Letter: Cosmetologists need licensing

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In Jennifer Wagner’s column [Pandemic offers opportunity to rethink regulations, Forefront, Jan. 15], her choice of licensed professions to compare was interesting. I agree the two professions (real estate agent and cosmetologist) seem, on the surface, to be treated unequally. However, I disagree with her statement that “a sloppy real estate agent is likely to do more long-term damage than crooked bangs.”

Under the Indiana code defining a “cosmetologist,” the services performed include the following: “curling, permanent waving, bleaching, tinting, coloring or similarly treating hair.” This involves use of chemicals on an individual’s scalp, which, if not done properly, can cause damage, even permanent damage, to a person’s skin and hair.

Other services include “applying oils, creams, antiseptics, clays, lotions, or other preparations to massage, cleanse, stimulate, manipulate, exercise or beautify” (more chemicals), “manicuring and pedicuring” (more knowledge of cleaning, beyond the hairbrush example given), and “using depilatories” (more chemicals—used on more sensitive skin, like around the eyebrows).

When real estate agents make mistakes that cost the buyer or seller money, there is a written contract and the agent can be sued for malpractice. It is much harder to prove injury in the case of bad services at a hair or nail salon. And because these injuries are to a person’s body, a certain minimum standard needs to be set, which is currently done through state licensing.

Ms. Wagner on the one hand suggests these regulations hurt individuals looking for a way out of poverty, but then shows her disrespect for the cosmetology profession with her comments about hairbrushes and bangs. There are not many careers that do not involve a significant investment of time and money, and there are scholarships and state programs available to help defray the cost for the determined cosmetologist, no matter how disadvantaged.


Caran Keller

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One thought on “Letter: Cosmetologists need licensing

  1. Anytime government is the answer to the question, it must be a dumb question! I agree cosmetologist as many industries should be regulated, they need to be imposed by the industry not the government. It is like helmet laws for motorcycle, the insurance industry can mandate helmets or insurance is not applicable. No insurance no license. Government can get out of the way an reduce waste fraud and incompetency. If a salon owner wants to take on the liability of an untrained technician and you want to go to an untrained technician then the 3 of you have contract. Here again the insurance company tells the salon owner, untrained technician, no insurance coverage. And I hate big insurance companies but not as much as big government.