Industry Legislation

Strange But True Beauty Laws

Barbers banned from eating onions. Women barred from cutting their hair without their husband’s consent. No selling nail polish on Sundays. These wacky real-life beauty regulations certainly warrant a chuckle or two.

Over the years, communities have banned everything from unusual haircuts for children in school to levels of undress in public. Our ideas of decency have morphed continually and our bodies of laws are in flux as we stretch our freedoms of expression. At first glance, these strange laws may seem totally bogus. A little research yields most are permutations of a real law… either past or present.

All joking aside, it’s a good idea to download a current copy of your city and state’s guidelines. Brush up on what’s changed. If you hear about a seemingly far-fetched regulation, do some research to see where the information originated and how it influences your business. As our body of regulations expands exponentially, the number of compliance issues for salons also expands.

It’s illegal to give your boyfriend a set of nail enhancements in Ohio. This one sprouted from Ohio’s list of prohibited acts, which says, “No person shall practice a branch of cosmetology, for pay, free, or otherwise, without a license.” Therefore, technically, it’s true, but it would also be against the rules to trade a manicure for a handbag if you don’t have a license. States have attempted to make it clear that they don’t tolerate unlicensed beauty businesses.

In Virginia, it’s illegal to have a window in the salon bathroom without a screen. Totally true! This wouldn’t be funny, except that there is no mention of where the window is located (height) or if the window can be opened. This probably started as a safety precaution, but one can’t help but wonder why screens would be unnecessary in other areas of the salon.

Now we know why all those warnings are on our tools. In case you didn’t read the warning against blow-drying your hair while taking a soak, here is an addition to common sense. In Pensacola, Fla., a woman can be fined (only after death) for being electrocuted in a bathtub while using self-beautification utensils. Most states have laws against suicide.

Be careful just how good you make your clients look. In Mobile, Ala., it is illegal to howl at ladies within the city limits. Now, you wouldn’t want to cause a disturbance, would you? While, the bad behavior of men on the street will continue to be prosecuted when it constitutes harassment, assault, or stalking, go ahead and help your clients “primp to perfection” — you are not doing anything wrong.

In Virginia Beach, Va., or Moline, Ill., you had better give really good directions to first-time clients or they could get a traffic ticket. Technically true. Both localities have ordinances against “cruising.” The law was enacted to help alleviate bottlenecks on the strip during the heavy visitor season. It’s against the law to drive by the same place on Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach within 30 minutes.

It’s against the law to fall asleep in salons in Florida and Ohio. Before you start looking for the police to start writing citations to your blissful pedicure clients who may have dozed off, realize that it’s all in the wording. The origin of this permutation of the cosmetology code can be traced to a clause that prohibits any person from sleeping in any room used, wholly or in part, as a salon or school of cosmetology. The laws were designed (in way-back land) to prevent prostitution and residential occupation of salons.

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