Bills Seek to Combine Barbering and Cosmetology Into Hybrid License

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This week, legislators in Tennessee will act on HB 1809 and SB 2233, which will combine barbering and cosmetology into one hybrid license. Each separate license will become deregulated, allowing barbers to provide cosmetology services and allowing cosmetologists to provide barbering services without the additional training hours needed to provide these services safely and correctly. The bill will also deregulate the natural hair license. 

Cosmetologists and barbers offer unique services that differ in required training, including shaving with straight razors and applying hair color, both which pose risk to the professional and his or her client if performed incorrectly. Combining the barbering and cosmetology licenses would also make job mobility difficult for these professionals, as other states do not recognize a joint cosmetologist/barber license in place of each separate license. 

Anya Parker, cosmetologist and natural hair practitioner in Memphis, says “Natural hair is big business for African Americans all over the United States. All over the world black woman have embraced their natural tresses. Consumers saw the effects of using relaxers and how detrimental it is to the hair and body. This caused a flood of misinformed and misguided people to start running to natural hair schools and salons. Prior to natural hair schools opening in our state, it was very hard to get educated on caring for natural hair. If we deregulate natural hair in SB 2233 and HB 1809, we will go back to that time and I am adamantly opposed to this. Natural hair styling is very broad and it is here to stay. We must keep this specialty license in our state.”

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PBA supports key reform goals which include license reciprocity, greater access to state board testing, and streamlining the process to obtain a cosmetology or barber license. Combining these professional licenses will add another layer of regulation that other states will not recognize and will compromise the professionalism of both occupations.

For more information on Tennessee House Bill 1809 and Senate Bill 2233, and to sign up for action alerts, visit probeauty.org/takeaction