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Reflections: Crunch Time for California

Contact Author Cathy Christensen October 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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Cathy Christensen

Cathy Christensen

As I write this, the Skin Inc. team has just returned from Face & Body® Northern California. And, although I am constantly trying to explain to my husband that there is no tired like trade show tired, I also find myself feeling inspired by the group of California estheticians and suppliers that I had the good fortune of spending multiple days with. As many skin care pros throughout the country know, there has been a lot going on in California that very much affects estheticians’ ability to work successfully. Three of the major issues that have cropped up over the past year include the ability for estheticians to perform LED treatments; the potential passage of a master esthetics license; and a wording change in the scope of practice that caused estheticians to fear for their ability to legally help clients who have acne.

In the weeks the led up to Face & Body, it became very clear to me that communication was either lacking or being misconstrued on both ends—California estheticians and the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. As the conference director of Face & Body, I recommended to the team that we put together a forum at the eleventh hour to provide the opportunity to get these two groups together in a neutral place. The Face & Body team saw the need for this forum, as well, so despite additional hours and stress in an already-stressful time (two weeks before a major trade show), we all decided to take this on.

What a tumultuous two weeks it was! But after all the drama, on Saturday, August 23, at the end of the Advanced Education Conference Program, three members of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, including executive officer Kristy Underwood, along with Deedee Crossett, dean of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology and former board president, took to the stage at the informational Q&A session with the state board. As that room filled up after an amazing day of advanced education, the atmosphere was full of tension. Estheticians and suppliers came out in force, both concerned about estheticians’ scope of practice. Thankfully, although they were worried and confused, they conducted themselves professionally and were able to get the clarification they needed.

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We recorded the entire session, and I encourage you to log on and review it, if not for clarification for your California state license, to witness and gain some understanding about the political process of a cosmetology licensing body. ( This was a candid forum, and the board members were very open about processes and procedures. I couldn’t have been prouder of the passion that California estheticians brought forth when they learned some of their treatment abilities were at stake—I encourage all of you to get active and stay active in your state’s board.

Apathy and laziness will get you nowhere in this instance ... except unemployed. No one is going to send you an e-mail letting you know things are getting real. It is your responsibility to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with your license. So make it a priority to do so.

Until next month,

Cathy Christensen

Cathy Christensen