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Industry • Best Practice

Eyelash Extension State Requirements: What You Need to Know for Your Business

Opening an eyelash extension business means receiving the proper licenses, buying the right insurance, and obeying safety regulations

Many beauty businesses stand at the intersection of safety and luxury, and while that appeals to a huge number of clients, it also incurs an extra layer of scrutiny from regulators. Across the United States, eyelash extension business owners need to ensure that their salon remains on the right side of those regulations with proper licensing, insurance, sanitation, and labor practices. It’s a lot to keep track of, especially since individual states often apply their own rules to these businesses. If you plan to open an eyelash extension business or own one already, this list of eyelash extension state requirements will help you avoid fines while treating your customers and staff safely and fairly.

Eyelash extension state requirements explained

Before we get into how each state’s requirements differ, we need to set a baseline understanding. The eyelash extensions state requirements California applies to its businesses will serve as our sample. We’ll outline those rules and regulations, then comb through eyelash extension requirements by state, noting where the rest of the country diverges from California’s standard.


Per California law, only a cosmetologist or esthetician with a license awarded by the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology can apply eyelash extensions. This license is distinct from a certificate that might be bestowed by cosmetology or esthetician schools, and must be posted in plain view at your primary workstation. How do you get a license? By attending a board-approved school or going through the apprenticeship program and achieving the 1,000 hours (cosmetologists) or 600 hours (estheticians) required to take the licensing exam. You can also practice skin care to the Board’s definition for the equivalent amount of time in another state and then apply. However you get the hours under your belt, you can apply for a test through the Board’s website. It covers application, removal, limitations, and health and safety topics. Pass, and you’ve got yourself a license.

If you don’t plan to do any eyelash work yourself, you don’t need a cosmetologist or esthetician license to own an eyelash extension business, but you may lose credibility with customers without one. Regardless, you’ll need an Establishment license to open the business. You’ll find the application on the Board’s site.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires businesses maintain an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. California offers no-cost consultation services to help effect safe working conditions.

California businesses must also maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage on either a self-insured basis, through a commercial carrier, or through the State Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund. Speaking of which…


Eyes are very delicate, and no matter how practiced a human is, they’re going to make a mistake eventually. You, your employees, and your business need to be protected if and when that happens. That starts with public liability insurance, which covers compensation claims and legal costs in the event of an injury to a customer, a member of the public, or to someone’s property at your business. Next, you’ll need product liability insurance, which essentially provides the same coverage but for mishaps resulting from products you use rather than the actions of your employees. The last essential piece of insurance is employers’ liability insurance. This protects you and your employees if they’re injured or get sick in the course of work. It pays any compensation awarded against you and legal fees incurred in the process, and protects you against claims made by your employees.

Beyond this core trifecta of policies, common advice is to consult with an insurance specialist before opening up shop. Specialist insurance exists for the lash industry, and a provider will know more about what your business needs.


Most of the eyelash extension state requirements tied to sanitation are straightforward practices you’d likely incorporate even without knowledge of the rules. Everything clean, unused, or disinfected must be stored in closed containers, cabinets, or drawers with labels denoting them as such. That means tools, towels, tweezers — all of it. Liquids, creams, waxes, gels, and other cosmetic preparations should also be kept in clean, closed, labeled containers; powders can be kept in shakers. Disinfectant should be kept in a closed, labeled container big enough to completely immerse any and all tools that require disinfection. You should replace the disinfectant itself according to the manufacturer’s instructions or whenever it becomes cloudy or full of debris.

Before working on a client, all workers must thoroughly wash their hands and disinfect all tools. Clients must wear sanitary neck strips or towels to keep client capes and the like from coming into contact with their neck. Similarly, headrests and treatment tables must be covered with a clean towel, sheet, or paper for each client.

Used single-use tools should be disposed of via closed containers, while soiled towels, gowns, and other reusable cloths should be placed in closed, labeled containers and laundered before re-use. Reusable tools go in their own labeled containers.

Finally, your business must offer a restroom for customers, a place to wash hands with hot and cold water, and potable drinking water.

If all this seems difficult to remember, worry not: the Board offers a handy self-inspection sheet to keep track of it all.

Eyelash extension requirements by state

In most cases, California’s standards for eyelash extensions match up with the rest of the country’s. The Washington state eyelash extension requirements, for example, are the same with regard to licensing. But there are exceptions. Some states, such as Maryland, have no licensing requirements at all. Here’s the full list of licensing and training eyelash extension requirements by state.

For updates on policies and regulations, be sure to periodically check in with the relevant state authority.

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