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Local Beauticians File Lawsuit Against Minnesota Board Of Cosmetology Over New License Requirements

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some Minnesota beauty entrepreneurs are in quite a bind. They've been ordered to stop their wedding hair and make-up businesses by the Board of Cosmetology.

As Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield explains, it's because of a newly enforced law some are calling "completely unfair."

According to the, three out of four brides get pros to handle hair and makeup. Melanie Rivers, of St. Paul, is one of them.

"It's nice to be invited, to be a part of someone's biggest day of their life up until that point," Rivers said.

Whether it's a wedding, a birthday party or gala, Rivers travels to people's homes or event venues doing makeup and hair.

"It can totally elevate their confidence and just how they feel about themselves," Rivers said. "That's one of my favorite things about this industry, just kind of boosting someone's self-image a little bit."

But her beauty business is in jeopardy after what she says was an ugly revelation. Starting in late 2017 her peers started getting cease and desist orders from the Minnesota Board of Cosmetology.

"To be honest, I don't think most people really understood the regulations," Rivers said.

The board's rules say regulated makeup services must be performed within a licensed salon. But there are exceptions: no license is needed to do makeup for theatre, television, film or photography shoots.

"If I do bridal hair and makeup for a photoshoot that's going to be published in a bridal magazine, that's not illegal. I'm not working illegally. But if I do a wedding, without those licensures, I'm working illegally," Rivers said.

Basically, Rivers can do photoshoots but she can't do wedding or special event services under current law.

She is a licensed beautician but she would need 4,000 more hours of salon manager training to keep doing her job, which could take years.

"Why should we have to now jump through all these hoops and pay thousands of dollars to be able to do what we were already doing over here," Rivers said.

So, she and other stylists have filed a lawsuit with the Board of Cosmetology.

The Board of Cosmetology told WCCO because of the pending lawsuit they have no comment.

"They are already saying we can do this stuff, we can't just do it this particular avenue and it doesn't make sense to any of us," Rivers said.

The beauty artists are also pushing legislation state Sen. Karin Housley sponsored last session that would allow artists like Rivers to continue doing private events.

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