Should cosmetology be regulated in Oklahoma?

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We all trust the hair or nail salon we’re going to uses sanitary practices and knows what they’re doing.

Currently, all salons are inspected two times a year.

But, a national organization, The Institute for Justice, is trying to change that – pushing for many industries, including cosmetology, to be deregulated.

“They wouldn’t have to go to school at all. They would just go out and whack on somebody’s hair I guess until they get good,” said Don Duncan, owner of Duncan Bros. School of Hair Design.

Duncan said his industry needs regulation.

“They could get burnt, chemical services, get burnt, leave it on too long, not watching it, perms, we’ve got a perm down there,” Duncan said.

But, there’s the push from the national organization, The Institute for Justice, to do away with regulation in many industries, including cosmetology.

They said, in Oklahoma, the 1,500 hours required for a cosmetology license is nearly 10 times the hours required to become an EMT.

“Our big concern is MRSA, nail herpes, eye herpes, feliculitis, ringworm of the scalp. I mean the list could go on and on of the health risks related to unsanitary practices,” said Sherry Lewelling, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.

Lewelling said she’s encouraging all their members to reach out to legislators and urge them to keep the industry regulated.

“It would open up the door for more diseases and disorders, the spread of that and it can spread quickly,” Lewelling said.

“There’s not really any information on occupational licensing,” said Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn Houston.

McLawhorn Houston has been heading a task force over the last year taking a look at the issue.

She said they will be recommending a central database for all licensing requirements.

They’ve also come up with a blueprint, questions for lawmakers to ask when deciding if an industry should be deregulated.

“It will be up to the policy makers to decide if there are too many licenses, if there are not enough licenses or if there are other forms of regulation that may be less anti-competitive,” McLawhorn Houston said.

A representative with the Institute for Justice said, in this day and age of social media, the only regulation needed is reputation.

The final report from the task force looking into licensing in Oklahoma is due out next month.

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