OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Barber shops and hair salons are concerned that three bills at the state capitol are taking aim at their trade. The hair raising changes involve changing the definition of a barber and eliminating licenses for cosmetologist and demonstrators.
“It’s just the most ridiculous thing that we are taking away. Literally, the only thing that legitimizes us to our business is our licensing,” said Austin Hodges, a barber.
Hodges owns Moss and Magnolia Salon in Edmond. She said she does not support three of Republican Senator Michael Bergstrom‘s bills. The senator from Adair said the bills are about “eliminating unnecessary licenses.”
Right now, demonstrators, or people who sell and help customers with makeup and fragrance, have to pass a safety and sanitation test. SB72 would eliminate the need for that license.
SB421 would get rid of the licenses for makeup artists and hair stylists. In a statement, Senator Bergstrom said, “There are only 49 people licensed for this in the state now and it is an unnecessary barrier for employment.”
“This whole thing is about safety and sanitation,” said Hodges.
SB283 strikes out the word “shampooing” from barbering licenses.
In a statement, Bergstrom called this an unnecessary license and said “18 states do not have a license for someone to shampoo hair. In fact, Missouri recently eliminated theirs.”
Bergstrom said he has heard concerns that “the shampoo bill will stop barbers and hair salons from shampooing hair and that will not happen.”
However, Hodges said the bill does not appear to be written that way.
Hodges said there is more to shampooing than just washing hair that can only be taught in schools while obtaining a license.
“We’re massaging down the neck. I’m actually looking for lumps and feeling for lumps,” said Hodges. “I’m also looking for lymphoma, basal cell, melanoma. If I notice that you have a whole bunch of hair loss, I’m talking to you about your thyroid.”
She also wants to remind everyone that barbers work with dangerous chemicals.
“I have a two color weave on someone. It’s burning and itching. Why? Do you have a clue? No, because you have not been taught,” said Hodges. “That also creates a lot of lawsuits and a lot of sanitary issues and a lot of honestly chemical burns.”
Hodges also said having her license allowed her to buy the building for her salon along with the tools needed to do hair.
The bills have been heard in committee.