Shear madness?

Cosmetologists decry effort to nix training, licensing requirements

Kimberly Rubio

Assistant editor

Do you want untrained stylists anywhere near your hair with scissors? If not, local cosmetologists are asking residents to rally against proposed bills that call for deregulation and delicensing in the cosmetology industry

Southwest Texas Junior College cosmetology program coordinator Vanessa Briones encourages local cosmetologists, barbers, and concerned residents to sign a petition opposing House Bill 1705, filed by Texas State Representative Matt Shaheen of Plano.

To sign the petition visit,

Calls placed to Shaheen’s office regarding his motivation for the deregulation were not returned.

Briones obtained her cosmetology license in 2005, followed by an instructor’s license in 2009. She has worked in the private sector as an instructor, coordinator and campus director in San Antonio for eight years. She has worked for the local college for two years.

Currently, to be eligible for an operator license, an applicant must be at least 17 years of age, have obtained a high school diploma or the equivalent of a high school diploma, or have passed a valid examination that measures the person’s ability to benefit from training. Prospective cosmetologists and barbers must also have completed 1,500 hours of instruction in a licensed beauty culture school or 1,000 hours of instruction in beauty culture course and 500 hours of related high school courses prescribed by the commission in a vocational cosmetology program in a public school.

Cost to obtain training at SWTJC is $4,300. An additional $360 is needed for course books and $650 for a cosmetology kit.

Students are educated on anatomy, physiology of hair, skin and nails, chemistry, ecology, trichology and more.

Upon completion of training, cosmetologists are required to pass a licensing exam issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Texas allows applicants to take the cosmetology board exams in English, Spanish and Vietnamese languages. Texas only requires four continuing education hours to renew all licenses.

Texas requires license holders to renew their license every two years. Cost to renew a license is $50 for cosmetologists and $55 for barbers.

Other bills

House Bill 2444 seeks to decrease the number of required hours from 1,500 to 1,000, while House Bill 1705 seeks to abolish the regulation practices of barbering and cosmetology. If House Bill 1705 passes, all Texas barber and cosmetology licenses would no longer be valid or required as of Sept. 1, 2019. 

According to Briones, if passed, the bills will increase the risk of communicable diseases and injury to customers by way of lack of knowledge in safety and sanitation.

Janie and Jessica’s Heavenly Salon owner Janie Martinez, who holds a cosmetology license and instructor’s license, said education should be a priority in the trade.

“Everybody knows how to do hair, but they don’t know what the rules are behind it,” Martinez said.

“I think they are making a huge mistake leaving the public in the hands of unprofessional, unlicensed, people wanting to do chemicals, cuts and color with no educational experience,” added Cheryl Hammer, SWTJC cosmetology instructor.

Although the bill seeks to normalize it, it is not unheard for people to practice the craft without a license.

Last year, one Uvaldean was fined $500 for operating a cosmetology salon without an appropriate license, while a second was fined $1,500 for leasing space in a salon to multiple individuals who engaged in the practice of cosmetology without a cosmetology license.

In 2017, a barber was fined $1,500 for leasing space in his barber shop to an individual who engaged in the practice of barbering but had not obtained a barber license. That same year, a second person was fined $1,125 for performing or attempting to perform a practice of cosmetology with an expired license and failing to prepare fresh disinfectant solution for immersion of implements.

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