll end up tossing them after 3 months in the salon. Go for quality stainless steel that will maintain a sharp edge. For the best ergonomics, seek out a shears with crane-style handles.

Readers’ pick: Matsui Precision Rose Gold Cutting Shear – $199

Thinning shears

Your standard hair shears are going to do most of the heavy lifting, but a trusty pair of thinning shears will put the finishing touches on your work. Thinning shears are perfect for removing bulk, layering, blending hairlines, and adding texture. When you work with clients with seriously thick hair, you’re going be thanking yourself for picking up a pair of these.

Readers’ pick: Hitachi Pro 30-Tooth Thinning Shears – $149

Electric clippers

Electric clippers are indispensable for getting close cuts, trimming around the ears and shaping the perfect neck line. Look for something cordless, lightweight and powerful. Take care of the blades by regularly oiling them and your electric clipper can last you a long, long time.

Readers’ pick: Wahl Professional Cordless Magic Clip – $119.99


One of the most essential hairstyling tools is the blow-dryer. When shopping for the perfect blow-dryer, look for something powerful enough to quickly dry your clients’ hair. Ideally, your dryer will be lightweight (think 1 lb. or less—your wrist, elbow and shoulder will thank you!). Pick up a dryer that uses ionic technology to keep your clients’ hair shiny and smooth.

Readers’ pick: Bio Ionic 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer – $295

Curling iron

Ask a dozen hairstylists what tool they absolutely cannot live without, and you’ll likely hear ten of them say “my curling iron!” For a tool to make an essentials list, it better be able to do a lot of different things. Well, nothing else in your arsenal can create texture and volume like a curling iron.

Readers’ pick: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron – $49.99

Flat iron

The flat iron is the ying to the curling iron’s yang. You’ll be using this a lot to smooth and straighten hair, so going after a quality pick will be a smart investment. The best flat irons can work with all different hair types without tearing or burning.

Readers’ pick: BioIonic Onepass Styling Iron – $199

Wet brush

Working with hair means working with tangled hair, and you won’t get very far through any job without a decent paddle brush. No reason to get creative here. The original wet brush is still the most reliable paddle brush on the market. It’ll help you work through knots and tangles without damaging your clients’ hair.

Readers’ pick: Wet Brush Original Detangler Hair Brush – $8.98

Round brush

Along with a paddle brush, a round brush is another must-have tool any professional stylist. For blowouts, waves or curls, the round brush is your best friend. Different styles require different brushes, which is why we recommend grabbing a whole set so you can have exactly what you need, when you need it.

Readers’ pick: PerfeHair Round Thermal Brush Set – $38.99

Cutting Combs

The best cutting combs are heat resistant and can handle all hair types without snagging. You don’t have to break the bank on these, as you can find many quality combs for under $10.

Readers’ pick: Sam Villa Signature Series Long Cutting Comb – $6.95

Shaping razor

For clients with a lot of hair to manage, shaping razors can work wonders. Great for creating soft lines and making hair fall closer to the head, a shaping razor is a versatile tool in the hands of an experienced pro.

Readers’ pick: Facón Professional Feather Razor + Replacement Blades – $14.95

Water bottle

For those lengthy styling sessions, having a reliable water source on hand is non-negotiable. A continuous-spray water bottle will help you stay in complete control as you give your client the cut of their dreams.

Readers’ pick: Stylist Sprayers Atomic Spray – $9.31

Sectioning clips

Hair styling sessions can last for hours, and you need something to keep all that hair in check while you do your thing. Enter the sectioning clip. Designed for holding large amounts of hair in place, these clips will let you work on your clients’ hair one section at a time.

Readers’ pick: Sam Villa Large Hair Clips, Set of 6 – $8

Protect your business with Hairstylist’s Insurance

As a stylist, you’re probably more concerned with how to fit in one more appointment this week than all the things that can go wrong in your business. After all, cosmetology isn’t known for its danger element. But the fact is, when you’re working with sharp objects, hot tools and strong chemicals, mistakes can happen.

If a client sustains an injury or their belongings get damaged under your watch, you could be held financially liable. If they feel like you compromised that by giving them a hairstyle they didn’t expect, they could claim professional negligence. With Hairstylist’s Insurance, you give your business protection from the unknown.

We covered all the essential items you need to get started as a professional hairstylist. Did we miss anything? Let us know your thoughts!

  1. What’s your favorite tools?

    • Hair shears
    • Thinning shears
    • Electric clippers
    • Blow-dryer
    • Curling iron
    • Flat iron
    • Wet brush
    • Round Brush
    • Cutting combs
    • Shaping razor
    • Water bottle
    • Sectioning clips
    • Other
    • Vote

Written on November 28, 2021

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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