Brave Lawmakers Battle the Scourge of Unlicensed Shampooing


Riffing off President Barack Obama's recent comment that it's time to promote economic growth by eliminating laws that "are just plain dumb," The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Simon proposes the elimination of some remarkably stupid occupational licensing regulations. As Simon writes:

Texas, for instance, requires hair-salon "shampoo specialists" to take 150 hours of classes, 100 of them on the "theory and practice" of shampooing, before they can sit for a licensing exam. That consists of a written test and a 45-minute demonstration of skills such as draping the client with a clean cape and evenly distributing conditioner. Glass installers, or glaziers, in Connecticut—the only state that requires such workers to be licensed—take two exams, at $52 apiece, pay $300 in initial fees and $150 annually thereafter.

California requires barbers to study full-time for nearly a year, a curriculum that costs $12,000 at Arthur Borner's Barber College in Los Angeles. Mr. Borner says his graduates earn more than enough to recoup their tuition, though he questions the need for such a lengthy program. "Barbering is not rocket science," he said. "I don't think it takes 1,500 hours to learn. But that's what the state says."

Read the whole story here. Read Reason's coverage of occupational licensing abuse here.

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  1. Gee, and here I thought the “shampoo specialists” were the women too dumb to be hairdressers. I had no idea they were such highly trained professionals.

  2. You beat me to it! Aargh!


    “Occupations prefer to be licensed because they can restrict competition and obtain higher wages,” said Morris Kleiner, a labor professor at the University of Minnesota. “If you go to any statehouse, you’ll see a line of occupations out the door wanting to be licensed.”

    The next best thing after being unionized (for a rent-seeker), is: being licensed!

    1. It’s not being licensed that is so great, it’s being grandfathered in after a license is required for your occupation.

      You never did and never have to do all the bs required for the license, but your potential competition does.

      1. Re: Sarcasmic,

        It’s not being licensed that is so great, it’s being grandfathered in after a license is required for your occupation.

        Yep, that’s it.

  3. Um, I shampooed my own hair this morning. I didn’t know! Why didn’t anyone tell me!

    1. No, no. Its only for other people’s hair. See, people are so conditioned to washing their own hair that it takes 150 hours of training to overcome the conditioning and allow them to shampoo someone else’s hair.

    2. We’ll be right over. Make sure your dog is in plain sight.

  4. I never use shampoo on my wigs; only real poo. Only the best pop for my wigs!

  5. You fiend, Pro Lib! You’re stealing food off some poor shampooer’s table.

    And won’t somebody think of the student loan consultants?

    It’s a slaughterhouse!

    1. I smell a stimulus coming….

      $500 billion to create/save the shampooers!

  6. I read that as “shampooning.”

  7. Multiply this horseshit by 27 million and you get some idea why this country is so fucked up. Just another of a nearly infinite number of examples why we don’t have anything like a free market economy. It’s all about protecting what you have by excluding others – from the billionaires on down to the bleached blond filing your nails.

    1. Re: me,
      But… but… but me: Unbridled! Unregulated! Anarchism! Dogs and cats fucking each other!

      You can’t have that!

      1. Why not?

  8. in PA a General Practitioner can perform illegal late term abortions, on a sliding scale, leave the remains in the basement and frig. (where unlicensed workers keep their lunch), have numerous complaints (including a hand delivered to state authorities by a doctor) and was only investigated someone noticed the “clinic” had the third highest prescriptions in the state for Oxycontin…
    but, boy “we sure have clean and well run hair salons.”

  9. Compare that to the requirements for being licensed to drive a 2000 pound vehicle through a school zone at the age of 16.

  10. Because, y’know, if we don’t license these people… we’ll end up just like Somalia.

  11. Although I tend to be against licensing requirements and regulations, I would like to see some strict licensing requirements and coursework for those in the pickling business.

    I mean, it might get rectal off of H&R for the next 30 weeks, which would be a plus.

  12. Sorry, you can’t say Shampoo without linking to this video…

  13. You laugh, but I know some teenagers whose mother recently suffered a serious neck injury from a salon shampooing.

  14. Apparently Mr. Root and many of the commentators here are simply being immature, or so says Alain de Botton from the BBC:

    “It is perhaps in the end a sign of immaturity to object too strenuously to sometimes being treated like a child. Why does the idea of a nanny state always have to be so terrifying? The libertarian obsession with freedom ignores how much of our original childhood need for constraint endures within us, and therefore how much we stand to learn from certain paternalistic strategies. It is not much fun, nor ultimately even very freeing, to be left alone to do entirely as one pleases.”

    (And yes, if you’re wondering, the entire article is just as insipid as that final paragraph.)

    1. Christ Almighty, that article is brain-damaged.

      We don’t currently live in a “free” society in the true sense of the term. Every day, our minds are assaulted by commercial messages that reach us from all sides. The whole billion-pound-a-year advertising industry runs counter to any assertion that we’re currently free and un-nudged as it stands.

      So, if someone speaks to you, to suggest an idea to you, you’re not free? This is a novel meaning of the word “free”…

    2. “paternalistic strategies”
      Nancy, where’d you put the Vaseline?!

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