by Christina Sandefur and Jenna Bentley

Arizona is becoming a beacon for business and innovation, fostering an environment to welcome entrepreneurs who offer goods and services in cutting-edge ways. Now the state is seeing a new addition to its innovation industry: blow dry bars, where customers can get their hair shampooed, conditioned, and styled quickly. Across the country, blow dry bars have become tremendously popular in recent years, both for customers and for stylists looking to earn a living.

But in Arizona, blow drying someone’s hair without a cosmetology or barbering license is a crime punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Fortunately, Arizona lawmakers have an opportunity to undo this regulatory mismatch and boost the state’s economy. HB 2011 is a common-sense reform that removes the requirement that workers who only dry and style hair must obtain a costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary cosmetology license. Most criticisms of HB 2011 are based on a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the bill. Here’s the truth about HB 2011:

Fictitious claim: By removing the requirement that people who blow dry hair get a cosmetology license, HB 2011 endangers public safety.

Fact: Requiring blow dry bar stylists to get cosmetology licenses does not protect the public health and safety – after all, people shampoo, blow dry, and style hair in their homes all the time. Moreover, the Board of Cosmetology can still impose and enforce sanitary and safety requirements in salons and require blow dry stylists to post signs informing the public that they aren’t regulated by the Board.

Fictitious claim: HB 2011 allows stylists to perform barbering or cosmetology services like cutting, perming, or dying without a license.

Fact: Stylists who cut, color, or perm hair will still be required to obtain a barbering or cosmetology license. Under HB 2011, people who simply wash, blow dry, or style hair without chemicals – do not have to spend 1,000 hours of training in cutting, dying, and permanently changing the structure of the hair.

Fictitious claim: HB 2011 discourages would-be stylists from pursuing cosmetology licenses.

Fact: Current law discourages would-be stylists from pursuing cosmetology licenses (which cost up to $18,000) by preventing students from blow drying hair to earn money to help pay for their schooling.

Fictitious claim: HB 2011 would force customers to see untrained stylists.

Fact: A license does not mean that a stylist will be properly trained. In fact, current law requires blow dry bar stylists to train in procedures that they don’t even perform. Moreover, blow dry bar salons train their employees.

Fictitious claim: HB 2011 is an attempt to deregulate the entire cosmetology industry.

Fact: HB 2011 is narrowly tailored to only apply to people who wash, dry, and style hair. The Board of Cosmetology retains its authority to license barbers and cosmetologists and to regulate cosmetology salons.

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