The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) protects and educates consumers who seek barbering, cosmetology, and electrology services. The BBC also regulates the individuals who provide the services and the establishments in which the services are performed.

Chapter 10, Article 1, Section 7312 of the Business and Professions Code defines BBC's legal mandate. It consists of the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Adopt rules and regulations in aid or furtherance of this chapter in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
  • Conduct and administer examinations of applicants for licensure.
  • Issue licenses to qualified applicants.
  • Discipline persons who have been determined to be in violation of this chapter or the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter.
  • Adopt rules governing sanitary conditions and precautions to be employed as are reasonably necessary to protect the public health and safety in establishments, schools approved by the board, and in the practice of any profession provided for in this chapter. The rules shall be adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Title 2 of the Government Code, and shall be submitted to the State Department of Public Health and approved by that department prior to filing with the Secretary of State. A written copy of all those rules shall be furnished to each licensee.
  • Offer and make available all written materials provided to licensees and applicants in English, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The BBC licenses and regulates individuals and establishments in seven licensing categories:

  • Cosmetologists
  • Barbers
  • Manicurists (nail care)
  • Estheticians (skin care)
  • Electrologists (permanent hair removal)
  • Apprentices
  • Establishments (places where Board regulated services are provided)


BBC ensures that applicants for licensure have completed the necessary training and passed a written and practical examination. The examination requires the individual to demonstrate that they possess the knowledge and skills required to protect the public’s health and safety. After successfully passing the examination, individuals are issued the applicable license by the BBC.

The BBC does not license schools of cosmetology, barbering, or electrology. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) is responsible for licensing private schools. The BBC does, however, have statutory authority to specify what curricula will be followed by these schools for any course of study that will qualify a student, upon graduation, to take the state licensing examination. Schools must also obtain the BBC approval based on specific requirements.


The BBC Enforcement Unit enforces applicable laws, rules, and regulations and takes appropriate action against harmful practitioners. During 2018-2019, the BBC received 4,871 complaints involving gross negligence and/or incompetence; unsanitary conditions in establishments and schools of barbering, cosmetology, and electrology; unlicensed activities; and misrepresentation or false advertising of services. Each complaint is investigated and disciplinary action is taken if appropriate.


The BBC's health and safety rules are enforced through the BBC's Inspection Unit which conducts random and targeted health and safety inspections of establishments and schools.

During 2018-2019, the BBC conducted 10,794 inspections and issued 15,349 citations with fines for health and safety violations.