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Bill to deregulate hair styling introduced

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale)

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale)

The way Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita figures it, no one ever died from a bad hair style or blow dry — at least not literally.

So the Scottsdale Republican wants to repeal a state law which says you can’t style hair in Arizona without at least 1,100 hours of training at a state-licensed school.

Ugenti-Rita said she was approached by lobbyists for Drybar, a decade-old national firm that specializes in quickie blowouts. That can include everything from a shampoo to simply putting someone’s hair up with pins.

The firm already has three locations in the state.

Only thing is, to do even just that in Arizona requires a state license, something Ugenti-Rita said could cost close to $10,000.

“When they told me about the scope of their business, you could clearly see that it was an impediment to them hiring, and for someone to be hired, simply to hire them for blowing out hair — blowouts they’re called — and style,” she said. Ugenti-Rita said what’s being done there is far different than a beauty salon.

“You can’t even get hair cutting,” she said. “They don’t have scissors there.”

Nor do they do things like hair coloring or use chemicals to make a perm.

“They blow it out, style, arrange, they curl,” Ugenti-Rita said. “Maybe they use some bobby pins.”

Bottom line, she said, is her belief that nothing being done there should require a state-issued license.

“I don’t see a public health or safety issue,” she said.

Her HB 2011 would create an exception from licensing for those who “dry, style, arrange, dress, curl, hot iron or shampoo and condition hair” as long as there are no “reactive chemicals to permanently straighten, curl or alter the structure of the hair.”

“The worst that can happen is you don’t like the way your hair is styled,” Ugenti-Rita explained, as there would be no cutting and no permanent change to someone’s hair.

Prior efforts to create exemptions have been met with sometimes fierce opposition from the cosmetology community — the people who already have the licenses and the board which regulates them, which is dominated by those in the field and those who teach at schools which are now the precursors of licensing.

As far back as 1983, Douglas Norton, who was the state auditor general at the time, recommended to lawmakers that they scrap all laws requiring licenses of all cosmetologists or barbers.

“Licensing is not justified because of possible harm from the use of barber implements or chemical solutions because such items are readily available to and routinely used by the general public,” Norton said. But legislators ignored the report amid stiff opposition from the regulated community.

There has been some move toward deregulation more recently, albeit on a piecemeal basis.

In 2004, over the objection of cosmetologists, lawmakers decided that people who only braid hair for a living no longer have to be licensed.

Seven years later, the board agreed to stop trying to regulate “threading,” the practice of using thread to pluck eyebrows. But that came only after the Institute for Justice filed suit.

And earlier this year, Gov. Doug Ducey personally interceded when the board sought to shut down the operation of Juan Carlos Montes de Oca for giving free haircuts to the homeless in a Tucson park.

There was no immediate response from the cosmetology board to the proposal.

Gubernatorial press aide Daniel Scarpinato said his boss has not yet seen the measure. But he suggested the proposal would get the approval of his boss if it makes its way through the Legislature.

“The governor’s bias would be toward making it easier for people to do it, especially if we’re not talking about anything that would jeopardize public health or safety,” Scarpinato said.





  1. Would you like a side of ring worm with your blow out? How bout super size it with some lice?!? Smh

  2. This is a terrible idea , Hairstylist aren’t licensed to do good hair. We are licensed for public health and sanitation. If blow out stylist aren’t regulated how is the public protected ?

  3. Firstly, let me just say that I’m a licensed Cosmetologist in the state of Arizona for about three years now. Finishing beauty school was no easy task for me, since it is so time consuming. But I did it. Along with thousands of others. Because this is what I love. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. And having a license proves to our clients that we aren’t only going to keep them safe, but also that we’re committed and passionate about what we do.

    Alot can happen while just “styling hair”. It’s not just blow drys and shampooing. What happens when you get a client with lice, and you don’t know the proper procedure to deal with that, or , god forbid, you don’t even realize your client has lice, and you use those same tools on your next client. And your next client… And on those lines, there are very specific ways that we are trained to clean and disinfect our tools so that we don’t spread diseases. And if it’s not something that you put in the time and effort to learn, it’s not something you’re going to take as seriously as you should.

    Alot of things can spread in shampoo bowls too. Those also have a procedure for disinfecting. Everything in the salon has a procedure for proper disinfection, all the way down to your styling capes. I cannot reiterate myself enough, on how important it is to put the time in to learn these things, so we don’t start an epidemic.

    And there’s the topic of our industry’s integrity. The stylists that are licensed. That have put in the time. And that do care about the wellbeing of their clients. We lose so much faith from the public, if not everyone has to be licensed to do what what we do. And let’s not even mention how pissed we would all be for wasting $20,000+ on our education.

    Beauty school, and licensing requirements are long and hard for a reason. And they need to stay that way. Scissors and chemicals, ARE NOT, the only way to hurt someone. There is a plethora of scalp diseases that can easily be transferred, and are hard to recognize if you haven’t been trained properly to look for them. And what about proper blood spill procedure; I’ve had clients come in with such bad scalp problems that their scalp had open wounds and was bleeding. What happens if you get a client like that and they have a transmittable disease in their blood, and you don’t even know that you’re supposed to watch out for that. Let alone what to do to disinfect everything properly if something like that does happen.

    Long story short. This is an awful proposal. Not everyone should be behind the chair, it’s as simple as that. If you don’t care enough to do the time and get licensed; you don’t care about your clients. And you don’t care about this industry. So find a different profession. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. So please don’t make my industry easy for everyone. Because my industry isn’t right for everyone. And I do care about the health and safety of my community. And you should too.

    Please help us stop this. On behalf of all the licensed professionals in the state of Arizona, we thank you for reading This. 

    – Hailey Gehre Licensed Cosmeologist

  4. I am a salon owner and I think this is a bad idea for all of the reasons mentioned above. This bill would make it easier for me to find trained stylists but at what cost. All this bill does is put the public at risk of improper handling of tools. We all know live runs rampant in this town. These folks will be trained less and paid a pittance in order to enriched the overpriced blow dry bar industry. I dont know one salon owner who thinks this is a good idea.

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