A bi-partisan push for regulation of the beauty industry in Connecticut proposes licensing requirements for people who work on nails, eyelashes and skin.
Connecticut is the only state in the country that does not license nail technicians.
NBC CT Investigates looked into customer complaints surrounding salons throughout the state. The report received hundreds of viewer comments on Facebook, and some said they were injured at local salons. The reaction on social media caught the attention of freshman state Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford).
“I saw the reporting by NBC on this issue and saw the reaction from folks in my community that this is an issue that’s directly impacted them, and knew I wanted to take action,” Gilchrest said.
Gilchrest and Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) are co-sponsoring the bill that would impact nail technicians, eyelash technicians, and estheticians who perform services like facials and waxing.
The bill also proposes that managers be licensed in the services their businesses offer.
“Licensing would at least put certain standards in place,” Gilchrest said.
Julia Trigila, who owns Scarlett’s Lash Boutique & Spa in Newington, said she frequently receives calls for help from beauty customers who said they were hurt at other salons.
“It happens all the time,” Trigila said. “They’ve sent me pictures and their eyelids look like golf balls.”
Lack of education amongst job-seekers also makes it a struggle for her to make hires, she said. Trigila wants to see new regulation require 600 hours of training for technicians, who she said often don’t understand the impact of lax health and safety practices.
“There’s injuries starting to occur, there’s allergic reactions, and they don’t have the knowledge to understand what is going wrong,” she said.
Self-described fiscal conservative Camillo said he knows expanding state oversight will be unpopular with some of his colleagues, but there’s potential for licensing fees to help pay for the program.
“There’s a possibility this could absolutely be a revenue-plus for the state,” Camillo said.
The details of how a licensing and education program could work have yet to be written, but it is possible current beauty professionals already working in Connecticut could bypass new training requirements by taking an exam.
The bill must go through an often-times long committee process before it can become law, and opposition is sure to surface as specifics are laid out. NBC CT Investigates will continue to follow developments through the legislative session.