Not all individuals who go to cosmetology school for hair styling wish to open their own salons. Some people would rather travel around the country (and the world) serving as a runway hair stylist. Becoming a runway hair stylist isn’t easy, and it could take years in order to achieve your goal.

Find a city that has a both a well-respected cosmetology school (such as the Aveda Institute in New York City) and a well-known fashion week. Doing this will make acquiring the proper certifications and making the right contacts in the industry much easier.

Apply to the cosmetology school. When you do, you will need to submit a letter of recommendation and your school transcripts. You will also need to pass an entrance examination for that particular school.

Acquire the state certification after you complete your education. Once you are finished with school, you will need to take and pass the state board exam in order to obtain your state license.

Obtain a position at a high-end salon that has ties with runway shows and fashion shoots. Doing so will give you the expertise necessary for becoming a runway hair stylist. It’s also important to make connections with individuals involved in fashion shoots as all facets of the fashion world are connected to one another.

Start assisting on fashion shoots whenever possible. This puts your name out to the proper agencies and allows you to work with different stylists in the business. You may not get paid for all of these shoots, but they are an invaluable learning and networking experience.

Continue developing your skills and network of individuals in the business until you make a name for yourself with your salon and with agencies in the area. Eventually, you will be contacted by an agency or stylist about being one of the stylists involved during a runway shoot.


  • It’s a good idea to inform your bosses at the salon about your desire to become a runway hair stylist. This individual will be able to introduce to the right people in the business and possibly allow you to assist on any shoots he or she attends.