Cosmetology is one of the fastest growing careers for workers entering the job market, and one of the most varied, with specialties including, but not limited to, hairstylist, barber, manicurist, pedicurist, makeup artist, and cosmetic laser technician. It is also one of the most rapidly expanding career fields due to the international nature of the fashion, beauty, film, and theater industries. The best choices for studying cosmetology abroad are the most obvious -- the cultural centers of Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.
Why Study Cosmetology Abroad
Studying internationally opens up a range of training and intern possibilities that include the luxury market – cruise ships, resorts, and high-fashion centers – and gives students a chance to expand their cosmetology skills into the growing fields of nail artistry, esthetics, aromatherapy and spa therapies. Like art and music, cosmetology is a universal skill, but in the same way as and music, your surroundings affect and reflect your art. Learning to look at what you do from another cultural perspective is invaluable.
Where you study cosmetology abroad depends largely on your career goals and what area you choose to specialize in. If you want to build a career linked to the fashion or film world, or with a marketing or business mindset, there’s an advantage to choosing one of the four acknowledged fashion and style centers of the world, London, Milan, New York, and Paris. Each of these cities host twice-yearly Fashion Week extravaganzas that showcase not only new fashion designs, but the latest in beauty and hairstyle trends, and draw the who’s-who in every aspect of the industry, so these can be great places to jump start your career too.
Paris The twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week is more than just an apparel trade show. Though presumably the place where the newest clothes fashions are unveiled, it’s also very much about the latest beauty trends. Paris is a major center for every aspect of the beauty industry, and its reputation draws experts, artists, investors and entrepreneurs in every aspect of the industry. France, and specifically Paris, has been a fashion center since the days of King Louis XIV, and it’s the home of the Elle magazine, Chanel, Dior, Hermes. Lacroix and Louis Vuitton brands.
Milan. Though Paris has long been the standard in the cosmetology and beauty world, many critics have begun to say that Milan has moved to the front in innovation and creativity – that Paris is more classic oriented while Milan more playful, colorful, and cutting edge. With more than a dozen academies and beauty and fashion centers, Milan is the place to explore areas of cosmetology that are just coming into the mainstream. Milan is also gaining a reputation as the center of Italy’s cosmetics industry, and Armani, Ferré, Krizia, Missoni, Prada, and Valentino are all headquartered in Milan.
London and New York combine their reputation for fashion and beauty design with powerful commercial connections. Both cities are also world financial centers and cities with large, well known, and well-respected theater districts. Studying cosmetology in New York or London are great choices for students looking to become professional makeup artists or become managers of salons or spas.
Los Angeles. New York is to the U.S., what Paris is to Europe -- the unquestioned traditional fashion and beauty center. Los Angeles plays the role of Milan, however, the newer, younger, and -- some say -- more hip kid on the block. Los Angeles also has the advantage of being home to the film and television industry -- where the emphasis on beauty is out of this world. Los Angeles employs more beauty, fashion, and cosmetology workers than New York too, and it has a wide range of styles and beauty programs, seminars, and schools to choose from. L.A. even offers cosmetology specialization programs, such as those in skin care, hair braiding, permanent makeup, and spa management.
Courses & Programs
Cosmetology study abroad programs can be of almost any length, varying from a few days of training to week-long clinics highlighting a particular area of cosmetology – such as eye treatments or skin rejuvenation. There are also full two or four-year degree programs focused more on ancillary areas, such as business and salon management, medical sciences, or fashion production techniques.
Perfumes & Cosmetics. Cosmetology study abroad options should, again, depend on your interest, whether it’s learning to work as a makeup artist, learning the chemistry involved in creating animal-friendly or non-harmful makeups, or obtaining an MBA and working on the business side of cosmetic distribution.
Makeup Artistry & Hairstyling. More advanced training in this area, usually at a specialized academy, is necessary to work in the theater, film, or fashion industries, and getting training outside the U.S. will provide you with a much larger range of styles and techniques to work with.
Beauty Therapy & Skin Rejuvenation. This is probably the quickest-growing and most rapidly changing field of cosmetology. It includes laser techniques and minor cosmetic surgeries, as well as ever-changing skin treatments and other anti-aging techniques. Some procedures under the wing of beauty therapy will involve some medical training or specific certification protocol.
Nail Art & Waxing. Both are covered in many standard cosmetology programs, but some specialized programs offer extra training, and often instructions and advice for setting up and running a salon.
Massage Therapy & Spa Therapy. These historically were not part of traditional cosmetology programs, but are a valuable add-ons, especially if you are looking to work in luxury market, at resorts, in high-end salons, or on cruise ships. What better place to explore various massage techniques than abroad?
Cosmetology is a growing field, both in the numbers of jobs available and the amount of different areas to specialize in. Fashion and beauty, like art and theater, can vary widely in different parts of the world, so exposing yourself to cosmetology practices abroad will only further expand your education.
In order to be successful in the field, cosmetologists must have a broad worldview, wide range of knowledge and experience, and be up to date on the latest styles, techniques, and skills. Therefore, some of the most well-trained and knowledgeable cosmetologists are likely to be those who have explored cosmetology on the international level.