In California, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) and the California Massage Therapy Council regulate the beauty industry.

These lists are the regulated and unregulated services in the state:

Non-Regulated Beauty Service in California, USA:

Regulated Beauty Services in California, USA


Barbers need to complete 1,000 training hours of theory and practical skills at any approved school.

The state also recognises any of the following as a qualification for the examination:

  • Completed apprenticeship as approved by the board.
  • Practised barbering outside of California for some time, at least equivalent to the requirements of the training in the state. Each 3 months of work is equivalent to 100 training hours.
  • Has a cosmetologist license and completed a barbering course.
  • Completed a cosmetology course and a barbering program.
  • Finished comparable military training based on the V-MET records.


Hairstylists are expected to finish 600 hours of training at an accredited school or have practised outside the state for a period equivalent to the requirements of the training. Every 3 months of hairstyling practice is equivalent to 100 training hours.

Facialist / Waxing Technician / Lash Technician / Makeup Artist

These professions are under the scope of estheticians or cosmetologists, which each has multiple services.

For estheticians, they must complete a skin care course or training of 600 hours at any approved institution. They can also be practising estheticians from another state with years or months of experience equivalent to the training requirements. For every 3 months of work experience, there are 100 hours equivalent. Also, estheticians who completed their apprenticeship can take the examination as well.

Cosmetologists should complete 1,000 training hours at an approved college or institution to qualify for the licensure exam.

They can also take the examination if they have any of the following:

  • Practised cosmetology for some time, which is equivalent to the training hours required in the state. Every 3 months of practice has 100 hours of training credits.
  • Has a barbering license and completed a cosmetology program.
  • Completed barbering and cosmetology training.
  • Finished apprenticeship in the state.

Nail Technician

Nail technicians should complete a 400-hour training program at an approved institution. The state also accepts those who are practising nails in another state with an equivalent number of months or years of experience as the training hours to challenge the exam. Every 3 months of work is equivalent to a 100-hour training credit. Those who completed apprenticeship training in California can also take the licensure test.

More details about the licensing requirements of the above regulated services are found in this source:

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists are regulated based on the Massage Therapy Act 2023. They can legally work as professionals in the state if they completed 500 training hours from any council-approved school. They are also expected to pass a competency assessment for massage and bodywork.

The council can also provide certification to massage therapists from another state who have the same qualifications in California as stated in the act. More information about certifications is provided in Section 4604:

Non-Regulated Beauty Service in California, USA

Spray Tanning Technician

Spray tanning technicians can enjoy earning in the state without going through the process of meeting the licensing requirements. The industry is not yet regulated in the state, so taking online and in-person training locally or internationally is accepted.