The Dangers of Cosmetology Deregulation
Listen up, everyone, because this isn’t going to be our normal cutesy-but-informative-little-article that packs a knowledgeable-but-entertaining-punch—this time, this blog post is here to get down to business.
We’re here to address something that everyone at Elite Beauty Society feels very strongly about. That’s right, it’s so strong we’ve nixed the niceties, the intros, and the fun subheadings. This time, we’re pulling out all the stops to hopefully provide some insight on a current issue within our industry.
What’s the issue, you ask?
Recently, a few different states have started having conversations about removing the cosmetology licensing requirements that professionals must have in order to practice their passion
States like Texas, Arizona, Florida, and more have either opened up vague conversations about it or even have begun creating legislation to deregulate the profession of cosmetology occupations (like Florida SB 1640 and HB27 or Arizona SB1401 or Texas SB 1705)
This is the part where we’re just going to come right out and say it—we’re definitely not on board with these discussions. Consider cosmetology deregulation the new four-letter word within our industry (at least to us). While we have a lengthy list of reasons as to why we openly disagree with deregulation, it really boils down to a simple factor for us—do away with regulation for cosmetologists, and you’re basically devaluing everything the industry is.
Think about it, taking away the licensing (which often includes over 1500 hours of experience in some states, passing exams, specific classes, and extra certifications), you’re basically saying, “hi, this job is easy and requires no skill, let’s just let everyone do it.”
Maybe you think it can’t be boiled down to something that simple—but to us, it basically asserts that our career choice is not being viewed as legitimate. Further, it paints a bleak perspective for us as professionals, our futures, and of course, opens up less-than-satisfying and dangerous experiences for clients.
Danger No. 1: A Negative Impact on Our Beauty Industry
Here’s the big thing about these cosmetology deregulation bills and conversations. They’re being promoted as a way to make it easier for people to enter the workforce to become specialist in these areas. Ideally, they’d be described as a way to make these lucrative (and as they’re describing them, honorable) careers much more accessible for people. To put it bluntly, deregulation is supposedly aimed at breaking the barriers down for people to become professionals.
But guess what—that’s not what’s going to happen to the industry. These barriers would be more apt to increase the barrier to entry for our industry.
We’re not saying that people who haven’t been trained up as professional cosmetologists aren’t capable of becoming cosmetologists—they are. But here’s the thing, that’s exactly why people go to school to learn this trade. Even if we’re not being pretentious and talking strictly about creative talent or artistic flair—the very, very basics of cosmetology aren’t something you just inherently know. And, unless you have someone you’re apprenticing under who know the very basics of cosmetology (which does happen, but not as often), you’re missing out on the building blocks of the education. Worse, you could be promoting unhealthy or inaccurate techniques, methods, or advice.
With an enormous influx of people entering the cosmetology field—sans requirements or with very limited requirements—the amount of competition would be enormous.
Danger No.2: A Less-Than-Appealing Outlook for Beauty Professionals
As professionals within a booming industry, we can agree that cosmetology regulations and licensing requirements should be continuously looked at, amended, and bettered—we are not so ignorant to say that our industry is one that doesn’t need improvement. But to do away with regulations, or even to dramatically reduce licensing requirements, creates enormous problems for both existing professionals as well as up-and-coming professionals, too.
Consider for a moment the cosmetology deregulation bill in Florida.
While it’s more complicated than this simple sentence, the basic idea is that the deregulation bill would reduce the number of hours needed to work as a barber or cosmetologist to about 600 total hours. That’s half the national average.
How do you think that could possibly prepare future professionals in our industry?
How do you cover everything needed to cover in a mere 600 hours of work or classes? How do you cover every technique, procedure, safety regulation, or principle of the profession in a mere 600 hours? Would it even be possible to train a soon-to-be-professional about the very fundamentals of their chosen career in 600 hours? Unlikely.
This creates “professionals” who are less than prepared or the industry they’ll be launched into, diluting the field and creating a less legitimate industry overall, as well as a worse work environment for professionals, both novice and seasoned, in this industry.
Danger No. 3: A Dangerous Avenue for Clients
Let’s be clear, when we say dangerous, we mean legitimately dangerous. Let’s put aside for a second that clients will undoubtedly deal with less-than-wonderful results if they’re dealing with untrained, unlicensed cosmetologists (this isn’t a question of if they’ll end up dissatisfied, but when), and let’s look at the actual dangers that are being presented.
If you set a consumer up with a cosmetologist without any training, they’re not just missing out on an experience or a fantastic new look, they’re being put at risk for infections, diseases, and danger.
Cosmetologists without licensing, experience, or required formal training who are doing hair, makeup, esthetics and more could leave consumers at risk for burns, infections, and worst of all, diseases like hepatitis and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus due to unsanitary practices. Infection can be spread easily and seamlessly.
Without proper training and formal education—as well as a strict emphasis in cosmetology licensing on safety standards—cosmetologists likely wouldn’t know the regulations, techniques principles, sanitation, and chemical procedures that are needed to keep consumers safe and healthy.
Beauty professionals, we urge you to become advocates, should you feel called to it.
Let your voice be heard.
Find out how you can make a difference for our industry!