Laws governing barbering and cosmetology licensing in Texas were revised last year during the regular session of the 87th Legislature. State lawmakers enacted the changes as part of a broader review by the Sunset Advisory Commission of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
HB 1560 by Goldman consolidated cosmetology and barbering under a single board and licensing structure and combined similar licenses in the previously separate programs. It did not merge the main class A barber and cosmetology operator licenses. The bill requires TDLR to adopt rules necessary to implement the bill’s changes by September 1, 2023, and the agency has provided guidance for the transition to license holders in barbering and cosmetology on its website. A new Barbering and Cosmetology Advisory Board met for the first time in January.
Supporters of the changes said they would help TDLR more efficiently oversee these industries and would reduce barriers to entry and advancement for industry professionals. They said the longstanding bifurcation between regulation of barbering and regulation of cosmetology was inefficient and unnecessary to protect the public interest. According to supporters, separate licensing imposed an administrative burden on TDLR since cosmetology and barbering licensees make up a plurality of the population overseen by the agency.
HB 1560 ended the statutory bifurcation and consolidated certain licenses in the barbering and cosmetology programs, such as the manicurist, esthetician/technician, and hair weaving licenses, that supporters said were equivalent in terms of required skills and qualifications. The bill also consolidated the previously separate licenses for places of business. Rather than separate licenses for barbershops and salons, a single license will be available for an “establishment” in which either barbering or cosmetology, or both, may be performed.
Supporters of the changes said the division between the programs was based not on substantive differences of skill and required training but mostly on different marketing strategies stemming from outdated cultural assumptions about a gender divide between the two industries’ respective clientele. The division also had resulted in varied training and fee requirements for similar licenses and unequal penalties for identical violations, supporters of the changes said, despite recent legislative attempts to minimize divergences.
The bill also eliminated barbering and cosmetology instructor licenses, which supporters said required unnecessary additional training for already experienced professionals. Critics of this change said that training in barbering or cosmetology does not necessarily prepare a person to provide instruction in those fields. HB 1560 also eliminated all wig specialist licenses.
By Luke Landtroop