Once again, another state is catching on to the ugly trend of deregulating the cosmetology industry, and the state of Indiana is actually doing it for the second time. As a professional in this industry, you are probably thinking to yourself just how dangerous a proposal like this can be. However, the state of Indiana is proposing a bill known as Indiana Senate Bill 520 that would place licensure and regulations of barbers, estheticians, nail technicians and cosmetologists on the chopping block once again. The bill creates ERASER – this is a bit of a play on words, since they are trying to erase the regulations and licensure needed for the field of cosmetology– however, this committee is actually known as the Eliminate, Reduce, and Streamline Employee Regulation committee. This particular bill is focused on a five-year plan that after implemented would reverse the requirement currently in place for regulations, licensing and certification for professionals in the state of Indiana. For those currently in cosmetology or barbering, it would make their certifications, hard work and educational background useless. That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this means for consumers.
Ultimately, those who have certifications and who have worked hard to obtain a professional license in Indiana could lose the respect and reputation they worked so hard to earn by being well-trained and offering high-quality, safe beauty services, since just anyone would be allowed to work in the field with or without certification and training. For those of you who currently work in the field, you know just what an insult that this bill is to hard-working beauticians who have invested their time and money into professional training and certification only to be smacked in the face with the fact that their devotion to the industry and excellence in their craft no longer matter. Indiana Senate Bill 520 could also negatively affect the local economy. Beauty schools in Indiana and salons are valuable contributors to the local economy, and by eliminating the need for an education in the field many of these cosmetology programs could ultimately be shut down.
Most importantly, this proposal will make clients susceptible to risks that result from untrained and unlicensed individuals. The lesser of the risks include bad haircuts, potentially orange hair as a result of a poor dye job and the humiliation associated with poor-quality cosmetology work. But there are more serious consequences that stem from individuals practicing who have never been trained in safety and sanitation, or the proper use of chemicals used in hair, nail and skin care services. This could lead to an increase in cases of infection and disease from administering beauty services, which poses a hazard to the health and safety of clients, and would be a stain on the beauty industry as a whole. Plus, instruments like scissors, razors and chemicals in the wrong, untrained hands pose risks to clients that must be taken seriously. For instance chemical burns, permanent scars and total hair loss are just some of the consequences that someone with little to no experience in the field can do to client. It’s not just hair or just skin. These are people we’re talking about.
After being presented with the risks, you may be curious as to why the state of Indiana would consider deregulating the beauty industry. Senator Randy Head of Logansport, the man responsible for introducing this legislation, and other supporters of the bill state that it is the consumer’s responsibility to find a skilled professional. Supporters of the bill say that once a customer experiences bad service, he or she can always find a new stylist “without any risk of serious harm.” The logic behind the measure is to reduce spending on both the state and federal levels.
The fields of esthetics, nail technology, cosmetology and barbering need to have set standards that regulate the industry, along with licensure that indicates that a person demonstrates the necessary skills, training and knowledge to safely administer beauty services at a high level of quality for customers. The proper training from Indiana beauty education programs needs to be required to protect clients and the beauty industry as a whole. To help support the cause, we encourage you to sign to the petition at Change.org because your voice needs to be heard in this matter!