• If he is licensed as a barber, does that also license him in cosmetology? What she was seeking could have been grounds for investigation and suspension of his license for performing a service governed by a different profession and state issued license.

    • “What she was seeking could have been grounds for investigation and suspension of his license for performing a service governed by a different profession and state issued license.”

      Do you have any factual basis for this assertion. There is nothing in the linked article that even remotely suggests she was asking for anything more than a basic hair cut.

      • Matt, see my partial answer, below. As to a “basic hair cut”, the term does not appear to be defined by statute, and thus is subject to agency interpretation.

        Statute does define “Barbering” as “To shave or trim the beard; to cut, shape, trim or blend the hair with the proper tools or instruments designed for this purpose; to shape the eyebrows, to give facial and scalp massaging, facial and scalp treatment, with any preparations made for this purpose, either by hand or by mechanical or electrical appliances; to singe and shampoo the hair or apply any makes of hair cream, hair lotions or hair tonics; to dye, color or bleach the hair and to perform any service on a wig or hairpiece; to style and to render hair straightening, hair processing, hair weaving, hair waving and curling, with such methods as: manual, mechanical, chemical or electrical with the proper devices or proper chemical compounds developed and designed for this purpose. The term shall not include any or all of the above services when performed by a member of one’s immediate household. ”

        Also, a cosmetologist who seeks to be a barber as well must receive training as follows:

        50 hours – State barber laws, rules and regulations
        330 hours – Haircutting, hairstyling and hairpieces
        240 hours – Shaving and various uses of the straight razor
        50 hours – Honing and stropping
        25 hours -Manager-barber instructions, instruments, shop management, orientation and preparation for related examination
        Total hours of credit 695

        While 290 hours are devoted to the straight razor and its care, Cosmetologists need 330 hours in haircutting, hairstyling, and hairpieces to become licensed barbers.

        The reverse is similar – a barber who seeks license as a cosmetologist must complete 695 hours of training (poorly defined in my opinion) as “Cosmetology Skills— Cognitive and Manipulative” for 600 hours, the rest devoted to professional practices (15 hours) and “Sciences” (the remainder). Had the Board considered Cosmetology haircutting to be fully duplicitive of the Barber’s trade, they might have chosen to make licensed barbers undergo only the hours training for hairbraiding, nail technology, and esthetics – which they break out in the section immediately following – yet they chose not to do so.

        The clear implication being that the board did not consider a barber’s training in haircutting entirely equivalent to a cosmetologist’s.

        Cosmetology, btw, defined as
        “(i) Any or all work done for compensation by any person, which work is generally and usually performed by cosmetologists, which work is for the embellishment, cleanliness and beautification of the human hair, such as arranging, braiding, dressing, curling, waving, permanent waving, cleansing, cutting, singeing, bleaching, coloring, pressing, or similar work thereon and thereabout, and the removal of superfluous hair, and the massaging, cleansing, stimulating, manipulating, exercising, or similar work upon the scalp, face, arms or hands, or the upper part of the body, by the use of mechanical or electrical apparatus or appliances or cosmetics, preparations, tonics, antiseptics, creams or lotions, or by any other means, and of manicuring the nails, which enumerated practices shall be inclusive of the term cosmetology but not in limitation thereof.

        (ii) The term also includes the acts comprising the practice of nail technology, natural hair braiding and esthetics. ”

        Given the regulatory uncertainty in the above statutes, to say nothing of the relevant board interpretations, I can not join you in assuming that a “basic hair cut” would not run afoul of the unlicensed practice statutes. Barber Interval, in the news article to which Reason linked, claimed he didn’t even have the equipment to properly do women’s hair in his shop. That is suggestive, though not dispositive, that something more than a “simple hair cut” was desired.

  • Partial answer here –


    and here:


    Apparently, Barber licenses are from the State Board of Barber Examiners, while Cosmetology licenses are from the Pennsylvania Board of Cosmetology. Having a current PA Barber License allows licensing in Cosmetology as well with only an additional 700 hours of course work.

    So, depending upon the service desired, it is entirely possible that honoring the lady’s demand would have been a violation of PA licensing laws. That said, the fine for a first time violation of practicing without a license is only $500… Apparently, the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs feels it is more important to protect its citizens against discrimination in the form of a professional indicating he is unable (as defined by the State Board of Cosmetology) to perform the requested task than to protect its citizens from persons with no licensing of any kind at all. That the policies are largely contradictory, yet simultaneously advanced by independent arms of the same state agency, seems to trouble few.

  • “That the policies are largely contradictory, yet simultaneously advanced by independent arms of the same state agency, seems to trouble few.”

    1. The contradiction is probably quite deliberate.
    2. I doubt that there are more than a handful of people outside of the government that are even aware of the contradiction.

  • This is probably too simple but I’ve always though it someone demands you perform a service you don’t want to do for whatever reason (cutting hair, baking a cake, photograph a wedding, whatever), just do a lousy ass job, apologize and refuse payment for not meeting their expectations. It won’t happen more than once or twice and you won’t have to worry with it any longer.

    They may want to beat you into doing it but they can’t beat you into being good at it.

  • Can’t they still sue for discrimination stating that you offered only subpar service against their class and noone else?
    If it is a substantially different service, you can state that you don’t have training in it, but as we seen in these lawsuits, that’s not an excuse they will accept.

    Besides, there will certainly also be a reputation hit for when you do a bad job at something. Probably much less than a discrimination suit, but a reason why many people might refuse to do a bad job.