You Need a License to Shampoo and Curl Hair in California?

Senate Colleagues Join Morrell in Saying “No”
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Do students really have to pay $7,500 to $19,000 in classwork and training to shampoo and curl hair? Thanks to California’s licensing laws, the answer is yes.

On top of schooling costs, aspiring workers in these fields are also required to complete over 1,500 hours of training, take several exams, and pay up to $125 in fees in order to receive a license. These services represent just a small sampling of the more than 300 different jobs that need licensure in California.

However, these burdensome regulations could all change under SB 999, by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), which passed the full State Senate today. The bill would repeal the licensing requirements to shampoo, arrange, dress, curl, wave, cleanse, and beautify hair.

The far-reaching scope of California’s Barbering and Cosmetology code is just one area that needs reform.  The professions regulated are illustrative of the state’s burdensome occupational licensing system.

“Occupational licensing is too often an obstacle for people who want to jumpstart their careers and begin climbing the economic ladder,” said Morrell. “At a time when one in five residents now lives in poverty, the state should be doing all it can to lower barriers to entering the workforce and help Californians more freely pursue their financial goals.”

SB 999 is sponsored by the R Street Institute, a non-partisan policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. Steven Greenhut, Western region director for the organization penned an op-ed on SB 999 and occupational licensing that can be read here.

On the bill’s passage, Greenhut said, “Kudos to the senators who, on a bipartisan basis, recognized that overly burdensome licensing rules are keeping some people from earning an honest living. People who want to shampoo and curl hair shouldn't have to spend $7,500 to $19,000 on ten months of classwork to do what most of us do on a daily basis. SB 999 helps create opportunities, especially for low-income Californians. This is a sensible reform that will help workers and businesses alike."

For additional information on SB 999 and occupational licensing in California, read “1,500 training hours and $125 to shampoo hair?” here.

The final bipartisan vote in favor of SB 999 was 33-2. The bill now heads to the State Assembly for consideration.