california senate building

What SB 803 Means to the Cosmetology & Barbering Industry?

A Statement from Miss Maria

On May 25, 2021, the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology held a board meeting to discuss a controversial state senate bill, SB-803. The bill proposes, among other things, substantial changes to licensing requirements and abolishing the practical exam.

As a licensed cosmetologist for over four decades, I hold myself, my students, and my teachers to extremely high standards. Therefore, any legislation that might diminish our wonderful profession causes me to pause.

Specifically, the proposal to remove license requirements for services like hair cutting, shampooing, etc. seriously undermines our profession. From the client’s perspective, it will become difficult for them to differentiate a trained professional from an untrained worker. This change is supported by several large chain salons to reduce their costs. However, the net effect will drive down earnings across the industry. This is aside from the significant health and safety concerns of unlicensed individuals working on clients at a time when our industry is just beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

Furthermore, the removal of the State Board practical exam as a licensing requirement is another step in the wrong direction. I’m a firm believer in the theory and practical aspects of training and testing. First, we work in a hands-on industry, and demonstrating practical competency is extremely important. We don’t issue driver's licenses in California to people without seeing them behind the wheel. I think it’s important to ask professionals in our industry to demonstrate their expertise beyond the written test. Additionally, I’ve had many students over the years that excel in practical ability but can struggle with written communication and interpreting tests.

Additionally, reducing the required training hours for Cosmetology and Barbering can have a significant impact on our most vulnerable student populations. The currently proposed change in hours will reduce the money available in Federal Pell Grant money. This will disproportionately impact the household in most need of aid.

Despite these major concerns, the bill isn’t completely without merit. The proposed addition of eyelash extensions to the scope of esthetics license is an overdue and welcome change. However, I believe that SB-803 is so flawed that it shouldn’t be amended. Instead, these rightful changes for estheticians should be made in new legislation with legitimate industry input.  

The most important message I want to get out about SB-803 is to stay informed and voice your opinion. As cosmetologists, barbers, estheticians, manicurists, and those who aspire to these professions, let’s join together and share our perspectives.


Miss Maria


Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy

See below resources to get started.

SB-803 Bill Text

Professional Beauty Federation of California - SB-803 Information

California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Board Meeting - May 25, 2021

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