Las Vegas Sun

April 22, 2019

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Las Vegas makeup artistry teachers challenge state licensing board in lawsuit

Instructors say their constitutional rights have been violated

Two longtime Las Vegas area makeup artistry teachers are challenging the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology’s contention they need to be licensed as cosmetology or aesthetics instructors, saying that requirement is unconstitutional.

Lissette Waugh, who operates the L Makeup Institute in Las Vegas, and Wendy Robin, who opened Studio W in Henderson, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the state board.

Waugh says she has worked as a makeup artist for nearly 20 years and has taught makeup artistry for 10 years. Robin says she has been a makeup artist for 25 years and a makeup artistry instructor for 15 years.

Their lawsuit alleges that "in contrast to cosmetology and aesthetics schools, specialized makeup artistry schools train students to work as freelance makeup artists in the entertainment and retail industries by teaching them advanced color theory, how to use and apply different types of makeup, and how to properly use an airbrush machine, among other skills."

Waugh and Robin point out that makeup artists, who generally work for TV, films and advertising, don’t need a state cosmetology or aesthetics license. So, their lawsuit alleges, it makes no sense to require makeup artistry teachers to be forced to operate as cosmetology schools.

Representatives of the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology contacted both of the teachers within the last two years and told them they could no longer advertise on their schools’ websites that they offered makeup artistry classes. The lawsuit alleges they were told that they could say on their websites only that they sold makeup kits and offered free demonstrations.

The lawsuit says neither of the women wants to run full-fledged cosmetology schools, which would require them to teach courses in hair and skin care that they say are irrelevant to makeup artistry.

The lawsuit says that to turn their schools into cosmetology schools they would have to spend thousands of dollars to install equipment that is useless and irrelevant to makeup artistry. The women also say they would be forced to hire licensed cosmetology instructors to teach the state’s entire cosmetology curriculum, which does not even include makeup artistry.

The two say they face a credible threat of prosecution and enforcement of Nevada’s cosmetology licensing law if they continue to advertise on their websites about offering makeup artistry classes.

Waugh and Robin also allege that requiring them to teach the entire cosmetology curriculum in order to teach makeup artistry — and then not include makeup artistry as part of the state cosmetology curriculum — is a restriction of their First Amendment right of free speech and their 14th Amendment right to equal protection and equal treatment under the law.

They are asking the federal court to find the board’s requirement unconstitutional and grant them attorneys’ fees and court costs.

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