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Cosmetologists on cruise

Become a cosmetologist – and see the world. Expect to hear that phrase more often, as cosmetology school graduates step aboard salons on cruise ships sailing the globe.

"They get to travel the world while they're doing what they love. … Who wouldn't want to do that?" said Nikki Martens of Steiner Leisure. The London company operates salons on 130 cruise ships from lines such as Carnival, Holland America and Royal Caribbean.

Demand for salon professionals is rising in the fast-growing cruise industry, said Martens, who recruits for Steiner at U.S. cosmetology schools.

Cruise-ship cosmetologists sign up for eight-month contracts with Steiner. In the winter months, more than half the ships dock in Florida and make seven-day Caribbean excursions. In summer, many shift to Vancouver, Canada, as their home port for Alaskan glacier tours.

Others sail the Mediterranean Sea or north of the Arctic Circle. And each December, more than a dozen ships set off on a four-month world tour, touching exotic ports such as Bangkok and Singapore.

Ship cosmetologists are given the equivalent of at least a day and a half off every seven days – time to visit port cities or take in free onboard entertainment. Rooms and meals are also provided free.

After their initial eight-month contract, cosmetologists can take time off or plunge into another. Either way, they can request a particular cruise that appeals to them. Said Martens: "A lot of opportunities open up once they get their foot in the door."


Springy styles: matte or metallic

Here's what to look for in spring and summer hairstyles this year, one style maven says:

  • Matte finishes
  • Metallic colors
  • Volume around the sides of the head
  • The return of the ponytail

That's the report from Crista Lash, a Redken artistic educator in Minneapolis, Minn. She details trends for the seasons ahead:

Matte finishes. "We're seeing more matte trends on the runway, as opposed to brilliant, shiny hairdos, " Lash said. "A roughed-up texture . . . lived-in looks with second-day sexiness." Not for women only, either: "With men, it's chunky separation, oversized pieces and a matte finish."

Metallic colors. Mirroring the appearance of trendy fashion accessories, Redken's edgy Metallic Glam color line adds silvery highlights. Not shiny, though: "Like a metallic fabric, there's a sheen or a shimmery reflection," Lash said.

Volume. "Volume is definitely huge this spring and summer," Lash said. "Instead of adding height up front, hair is lifted at the nape and crown and teased at the sides."

Ponytails. They're back, Lash said. Some are sleek, while others are less structured – "as if you had pulled your hair back very simply, messy and loose like a young girl who has played outside all day."


Doors open for beauty grads

U.S. salons continue to have a healthy appetite for hiring recent cosmetology graduates, according to a 2007 industry report.

More than half of U.S. salon owners had job openings in 2006. Yet three-quarters of salons seeking employees were unable to find the qualified workers they needed.

"The demand for well-trained professionals in the field outstrips the supply. Future hiring plans are robust and the industry is projected to continue growing," said the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences or NACCAS, which oversees U.S. cosmetology schools

That's good news for beauty school graduates. NACCAS found that nearly 40 percent of cosmetology jobs were taken by newly trained professionals with less than a year of experience.

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