Keune Stands Behind Professional Licensing

By | December 1st, 2017

A growing number of governors, state legislators and libertarian groups want to deregulate the professional beauty industry. In fact, in about 50% of the states across the country, legislators are proposing reducing the number of hours or eliminating professional licensing entirely from professions ranging from cosmetology and barbering to EMTs to private detectives. Cosmetology programs currently range from 1,000 hours in New York and Massachusetts to 1,500 hours in Ohio to 2,300 hours in Oregon. Hours vary for states that have separate barbering, nails and esthetics programs.

While other companies are focused on their stock price, Keune Haircosmetics North America is one of the only product companies supporting beauty professionals in their initiatives to protect professional licensing by attending meetings, creating awareness and urging beauty professionals to join in the fight. Jamezell Ottinger, Keune’s director of special markets, has been front and center in the fight to preserve our professionalism.

“CEO George Keune and President Andrew Biazis have emphasized that Keune is committed to protecting professional licensing for cosmetology, barbering and related specialties,” explains Ottinger. “As a result, I have been attending the congressional committee meetings and voicing our stance that licensed professionals protect the health and safety of the consumer.”

One example is Florida, where House Bill 15 and Senate Bill 526 propose cutting hours for licensure in half for barbering, nails and esthetics programs. (Cosmetology is not being discussed this session.) More than 100,000 individuals work in salons in Florida. Not only has Ottinger flown to Florida to support schools and salons during strategy sessions and meetings with legislators, he’s encouraged Keune’s distributor, Life of Riley Salon Supply, to help.

“I have personally met with State Senator Brandes, who is the author of the Senate Bill with a local salon owner, Mike Peters, from Salon West,” says Kelly Huether, CEO of Life of Riley Salon Supply. “We had nearly an hour alone with the Senator and were able to give our personal perspectives on how this legislation can cost Florida jobs and be a public safety risk.  We believe we made progress and the Senator promised to come visit our businesses in December to get a better perspective on our concerns.”

Here are a few of the talking points being presented to Florida legislators in support of maintaining licensing standards:

  • Barbers work with razors, blades and harsh chemicals
  • Full Specialists/Nail Techs work to avoid fungus and infectious diseases.
  • Makeup Artists must be acutely cognizant of skin contraindications.
  • Skin Care specialists are often the first line of defense in identifying melanoma and other life-threatening diseases and often deal with chemicals that can peel off layers of the skin.
  • Students are trained to understand the risk of blood-borne pathogens, as well as proper sanitation and sterilization procedures.

Going forward, Keune will continue to share updates. Here’s what you can do in your state:

  1.    Be informed. Search and track the progress of legislation in your state at
  2.    Share the information with other beauty professionals and your clients, and ask for their support.
  3.    Show up to meet with your state and federal legislators and their staff in their offices. Invite them into your business. Write letters to educate them about the important issues impacting the future of our industry.

If you are in Florida and would like to help protect professional licensing, please contact Mez Varol at

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