minnesota beauty professionals deserve​


Not Barriers.

The beauty industry is full of opportunity—but state requirements force beauty professionals to take on unnecessary student debt and delay their careers in the industry…while cosmetology schools profit, at the artist’s expense.

Beauty professionals deserve the right to design their own careers in the industry, and deserve more options for training, outside of the traditional cosmetology school model—which in Minnesota costs, on average, over $17,000 per term and requires 1,550 hours to cut and color hair. 

That’s a BIG burden, and few other occupations require so much.  Typically, aspiring professionals – including in comparable fields – can work on the job, earning and learning from day one, or can choose their own educational path.

The Minnesota Legislature is considering decreasing the cost to enter the beauty industry and increasing opportunities to train outside of cosmetology school.

It’s Not Fair That The Cost To Enter and work in The beauty Industry Can Be Far Too Steep For Too Many. 
We want to help change that.

current legislation would:

  • Reduce the training hours required for a cosmetology license from 1,550 to 1,000—which would mean beauty professionals could start their careers sooner and pay less for school.
  • Create a 600-hour hair technician license that focuses only on cutting and coloring hair—which would mean a hair stylist can forgo hundreds of hours of irrelevant and expensive training.
  • Create a voluntary salon training and inspection program that allows licensed salons to opt-in—only if they want!—and register with the board to train and hire workers who do not hold licenses.  In exchange, the salon would need to submit to regular inspections and inform their customers the services are not licensed. This would allow beauty artists to get to work faster, and salon owners to be in charge of their own hiring and training.

It’s not fair that the cosmetology system is designed to profit the schools at the expense of beauty artists’ livelihoods.  It’s not fair that beauty professionals—many women, people of color, and immigrants—are uniquely targeted.


Chefs prepare food that is ingested by customers and aren’t required to get a license or go to school. They take a short, simple sanitation course, and the restaurant is subject to inspections. It’s up to the chef whether they want to go to culinary school.  


In Minnesota, EMTs – who administer life-saving aid – have to get 150 hours of training to get a license to work. Compare that to 1,550 for cosmetologists.


Personal trainers aren’t required to have a license. Tattooing is arguably riskier and more invasive than what cosmetologists do, but some states let artists work after only a few hours of training in bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases.

help us increase flexibility and accessibility in Minnesota’s Beauty Industry.

Please fill out the form below if you have questions or want to support this legislation, and we will reach out with additional information about the bill.


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

Minnesota requires 1,550 hours of cosmetology school.  Students have reported that they spend much of the practical instruction time standing around, waiting for clients, and performing outdated services. 

The voluntary salon training and inspection program would allow salon owners who choose to opt-in to be treated just like the restaurant industry.  Chefs aren’t licensed; instead, the restaurants they work in are licensed and inspected.  Chefs are free to shape their own careers, whether that’s going to a fancy culinary school or forgoing that cost and starting as a line-cook, learning from a trusted mentor.  Why aren’t beauty professionals afforded the same opportunities? 

The current cosmetology system is good for schools, but bad for students.

Research shows that most students—around 75%—are unable to graduate on time in Minnesota, delaying their careers and increasing their tuition costs.  They take on significant debt while they’re training.

In school, students perform unpaid services on paying customers. The schools profit twice: Their students pay tuition, and the public pays the school for student services. Students should not have to go to school longer just so cosmetology schools can increase their profits.

Consider the United Kingdom

The uk’s voluntary certification program allows beauty professionals to train and work in salons without a government license.  This approach creates new opportunities to work in the beauty industry, especially for people who are unable to afford the steep costs of licensing.
We believe that beauty professionals deserve better.

Beauty, Not Barriers is an initiative of the nonprofit Institute for Justice, dedicated to uplifting the beauty industry by breaking down barriers that force far too many beauty artists into debt or out of work, or make it too hard to hire. 

Beauty professionals deserve flexibility and options, like so many other occupations enjoy—not a one-size-fits-all approach that demands 1,550 hours of expensive, traditional training, regardless of one’s interests, goals, or background.

  • 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.