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In Louisiana, less red tape for eyebrow threaders

July 19, 2018 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Practitioners of the hair-removal technique known as “eyebrow threading” no longer need hundreds of hours of expensive training to work in Louisiana, a victory for a libertarian group that challenged the training and licensing requirements in state court almost two years ago.

A spokesman for the nonprofit Institute for Justice said in an emailed statement Thursday that the group is preparing to dismiss the lawsuit against the state Board of Cosmetology filed on behalf of a suburban New Orleans threading salon.

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Threading — a technique popular in Asia and the Middle East — plucks hair by pulling twisted thread along the skin, rather than tweezing hairs out one at a time.

In Louisiana, eyebrow threading practitioners needed an esthetician’s license, requiring 750 hours of beauty school courses and three licensing exams. Plaintiffs challenging the requirement in a state lawsuit said the beauty school requirement meant anywhere from $6,000 to $13,000 in expenses. They called the requirements unnecessary and unconstitutional.

Cosmetology Board director Steve Young said Thursday that regulations for eyebrow threaders now require only a test and a permit with costs totaling $50. He said the eased requirements for eyebrow threading permits have been in effect for about 60 days. The eased requirement, he said, “is limited to that very small portion of the cosmetology business”

The lawsuit was announced in August 2016 at a New Orleans news conference featuring the company that owned the salon, which was fined and threatened with closure, and an experienced threader who said she was out of work because of the requirements.

“The new rule will remove pointless and burdensome barriers to working as an eyebrow threader in Louisiana,” Renee Flaherty, an Institute for Justice attorney, said in a news release. “The state’s cosmetology board has done the right thing by ending its unconstitutional licensing scheme.”

Plaintiff and salon owner Lata Jagtiani said in 2016 that she couldn’t find licensed estheticians who know how to thread.

“I am just so happy,” the native of Gujarat, India, said in Thursday’s release. “I came to this country because it offered better opportunities to start a business and make my dreams come true. But for years, Louisiana worked to keep me and my employees from making a living. Now we can all get back to doing what we love.”

The Institute for Justice’s lawsuit in Louisiana was filed the year after the group won a similar lawsuit in Texas.