I was recently asked about my opinions on the repeated attempts to deregulate the beauty industry, so I decided to share my thoughts with our future professionals that follow our State Board Professor platform.
In my opinion, deregulation of the beauty and barber industry is purely irresponsible. It’s irresponsible because it puts the general public at risk. The state board of cosmetology and barbers’ sole purpose for existing is to protect the public from negligent professionals. That says to a normal person that there is a certain level of risk involved in being serviced by a professional in the salon environment, right? So, if there is a risk of injury or illness when visiting a licensed professional, there would have to be an even larger risk in going to see an individual that is not licensed.
A lot of people don’t really understand just how potentially harmful a trip to a professional beauty establishment can be. There is a risk of contracting various life-threatening diseases from an unsafe trip to the salon. As professionals we are trained to have the ability to identify when people have diseases, conditions, and disorders. With this training we can let an individual know we won’t be able to service them, and this keeps the other clients who would come into the salon as well as the staff from being put at risk of being infected with whatever is present. This knowledge also allows us to determine what type of products and treatments to give a person that has a condition that is not contagious but simply needs a professional remedy to correct the issue. We know when we are facing a situation that we are allowed to handle and when we are facing ones that must be referred to a doctor.
Place an individual who has never been trained in any of those areas in the same scenario, would you be able to get the same result? For example, an unlicensed individual will not know how to properly distinguish between tinea-capitis and dry scalp. This oversight can lead to every client in the salon who sits in their chair after a client with tinea-capitis contracting the disease. This scenario highlights how important it is to be trained in proper infection control procedures and how to properly disinfect implements in a professional salon environment.
Infection control and safety are the largest components of why we cannot have the deregulation of our industry, however those aren’t the only reasons. Another reason is knowledge of properties of the hair and scalp, anatomy of the skin, nail anatomy, product knowledge and I could go on. If you have never learned the science behind the reason why certain shampoos work for certain scalp conditions, why we should tone the skin in between each step on a facial, or why you shouldn’t cut cuticles but instead soften and push to remove them you should not be performing services on the public. You are a health risk just as a person with professional training and no professional integrity is.
If you love a craft so much why would you not want to learn all you can about it to become better and do it effectively? Having to go to school to learn a profession is not a punishment, it is a privilege and it’s the choice of a person that is serious about their craft. If you love offering amazing braid and lock styles, why not learn about proper tension and proper scalp care so that you can share the information and implement them behind the chair? If you had this knowledge you would know not to braid too tight and cause your client to develop traction alopecia and you would also be able to professionally recommend products to treat and maintain scalp health for them.
These boards only exist to make us better and hold us accountable as professionals for what we do with our hands and what we hold in our heads. It is not an imposition to be required to uphold a standard within our industry and to take pride in the work performed while our clients are in our chairs, facial beds, and pedicure spas! Our profession somehow ends up on the chopping block every couple of years and we always fight back because we know how valuable we are to the public and we know how important it is for us to be properly trained and to have a standard by which we work.
I challenge each new professional to be involved in what is happening at your state board. Go to their website and register to be on the email list so that you know when changes are happening in your state and when you need to pay the board a visit. Most board meetings are open to the public and if you have an opinion to share your can even get on the programs to speak before them and they open the floor for questions from the public as well. Be involved and protect your license because you worked hard to get it, and you are always going to be investing in your trade as long as you are in the profession because we never stop learning.