beauty professionals deserve​


Not Barriers.

States make beauty professionals spend a lot of time and money before they can provide any services and get paid.  Laws require more from beauty pros than from those who work in many other jobs.  That’s not fair.  We believe that beauty pros deserve better.

We are the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit that has worked alongside talented artists across the country to help make it easier and less costly to work in beauty—and we want to know what you think.  Are there ways to improve the industry?  Please take our brief survey.

It’s not Fair That Beauty Professionals must spend…


tuition to attend cosmetology school

Aspiring beauty professionals spend, on average, $16,000 to attend state-required cosmetology school. And after spending all this money, many still have to get additional training because their school didn’t teach them what they needed to learn.

average of

borrowed to attend cosmetology school

Students often go into a lot of student loan debt to afford school.  But programs rarely graduate students on time, delaying—or even blocking—aspiring beauty professionals’ entry into the workforce, and increasing their debt burden. 


hours to attend cosmetology school

States require up to 2,100 hours of cosmetology school.  Students have reported that they spend much of the practical instruction time standing around, waiting for clients.  A former student told The New York Times, “I would say probably 60 percent of our time was sitting around waiting […] I was literally just waiting. I had to finish my clock hours.”

And while in school, students usually must provide services to paying customers—and not earn a dime For their labor. 
The school profits twice: from the student’s tuition, and the paying customers. 
While aspiring beauty professionals are in school—spending money and not making money—those in other occupations are learning on the job or practicing their crafts while earning a living from day one. That’s not fair.

There are many ways to learn about beauty and sanitation practices without being required to spend up to 2,100 hours in school, often going into debt, and learning skills one may never use.

Sanitation is important, and can be learned in a few hourswhich is the case for many other occupations.

Some states make it easier to provide beauty services.

Required hours of schooling differ state to state, even though beauty services don’t.  Some states allow services that don’t involve chemicals to be performed without having to go to cosmetology school first.

Some states allow beauty professionals to:​
  • Style hair
  • Shampoo
  • Apply makeup
  • Braid hair
  • Apply eyelash extensions
  • Thread
without getting a cosmetology license first.

Beauty professionals deserve more options and flexibility.

Not everyone wants to use chemicals or engage in all the cosmetology skills: some beauty professionals only want to provide narrow services.  

  • They may only want to do makeup artistry or special event hairstyling.
  • They may have brought an artistic skillset from another country, like threading or braiding. 
  • They could be single parents, caregivers, military spouses, or of modest means and can’t afford the time or cost of school. The expensive licensing system keeps them from pursuing their dreams, or dealing with debt.  
  • And there may be others who want to work in a salon just doing shampooing or blow-drying, but can’t because they are required to get a license.  This can keep out those with disabilities, recent immigrants with language barriers, and other vulnerable groups who may have a difficult time finding work.

The United Kingdom and 12 members of the EU don’t require licensing for beauty professionals at all. 

The UK has “voluntary certification,” which allows beauty professionals to decide which credentials they want to pursue. If they want to call themselves a “State Registered Hairdresser,” they have to meet certain requirements; but they don’t have to do this in order to provide services. 

Hear from The Pros​

Hear from beauty professionals who are frustrated with how the industry is regulated and what options have meant for their careers.

The beauty industry runs on

uniqueness & creativity,

but these laws are stifling it. 

  • Are you a beauty professional who has faced challenges with your training, finding work, debt from school, pay, or hiring qualified staff?
  • Do you have ideas about how to help improve the way the beauty industry is regulated? 
  • We want to hear about your experience—whether you are currently working in the industry, you want to be a beauty artist, or you own a salon.


We want To Hear From You.​

We’ve worked alongside talented artists across the country to change these laws. We want to hear from you about your experience with the beauty industry to see if we can help.

We believe that beauty professionals deserve better.

learn More

The Institute for Justice is a non-profit organization that works alongside beauty professionals and other workers nationwide to change laws that make it hard to earn a living.  So often, state laws require way too much to work in an occupation—like expensive training that can teach things that are not necessary.  

  • There are better, affordable, less challenging alternatives to these kinds of laws.
  • The alternatives would make it easier for existing and aspiring beauty professionals alike to work in the industry.  
  • We support beauty, opportunity, entrepreneurship, professionalism, and safety.  We are against barriers.