At-home haircuts now legal in Oklahoma; head of State Board of Cosmetology sees potential danger

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OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – A new law went into effect allowing Oklahoma licensed cosmetologists and barbers to offer services inside their house or the customer’s home.

“To just leave it open ended where anyone can go in and go to anybody’s home and do anything they want, that’s a severe risk,” said Sherry G. Lewelling, the Executive Director of the State Board of Cosmetology.

The bill’s primary author, Senator Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow, said he was hoping to help the gig economy when he wrote Senate Bill 850.

“I support the free market, I feel like people should be able to do it,” he said. “We’re talking about these licensed individuals that have to continue and maintain that same quality of service.”

However, the State Board of Cosmetology’s executive director, Sherry G. Lewelling, sees issue with the new law. Especially the part that said, “The services authorized by this section shall be provided privately and shall not be subject to inspection, rules or regulations by the State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.”

“It means trouble,” said Lewelling. “If people are going in and doing chemical services into an individual’s home that’s not set up for that type of service, then it’s a higher risk of damage to that individual.”

Photo goes with story
A hair stylist at work in the metro.

She said the stylists’ chemicals are dangerous.

“Very dangerous! They’re caustic! They can eat human flesh if left unattended,” said Lewelling. “Even to process that chemical, you’re either going to have to bend over the sink or the tub to rinse those chemicals out. It’s all going to go on the face.”

“Those are the type of people who want excessive regulation. They want excessive licensures,” said the senator. “These people are licensed by the state of Oklahoma; they have to go through hundreds and sometimes over a thousand hours of training on cosmetology and barberry and all of these different things.”

Now, Lewelling said she already has her next move laid out.

“We’re going to establish some rules to kind of keep that under control,” she said. “You know, keep the worms in the can.”

The executive director said the board will likely meet in September or October to go over the law and come up with the rules. So far, no word what those will look like.

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