April 12, 2021

In the state of Mississippi, eyebrow threaders, eyelash technicians, and makeup artists will no longer have to go through unnecessary and costly classes that don’t even teach them how to do their jobs—thanks to the committed efforts for our friends at the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI).

Under a new state law, these types of beauty service providers will now be able to offer their service in Mississippi without having to obtain expensive and time-consuming esthetician licenses. This new law prohibits the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology from requiring any type of cosmetology license for persons whose practice is limited to threading, applying eyelash extensions, or makeup artistry. It also prevents the board from imposing fines or any civil or criminal penalties on unlicensed threaders, lash technicians, or makeup artists.

Mississippi has taken a positive step forward here, but many states continue to have unneeded and burdensome licensing requirements on the books. At the Goldwater Institute, we’ve been tearing down those barriers to work. In 2019, we released a report drawing attention to the overregulation of blow dry stylists, and just weeks later, Gov. Doug Ducey signed blow dry reform into law in Arizona. This bipartisan, Goldwater-backed law removed the requirement that blow-dry salon workers—stylists who dry and style hair, but do not cut, perm, or permanently alter hair—must obtain a cosmetology license in order to do their job.

One of those stylists, Holli Christensen, told her story in a Goldwater Institute video: “I actually opened up a blow-dry bar, and quite frankly, it was a huge risk. I wasn’t able to work in my own business because I’m not a licensed cosmetologist.” But thanks to Arizona’s blow dry reform, Holli is now able to work in her chosen field without having to get a government permission slip.

Several lawsuits had been filed against the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology to challenge the stringent licensing requirements on these beauty service providers, including one filed in 2019 by the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) and eyebrow threader Dipa Bhattarai. In 2020, MJI and eyelash technician Amy Burks also sent a letter to the Board threatening litigation.

“Our clients took legal action to defend one of their most important constitutional rights, the right to earn an honest living in our state without being subjected to pointless and burdensome government regulation,” said MJI Director Aaron Rice. “Threaders, lash technicians, and makeup artists do not need full-blown esthetician training. They provide safe and simple services. Now these niche beauty providers won’t have to pay thousands of dollars to attend hundreds of hours of classes which are unrelated to their practice.” 

”Occupational licensing laws that have no relation to the public’s health and safety and only serve to protect existing monopolies have no place on the books,” said Jon Riches, Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. “It is encouraging to see Mississippi take this step to protect the right to earn an honest living, and our friends at Mississippi Justice Institute should be applauded for their tireless work in court and at the legislature to advance that principle.” 

Congratulations to the Mississippi Justice Institute—and to all of the beauty workers in the state who no longer have to jump through needless hoops to deliver their services.

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