National Public Radio (NPR) aired a report today, June 21, 2012, about cosmetology licensing regulations after a woman in Utah was told that she could not practice hair braiding on the public without a cosmetology license. The story, titled “Why It’s Illegal To Braid Hair Without A License“, was followed by a backlash of beauty professionals speaking out on the reporters failure to recognize the importance of licensing for the safety of both consumers and professionals.

Jean DeWinter, PBA member and salon director for Hair Crafters in South Bend, Indiana, responded to NPR’s report with, “Imagine what a disappointment it was to hear such a biased report on our industry this morning. Mr. Goldstein did not offer a fair and balanced report, but managed to discredit licensing by essentially calling regulation a ‘monster’ that keeps people from being gainfully employed. The woman who has been ‘braiding’ hair at home illegally should not have been surprised to have seen the backlash from cosmetologists and students who support licensing. It is what keeps people safe. It is what fuels our economy through the legal filing and declaration of income and taxes. Those who choose to cheat our government, work out of their home discredit our industry with the feeble point that we ‘want’ more regulation. No. We want to practice our profession honorably, with integrity, backed by a professional license that we worked hard to achieve. We want to be viewed as professionals and garner respect from the public and our peers.”

Myra Irizarry, PBA Director of Government Affairs, also commented in a written response to NPR that “The practices of the industry are hands on, physical, and personal. Anyone physically touching another person, whether to braid their hair or apply a chemical, should be trained and licensed because the risk and liability to the consumer is too great… Safety standards and professionalism in the beauty industry should never be weakened or compromised. Licensed professionals in the beauty industry should be valued and given the respect they have earned as educated, qualified professionals who pay taxes and contribute to the growth of the economy.”

Hear the full NPR report and comment with your thoughts HERE.

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) supports licensing and regulations for all beauty professionals. To learn more about PBA’s efforts to support state licensing for cosmetologists and to get involved, contact PBA Director of Government Affairs Myra Irizarry at myra@probeauty.org.