Consumer warning: California lawmakers attempt to deregulate the industry (Part 2 of 2)

Monday, June 11, 2018

This is part two of a two-part series on industry issues in California. If you haven't read part one yet - CONSUMER WARNING: NAIL SALON ALLEGEDLY BURNS TEEN SKIN - I highly suggest you do. 

Senators Ben Allen (D - Los Angeles) and Richard Roth (D - Riverside) along with Assembly Member Kevin Kiley co-authored Senate Bill 999 (SB-999) which was introduced on February 05, 2018 by Senator Morrell (R - Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino). What this bill basically comes down to is the deregulation of specific services which are overseen by the California Barbering and Cosmetology board.

This bill would remove the practices of shampooing, arranging, dressing, curling, and waving the hair of any person from the practice of barbering and cosmetology. The bill would remove the practice of hairstyling of all textures of hair by standard methods that are current at the time of the hairstyling from the practice of barbering. The bill would also remove the practice of cleansing or beautifying the hair of any person from the practice of cosmetology. The bill would require a person who engages in practices of arranging, beautifying, cleansing, curling, dressing, shampooing, or waving the hair of any person at an establishment to provide notice to consumers of his or her licensure status. Because the bill would create a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Here's my problem with this bill. By deregulating the cosmetology and barbering industry, even in a "small manner" such as this, it opens the door to deregulating other parts of the industry not just in California but across the country. Not only that, there is a health risk by allowing someone untrained to wash a person's hair, or curl someone's hair (2nd and 3rd-degree burns). Also, an untrained person would not be able to spot things like nits and lice on a person's scalp or understand that clients can have medical conditions or allergies that can be triggered with certain shampoos and conditioners. A person with a corn allergy, for example, can have a life-threatening allergy to something in the shampoo and an untrained person wouldn't know to ask the client if they have any known allergies.


In 2014, Elizabeth Smith of Los Angeles went into a salon in San Diego, two weeks later she had a stroke that was attributed to her having her hair washed at the salon. "She said doctors determined it was the position of her head in a wash basin that probably caused a blood clot, leading to stroke." By 2016 she was able to recover some mobility but she was never the same. Granted, it's exceeding rare for someone to report Beauty Parlor Strokes but it happens and sometimes it's not attributed to having your hair washed as a salon. The thing is a salon liability insurance policy covers these types of claims but only if the person is licensed. How many salon owners will lose their policies or pay a higher premium to cover unlicensed employees?

Shampooing a person's hair and scalp isn't just about shampooing. It's understanding anatomy (to prevent Beauty Parlor Strokes). It's understanding how to look for communicable diseases and parasites. It's also about not burning the client with hot water while washing their hair or getting chemicals in their eyes while rinsing out a service such as bleach or perm solution or hair relaxants. It's also about providing the client with a great service from start to finish and not passing the client around from person to person in the salons.


In 2015, Women's Health wrote an article on "8 Unfortunate Incidences of Hair Curling Iron Burns in Photos". It happens frequently and mainly to people who are unaccustomed to using hot tools such as marcel irons, curling irons, flat irons, and hair dryers.

A post shared by iamperlat (@iamperlat) on

There are over 1,000 other images on Instagram using the hashtag #curlingironburn and these lawmakers want to put untrained people in salons to curl someone's hair? Can you imagine how many more burns will occur in a salon setting from someone untrained? And it seems like these lawmakers also don't understand that a hot curling iron, in an untrained person's hand, can also melt hair. I'm sure someone out there reading this will say, "well I curl my hair just fine. Nothing has ever happened to me when I do my own hair." That's just it, it's your hair and your tools so you're used to working on yourself. Just because you can curl or flat iron your own hair doesn't mean you can do someone else and not accidently burn them. It takes hundreds of hours of practicing on a dummy head before a cosmetology student is even allowed near a real person and even that's still under the eyes of an instructor.

In 2016, a woman named KC Clarke wrote on xo Jane that she suffered severe 3rd-degree burns on her scalp while under a hair dryer. This left a huge gaping hole on the back of her head that required several surgeries. While in her case it was possibly due to a chemical reaction to the chemicals used to highlight her hair but no one is sure on why her hair caught fire. This was in the hands of a licensed colorist (aka cosmetologist). According to KC, the salon owner denied responsibility for the situation. I wasn't able to find out if KC Clarke did end up suing the salon owner or if the salon owner was even licensed and insured but when accidents like that happen in a salon setting typically the salon insurance will pick up the bills IF the salon is insured as required by law.


This bill should be killed. It shouldn't pass at all because it harms the industry and it will lead to clients being harmed. What should be done is decriminalizing working outside of a salon with a professional license. Did you know in California, makeup artists cannot work inside a salon, much less outside, for compensation? This means those working in the bridal field are working illegally and if caught WILL BE found guilty of a misdemeanor AND are subject to a hefty fine. A cosmetologist can't work outside the salon on a bridal client - not legally - and an esthetician can't provide makeup or skin services outside of a salon setting. Right now there are thousands of bridal makeup artists who are working illegally in California who are offering hair services and/or makeup services when they can't but even pros can't offer those services outside of a salon and THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE.

California lawmakers - please KILL THIS BILL. Instead, create a new bill that would allow professional license holders to work outside of a salon setting. Look at Washington State on how they allow pros to work outside of salon under a $150 yearly permit. In Massachusettes, the law was recently changed to allow pros to work outside of a salon without paying for a permit. Something akin to one of those two states is what needs to be done in California.

What also needs to be done is a stand-alone makeup artist permit or license needs to be created. So long as skin care (esthetics) is not done and the person can pass an exam based on bloodborne pathogens, skin diseases, sanitation, and anatomy then allow someone like me to work WITH a license or permit AND insurance!

Please contact the CA State Senators and members of the Assembly to stop this bill from passing!

  1. Andy Vidak (R) @SenAndyVidak
  2. Anthony Cannella (R) @AnthonyCannella
  3. Anthony J. Portantino (D) portantino
  4. Ben Hueso (D)
  5. Benjamin Allen (D) @benallenca
  6. Bill Dodd (D) @BillDoddCA
  7. Bill Monning (D) @billmonning
  8. Bob Wieckowski (D) @BobWieckowskiCA
  9. Cathleen Galgiani (D) @senatorgalgiani
  10. Connie M. Leyva (D) @ConnieMLeyva
  11. Ed Hernandez (D) @dredhernandez
  12. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) @SenHannahBeth
  13. Henry I. Stern (D) @HenrySternCA
  14. Holly J. Mitchell (D) @HollyJMitchell
  15. Janet Nguyen (R) @SenJanetNguyen
  16. Jean Fuller (R) @JeanFuller
  17. Jeff Stone (R) @SenJeffStone
  18. Jerry Hill (D)
  19. Jim Beall (D) @Jimbealljr
  20. Jim Nielsen (R) @CASenatorJim
  21. Joel Anderson (R) @JoelAndersonCA
  22. John M. W. Moorlach (R) @SenatorMoorlach
  23. Josh Newman (D) @JoshNewmanCA
  24. Kevin de LeΓ³n (D) @CAptEmeritus
  25. Mike McGuire (D) @ilike_mike
  26. Mike Morrell (R) @MikeMorrellGOP
  27. Nancy Skinner (D) @NancySkinnerCA
  28. Patricia C. Bates (R) @SenatorPatBates
  29. Ricardo Lara (D) @senricardolara
  30. Richard D. Roth (D) @GeneralRoth
  31. Richard Pan (D) @DrPanMD
  32. Robert M. Hertzberg (D) @SenateHertzberg
  33. Scott D. Wiener (D) @Scott_Wiener
  34. Scott Wilk (R) @ScottWilkCA
  35. Steven Bradford (D) @SteveBradford
  36. Steven M. Glazer (D) @Steve_Glazer
  37. Ted Gaines (R) @TedGaines
  38. Tom Berryhill (R) @TomBerryhill
  39. Toni G. Atkins (D) @toniatkins

Assembly Member


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