Jackson, miss. – Several types of niche beauty service providers can now offer their services in Mississippi without being forced to pay for expensive courses that do not teach them how to do their jobs. Under a newly enacted state law, eyebrow threats, eyelash technicians, and makeup artists can open their stores without getting a beautician license.

The new law was sparked by a series of lawsuits against the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology, including one filed in 2019 by the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) and eyebrow threatener Dipa Bhattarai. That letter was threatened by MJI and eyelash technician Amy Burks, threatening litigation in 2020 and a lawsuit by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and makeup artist Karrece Stewart in 2020.

“Our clients have taken legal action to defend one of their most important constitutional rights, the right to earn an honest living in our state without being subjected to senseless and onerous government regulations,” said Aaron Rice, director of MJI. “Threaders, whip technicians and makeup artists do not need extensive training to become a beautician. They offer safe and easy services. Now, these niche beauty providers don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to take hundreds of hours of classes unrelated to their practice. “

Thread eyebrows

Threading is a very safe and easy technique that only allows threaders to use twisted cotton thread that acts like a mini-lasso to remove stray hair, most commonly around the eyebrows. Threading originated in South Asian countries centuries ago, but is growing in popularity in the United States as it is an elegant, simple, and relatively painless form of hair removal.

In 2013, Mississippi law was changed to require threats to be licensed as estheticians. Before taking the license exam, which does not test the applicant’s knowledge of threading, a potential threat would need to complete 600 hours of classroom instruction at a cost of up to $ 12,000. And worse, not a single hour of this instruction teaches threading.

Dipa Bhattarai is an international student who has been busy most of her life. Seeing an opportunity to use her skills to make the American Dream come true, she opened a threading studio with locations in Columbus and Starkville and hired four people. But the cosmetics authority closed it because it did not have a beautician license.

“I am so grateful to be able to get back into business without receiving an entirely unnecessary license,” said Bhattarai. “I can now focus on my business and education without worrying about the government closing me down.”

Eyelash extensions

Eyelash extensions are available in self-adhesive strips in most retail stores. In recent years, however, many customers have started paying eyelash technicians to apply individual false eyelashes, resulting in a more natural look. This is a time consuming and tedious process, but it is safe and easy to learn.

Mississippi law doesn’t specifically require eyelash technicians to obtain a beautician license. In 2019, however, the Cosmetics Authority determined that the use of eyelash extensions falls within their remit as the face needs to be beautified. This finding meant that eyelash technicians also had to obtain beautician licenses, although the required instruction also did not provide or test eyelash extension applications.

Amy Burks opened an eyelash extension lounge in Madison in 2013 and hired four people. In 2019, the Cosmetics Authority gave her a quote for running an unlicensed salon, saying she and all of her employees would have to quit work and attend training.

“I’m so excited that this bill was passed,” said Burks. “My team and I have put everything into this business for the past eight years. To think that everything would be taken away was so heartbreaking. “

Makeup artist

Applying makeup also requires a beautician license, although hundreds of millions of people apply makeup every day without formal training and makeup lessons are only a very small part of the required lessons, which mainly focus on skin care and hair removal.

Karrece Stewart opened a makeup business in Fulton. She teaches make-up techniques and would like to be able to apply make-up for clients too. However, this would require a license.

“I started my own makeup business, Get Glam Beauty, to help make my dreams come true and give women the confidence they need to see themselves differently,” said Stewart. “Mississippi’s unconstitutional esthetician licensing requirements have been a barrier to realizing that dream. With this change, I can now grow my business, better care for my family, and use my skills to improve the beauty of women.”

House Bill 1312

The new law House Bill 1312was negotiated with the Mississippi Attorney General by MJI attorneys and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP before being passed by Mississippi Legislature and enacted by Governor Tate Reeves on Friday, April 9, 2021. The new law took effect immediately.

The new law prohibits the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology from requiring any type of cosmetics license for anyone whose practice is limited to threading, applying eyelash extensions, or making-up art. It also prevents the board from imposing fines, civil or criminal penalties on unlicensed threats, whip technicians, or makeup artists, or regulating the exercise of these services.

Everett White, an attorney with Sones & White Law Firm, PLLC, served as an MJI volunteer attorney for Ms. Bhattarai.

Andy Taggart, founding partner of Taggart, Rimes & Graham law firm, served as a volunteer MJI attorney for Ms. Burks.

The Mississippi Justice Institute is a not-for-profit center for constitutional litigation and the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.