News Story

Michigan Hair Shampooers Must Get A Cosmetology License That Requires 1,500 Hours of Training

But an EMT who helps critical-care patients needs only 194 hours to get a state license

For lack of a state license required to shampoo hair, a Holland woman can’t help a customer who came to her for hair braiding, according to WZZM-TV. Under the terms of the cosmetology license Shaketra Payne would need to shampoo the customer’s hair, a shop owner must put in 1,500 hours of training or complete a two-year apprenticeship, pay $200 in fees and pass an exam.

Payne does not offer cosmetology services and is not a cosmetologist. Instead, she is a natural hair culturist, working in an occupation that does not require a license, unless one plans to teach others. In that case, the person needs 500 hours of training and a license. It is unclear why a hair culturist who wishes to shampoo a client’s hair must obtain a cosmetology license or work under someone who has one, which requires as many training hours as a licensed airline pilot. Those requirements are set by the Legislature.

Hair care professionals have, over the years, been targeted and fined by state regulators for shampooing hair without a license. In several cases, hair braiders have received a cease-and-desist-order after an inspector found a shampoo bowl at the shop.

During professional hair braiding, clean hair is essential. But hair braiding does not deal with life-or-death situations, such as those faced by emergency medical technicians. EMTs need only 194 hours of initial training to get a state license. An EMT also must receive 30 hours of continuing education per year.

Becoming a cosmetology instructor requires 500 hours of training and three years of experience. An esthetician who recommends skin care treatments needs only 400 hours of training to obtain a state license.

An electrologist treats unwanted hair by destroying the growth centers of individual hairs, using a fine needle. This person must complete 400 hours of training to acquire a state license.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs noted that licensing requirements are set by state lawmakers. In a response to an email sent by Michigan Capitol Confidential, the department said:

MCL 339.1207 lists the following qualifications for licensure as a cosmetologist in Michigan:

The department shall issue a cosmetologist license to an individual who fulfills all of the following requirements:
(a) Is not less than 17 years of age.
(b) Is of good moral character.
(c) Has had an education equivalent to the completion of the ninth grade.
(d) Has completed either not less than a 1,500-hour course of study in a licensed school of cosmetology or has served as an apprentice for not less than 2 years in a licensed cosmetology establishment in which hair care services, skin care services, and manicuring services are offered. The training shall include a minimum number of practical applications as prescribed in rules promulgated by the director.
(e) Has passed an examination prescribed by the department and the board.

LARA also noted that cosmetology students can shampoo hair after 350 hours of instruction, provided they are doing so in a licensed cosmetology shop and continue to be enrolled in a school of cosmetology.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a response from LARA. It initially said the department had not responded, which was incorrect.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.