We are the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit organization that has worked alongside beauty professionals and other workers nationwide for over 30 years to help change laws that make it hard to earn a living in a chosen industry.

Beauty, Not Barriers is dedicated to working with beauty professionals to change state laws that make it difficult and costly to work in the industry.

Too often, states require too much from those who simply want to earn an honest living doing what they love—and those licensing requirements can make it too costly to enter or work in a field, like the beauty industry.  Between the cost and length of school—which can be far more training than is needed, or fall short of expectations—and complying with state boards, it’s not fair that beauty professionals face steeper state requirements than most other occupations. 

There are better, more affordable, less burdensome alternatives to these kinds of licensing laws—which would make it so much easier for people to pursue their passions. For example, states could exempt those who want to provide narrow services like blow-dry and special event styling and makeup application from cosmetology licensing. We have worked with beauty professionals across the country to enact these reforms, and they have greatly benefited from the opportunities created.  

We believe that beauty professionals need options and flexibility to forge their own paths in the industry—and not face barriers from day one.

We want to hear from you about your experience in the beauty industry.  If you attended a wonderful cosmetology program and make a great living, we want to know!  If your school failed to meet your expectations, you’re now in debt, you didn’t graduate, or you can’t afford to comply with your state’s laws, we want to help.    

Questions? Comments? Please reach out to us!  We want to hear from you!

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Our Team

Rachel Gonzalez

Rachel was born and raised in Okeechobee, Florida, graduated from Yale, and now works with aspiring entrepreneurs across the country to vindicate their right to earn an honest living, without first having to navigate or fall victim to costly, burdensome, unnecessary requirements. 

Jordan Banegas

Jordan was raised along the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico, and was a leader of one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-serving universities—which gave him unique experiences and insights into our education system and workforce development for the country’s fastest growing community.

Trisha Dey

Trisha builds relationships with communities and activists, providing the support and communication needed for powerful partnerships. She grew up in the Seattle area and was involved in local grassroots efforts throughout high school and college. 

Dea McCollum

Dea is currently pursuing her Master of Public Policy, and specializes in government accountability—ensuring that government officials respect the rights of people they are meant to serve.  She has previously worked in regulatory research and sexual assault prevention.

Meagan Forbes

Meagan litigated civil liberties cases for the Institute for Justice before becoming legislative counsel; her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, USA Today, and other outlets. She is originally from New Orleans, and is now based in Minnesota.