Cosmetologists, barbers could no longer need state license to practice if bill passes

Local stylists weigh in on topic

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter, Robert Samarron - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - From clean shaves to fades and getting your hair dyed or nails polished -- all of these services require the person doing them to be licensed, but that could soon change. A state lawmaker is proposing to get rid of those state licenses.

Some local barbershop and salon owners aren’t happy about the bill.

Todd Childress, known as Barber Chill, owns Blendz Barber Shop on the Far West Side and has had his barber license for seven years.

“(Clients) know that I'm going to give them the same quality haircut every time they sit in that chair,” Childress said.

Childress takes his profession very seriously, and he said it's something that requires safety measures. 

“It's an art,” he said. “These razor blades are obviously sharp. You are playing with fire every day.”

State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, said the bill filed in the state Legislature will make it easier to create jobs in the industry, calling the training unnecessary. Read his entire statement below: 

“The legislation was created to expand employment opportunities by eliminating unnecessary occupational licenses. I have always made public safety a priority, and I fully support various occupational licenses in our state that are required to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Cosmetology is a field in which the consumer can be trusted to seek out the best service provider without any serious risk of harm. There are several vocations in Texas that pertain to aspects of public safety like car mechanics, personal trainers, and electrologists that are not required by the state to be licensed. It is shocking that the average EMT is required to complete 120-150 hours of training on average whereas cosmetologists are required to complete 1500 hours of training. Texans that are willing to join the workforce and compete - especially low income Texans looking to improve their lives - should face the fewest obstacles possible, and by requiring a cosmetology license, we’re creating unnecessary obstacles for those who want to earn a living.”

Licensed cosmetologist Alix Mane, with The Oxygen Room & Beauty Bar, said getting your license is hard work, but it's a safeguard in place to protect clients.

“This is chemistry,” Mane said. “We are dealing with harsh chemicals.”

In order to get a cosmetology license, a student must put in 1,500 hours of work. Those hours include learning how to sanitize, practicing on clients, classroom hours and a final written and practical exam. Getting a barbers license is very similar.

Mane disagrees with the bill being passed.

“Consumers beware,” Mane said.

She said getting rid of licenses won't make it easier for people to get jobs in the industry. Childress agrees. Both said they would never hire someone without a license.

“No, never in this shop,” Childress said.

His concern is mainly because of safety and contamination.

Childress said if a stylist or barber doesn’t sanitize correctly by cleaning equipment and using fresh blades, gloves or neck wraps, there is a risk of passing ringworm or lice on to other clients.

“I want somebody who knows what they are doing when it comes to my health,” said Lara Fischer, who has been getting her hair and eyebrows done at The Oxygen Room & Beauty Bar for three years.

She said she not only comes to the salon because she knows it's clean but also she trusts Mane with something she says is very personal.

“It's the cover of your book,” Fisher said of her personal appearance. “You want to look good and you want to feel good.”

This is not the only bill that has been filed at the state level that is making it easier to be a barber or cosmetologist.

One bill would reduce the hours required to get a license from 1,500 to 1,000 hours.

Another bill would not require a barber or cosmetologist to have a permit to shampoo customers.

A fourth bill would no longer consider eyebrow threading as a cosmetology or barbering service.

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