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Judge Asked to Reconsider License Hair Threaders Must Have

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – At the heart of the fight is what attorney Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice calls an ancient form of hair removal. Practitioners use a strand of cotton thread that can be looped and tightened to pull out unwanted eyebrow hairs. Only thing is, the state Board of Cosmetology contends that practice falls within their regulatory powers. And the board is trying to shut down threaders who are not licensed cosmetologists. Keller said it takes 16-hundred hours of training at a state-licensed private school to get such a license, something he said is costly and unnecessary for this discrete practice.

(Our clients would not object to reasonable regulations that were actually related to advancing some sort of public health or safety issue. For example, if there was a regulation that an individual has to use a new piece of thread for each client, which they already do, that would obviously advance some sort of health issue.)

But Donna Aune, the cosmetology board's executive director, said her demand that threaders be licensed is based on state law.

(We have jurisdiction over eyebrow arching, tinting of eyebrows and eyelashes and removing unwanted hair by means other than electrology. And of course, we monitor the practice but also sanitary and safety and disinfection procedures, being a consumer protection agency is what we look for on routine inspections.)

If the dispute over what is cosmetology sounds familiar, it should. A separate case making its way through the courts seeks to determine if the state agency has the power to regulate as pedicures salons where fish nibble the dead skin off of customers' feet. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.