Lawmakers deregulated parts of FL’s beauty industry. Should clients, and the governor, be concerned?

By: - May 27, 2020 7:00 am

Hair stylist’s work. Credit: Kristin Dariotis Klawinski, a Tallahassee-based cosmetologist and hair stylist.

Kristin Dariotis Klawinski is a Tallahassee-based cosmetologist and hair stylist. Like many hairdressers, barbers and other salon professionals, she reopened her doors recently, using safety precautions and social distancing.

The biggest change to her day-to-day life?  A heightened focus on sanitation and disinfecting between clients, said Klawinski.

 “I clean my whole room down,” Klawinski said. “My tools, my implements, everything that could have been touched–all gets cleaned in between every client.” She also gives herself more time between appointments to do extra cleaning needed to keep her and her clients safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, as salons and barbers get back into the workforce with stricter sanitation practices than before, a bill passed by the Florida House and Senate will work to deregulate the licensing processes for these professions.

With some services completely deregulated, some of the bill’s changes could risk proper sanitation practices.

The Florida House and Senate passed House Bill 1193 this past session. Now it’s up to Gov. Ron DeSantis to decide on the legislation. Should he sign it, the licensing process for various professions and occupations in Florida will require fewer education and training hours. Some practices will no longer require licenses at all.

As the Florida Phoenix previously covered, the bill requires barbers to complete only 900 education-hours, as opposed to the current standards of 1,200 education hours. The bill also entirely removes the license requirement for hair braiding and hair wrapping.

In both occupations, professionals are concerned with how these cuts in education hours will affect the quality of service and sanitation practices. Various services within the cosmetology profession will face similar cuts due to this bill.

HB 1193 states that “a license or registration is not required for a person whose occupation or practice is confined solely to applying polish to fingernails and toenails.” The same goes for make-up application.

While these services may seem simple enough, Klawinski is concerned about improper sanitation practices in either of these services if thorough education is no longer necessary.

“If I am applying makeup, and my brushes are not being sanitized and cleaned in between clients, that can cause spreading of infections,” she said. “Same with polishing nails. If you’re not using any implements that can cause danger, you’re still dealing with the potential of infections and spreading of bacteria if there is not proper cleansing of the fingers or toes before polish application.”

The bill also reduced training hours in safety and sanitation for several specialties, including facial and nail specialists.

It will also cut down on continuing education requirements for current cosmetology license holders. Klawinski agrees the continuing education process can be improved.

Currently, cosmetologists must answer questions online or from a packet regularly to maintain the requirement of continuing education. The intent is to update and refresh their knowledge of certain health topics, such as HIV prevention and health code changes.

However, Klawinski notes that cosmetologists that do not want to sit and read the information in the packet will skim through the material to quickly find the answers.

“The most important parts are HIV, sanitation and disinfection. Chemical stuff. Those are important to review,” she said. “But doing them through the packet, the way they have it now, is not a very effective way of making sure people are staying up to date with information.”

For cosmetologists, HB 1193 will reduce the requirement of 16 hours in continuing education to 10 hours. Klawinski believes the reduction will not amount to much change.

“If they cut the hours down to ten hours, it really doesn’t make a huge difference, because most of it is coming through the packets,” she said.

Sanitation education is uniquely important in the various paths of the beauty industry. The bill allows some salon services to be performed outside of a licensed salon. Basic hairstyling and cutting as well as some nail services could be performed at another location.

According to Klawinski, this could be a health concern depending on where these services take place.

“There are not a lot of industries that have physical contact with a client or a customer. Because of that, if I am not performing that in a safe, healthy, sanitized environment–you can be spreading illnesses,” she said.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.