We license hair braiding? Why?


My take: Utah (and every other state, frankly) have far too many licensing laws. Simply put, they’re turf wars aimed at obtaining government sanctioned monopolies.

For more on this subject, check out George Will’s column from the Washington Post titled “Nibbling Away at Free Enterprise”


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21 Responses to “We license hair braiding? Why?”

  1. Don Says:

    It’s for the protection of the public, says the lady who makes probably a few million a year running a beauty school… uhh yeah that makes sense. Her examples don’t make so much sense. I think they should make micro courses for each license. If you want to do X, you take a course for X and get license for X. Not a course for an alphabet and a license for it as well, just to do X.

  2. Krista Black Says:

    I’m thrilled to see Southerland helping to cover this discussion. I am so looking forward to seeing 2012 as the “Year of the Great Roll Back.” We cannot rally and protest about wanting smaller government and then not actually do something about it. We cannot talk about entrepreneurship and then promote government that refuses to get out of the way. This hair braiding example is just one of many examples of small businesses being ridiculously burdened (more than $10k in tuition, a one-year commitment and testing in this case) for the nebulous cause of “public safety.”

    Personally – for beauty professionals – I do not care if they have a state license. I feel VERY confident that I can ask enough questions about their experience to determine for myself whether I want to choose that person.

    I want to see every Legislator show up with at least one bill to remove code, rule, fees or tax – period. It’s not too much to ask. I’m well aware that every one will be savagely defended as so needed for the public safety but at some point we have to create a disciplined approach to rolling back the unintended consequences of code, rules and fees.

    It will not be easy. Every single cottage industry will be up in arms scaring the public to their best ability but in the end we have to say “enough with the government-sanctioned monopolies.” I truly think that consumers are smart enough to make their own decisions without a $10,000 (plus) trade certificate and a test al la bureaucrat between them and their professional of choice. I cannot imagine for the life of me why we think that makes hair braiding and eyelash techs qualified – it just raises prices.

    In removing barriers to entry into the profession the professionals in many cases will win as well. Ask anyone saddled with more than $10k in student loans from their hair school; it’s a challenging burden but one that the schools must have in place if they are to survive. We’re going to have to ask what’s more important: the survival of the schools or the proper role of government?

    Thanks, Holly, for promoting this discussion.

  3. Sam Fidler Says:

    Have you submitted a bill on this topic yet? Please let us know so we can track and promote it.

  4. Jacob Says:

    While I am happy you are bringing this issue forward, and hope you have a bill on it, why haven’t you talked about the redistricting process?

    Are you personally in favor of a district map designed to minimize the input of urban Utahns? I have always voted republican, but this move disgusts me. One further example of horrible Utah politics, which you should be shedding light on.

  5. jacob Says:

    Crickets …

    This is looking like HB477 all over again. I’m sure Holly will step into the spotlight once is is apparent which side the majority falls on. You had an opportunity to lead, but you squandered it with inaction.

  6. Jim Says:

    Interesting point Jacob. Holly, where DO you fall on the redistricting process?

  7. hollyonthehill Says:

    Glad to know you follow me so closely – but I am just swamped. Follow me on Twitter. I’ve been quite vocal abt redistricting but haven’t had the time to pull together a blog. I was hopeful I could have gotten one up while we were on the hill, but no such luck. I voted to keep our caucus open and I spoke “enthusiastically” about holding additional public hearings on Congressional maps.

  8. Jacob Says:

    Ok, I may have missed it in your tweets (I just went and read them), but I don’t see the answer there either.

    Are you personally in favor of a district map designed to minimize the input of urban Utahns?

    In regards to public input, who cares how much public input you got, if the legislature thumbs its nose at said input, and selects a map, which wasn’t commented on? Doesn’t that smell a little funny to you? What are you going to do to ensure that public input actually matters in the next two weeks?

  9. Gee Says:

    As a teacher, I view teacher licenses as no different from hair licenses. They’re both poor policy in many ways, economic barriers to entry, and I would love to see them go the way of free enterprise. (free enterprise has gradually been destroyed, unfortunately)

  10. Greg Says:

    If you take away the license, what manner of proof do you have that they know what they do other than experience? If you look at other employment, a hiring company would not even take anymore of a look if you do not have the qualifications they are looking for such as a degree. If you take away the license, then make the beauty schools have some sort of diploma of some kind. Otherwise they will be looked at with just as much thought as the people who have no schooling.

  11. Cindy Says:

    So? A braid is simple knowledge. Do you know about hair coloring? How to mix it? How to apply and for how long? What about the shape of the face, skin color and what style of hair cut works for his or her looks? A license proves that one such person knows this.

  12. Allen Says:

    After reading the washington post article, sure it could be a good idea to remove the license, and allow people to open their own businesses. But if everyone does this, and having too many places that sell the same product, you really screw business owners over because eventually they have to close shop and deal with the costs it took for them to even start up their failing company.

  13. Natalie Parkin Says:

    Watching this video it is hard to take the words you said today for their value. You said this was not about de-regulation or voluntary licensing, I beg to defer.

    I have a question for all professionals, did you have to get educated in your profession? What about traditional associate degrees, how long do those take, usually 2 years? How much do they cost, and for what, entry into a 4 year program!!! Don’t get me started on traditional University cost of education? Many of these professions are also licensed, could I just wake up and choose to be an Architect? How about a Nurse? Or better yet, an Attorney?? Cosmetology is one of the easier professions to get into with the shortest length of education. As an esthetics school, our graduates can complete their education in 7 months (NO ASSOCIATE DEGREE REQUIRED!), the cost is $12,900 and the starting median salary is $29,000 (Range is $18,500-$45,000). There are not too many professions out there that can say the same. We are also projected by the Bureau of Labor and statistics to grow by 38% in the next eight years. I repeat, not many professions can say that! I would also love for you to look at my audit, that I am required to have every year for DOE. You will see that (as one poster put it) I am clearly not raking in millions.

    Holly, I truly respect that you want to help the folks that don’t have the time/money to educate themselves, but there are several women, single mom’s, heck I even had a girl living at the YWCA that saw the benefits. They are why I do what I do. We change lives, our students, our clients, and their families. I am very proud to watch my students as they grow. It’s not just braiding (at my school, not even hair!) they are learning skills, technical and life skills. I would love to have you sit in our class for one week so you can see what they learn. They would blow your socks off. I welcome you, please contact me. –Natalie Parkin (Skinworks)

  14. hollyonthehill Says:

    Natalie, I’m glad you had the opportunity to come today. I hope you also had the opportunity to actually read the bill. While there are people who want to make ALL licenses voluntary, #1, that’s not me and #2, that is not what this bill does. I am not opposed to education or training.

    In fact, I am very much in favor of trade schools. I am in favor of university-level learning if that’s what people choose. I am in favor of the apprenticeship model. I am also in favor of the free market and opposed to overbearing government regulation.

    It is simply an artificial barrier to entry and frankly, restraint of trade, to demand that people who braid hair jump through 2000 hours of training, the vast majority of which does not apply to hair braiding, simply to practice their trade.

    You mentioned other licenses. Did you realize that I am a direct-entry midwife? it is a 3 year training and the health and well-being of moms and babies is in our hands – literally. My license is voluntary…….

  15. Natalie Parkin Says:

    I am very familiar with midwifery as well, interesting enough I was a surrogate last year and lot of my fellow surro’s are midwives and use midwives quite frequently. With all do respect, midwifery has been around, well since the beginning of time :). Eyelash glue, formaldehyde, synthetic hair, balding, I don’t believe Mary (yes, as in Jesus) had to worry about that. I appreciate your time, I know you’re a busy women.

  16. hollyonthehill Says:

    I do believe that hair braiding existed when Mary was birthing Jesus. I bet Eve was braiding hair, too. My proposed bill specifically excludes the use of chemicals.

  17. Lacey Sears Says:


    I see how you are wanting to help people who “just want to braid hair”. Do you or the people braiding hair know how to identify ring warm, lice, scabies, or other fungus and bacteria transferred from person to person?

    School is not about just braiding hair. It’s about knowledge of human health, “modern day chemicals”, technical skills and life skills. This is a slippery slope you are on!

    I have a cosmetology degree a bachelors degree and am currently seeking a nursing degree to advance my “capabilities” within the cosmetology field. I feel I currently have the knowledge to work with lasers, Botox and other beauty enhancing products. I go by the rules and take the “steps” which are financial, educational and societal responsibility to ensure I am treating people accurately and hygienically.

    Lacey Sears @ Hallard Weber Salon
    Cosmetologist 12 years

  18. Brenda Scharman Says:

    I truly appreciate your passion and dedication to what you feel are critical issues in the State of Utah. I only wish you had given me the time last year to at least be heard. I simply ask you to please go into the professional salons that are doing the braiding, just view what they are doing and I feel confident you will change your opinion and realize that braiding is dangerous to the public. You have seen the videos of permanent balding due to TA (traction alopecia), allergic reactions (to natural hair as well as synthetic), infection, lack of knowledge regarding contagious disease identification and determining what is treatable and what is not. I can’t tell you the number of people that return from Mexico with the beautiful Bo Derek braids and their heads are full of lice due to the lack of knowledge regarding sanitation/disinfection. I would love the opportunity to do a full day field trip with you, we will go from salon to salon. Currently DOPL is struggling with keeping up with the complaints in the field as it is, I hesitate to give them this burden as well- I just ask you to look.

  19. Big Hair Strikes Back: Utah's Hair Braiding Regulations Fail the Laugh Test. | Publius Online Says:

    […] why, when Rep. Holly Richardson proposed a bill that would not only deregulate braiding and avoid a federal lawsuit against the […]

  20. Jacob Says:

    Holly, Will you identify who voted against bringing up your bill, and how much lobbying they received from the cosmetology businesses?

  21. Natalie Parkin Says:

    Here is proof that we are NOT overly concerned, this is real people. not every women that is balding is going to brag about it to the press. This is not your girls camp braiding we are talking about. Think about it….


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