Nevada Makeup

Waugh v. Nevada State Board of Cosmetology
Nevada Makeup Artists Fight for Their Right to Teach

IJ Client Lisette Waugh

Institute for Justice client Lissette Waugh. 

Video: Gov't to makeup artists: Put down the blush, or we'll shut you DOWN

In Nevada, teaching others how to apply makeup without a government-issued license can subject you to up to $2,000 in fines.

Lissette Waugh and Wendy Robin are makeup artists with over 40 of years of combined experience. Lissette opened L Makeup Institute and Wendy opened Studio W in order to train the next generation of makeup artists in the art and artistry of applying makeup for the entertainment and retail industries. But the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology has threatened to silence the two entrepreneurs by shutting down their businesses.

Nevada law recognizes that makeup artists are different from cosmetologists—who focus on cutting and styling hair, cleansing and caring for the skin, and manicures—by exempting them from the state’s cosmetology licensing scheme. Yet both women could face fines of up to $2,000 for doing nothing more than teaching makeup artistry without a cosmetology instructor’s license and not operating their makeup artistry schools as state-licensed schools of cosmetology.

Makeup artistry includes the theory, technique and application of makeup for the retail and entertainment industries. Makeup artistry encompasses a broad range of skills and techniques not taught in cosmetology schools including, but not limited to, advanced color theory, applying different types of stage and high-definition film makeup, and the use of an airbrush machine.

Anyone can practice makeup artistry in Nevada and anyone should be free to teach it. Wendy and Lissette do not teach cosmetology and their classes do not satisfy any of Nevada’s required coursework to obtain a cosmetology license. The Board’s decision to force Lissette and Wendy to obtain cosmetology instructor’s licenses means they would need to spend hundreds of dollars and an additional 700 hours of training in subjects that have nothing to do with makeup artistry. They would also have to convert their schools into full-scale cosmetology schools, meaning that they would have to teach irrelevant courses on things like hair coloring, facials and manicuring and install useless equipment like shampoo bowls, facial chairs and manicure tables.

The government cannot require teachers to spend hundreds of hours in a classroom learning skills that have nothing to do with what they teach. Nor can it impose its mandatory curriculum and equipment requirements on schools that do not teach cosmetology.

That is why on June 19, 2012, Lissette and Wendy teamed up with the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm that protects the rights of entrepreneurs, to file a federal constitutional lawsuit against the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology. They seek to vindicate their constitutional rights to teach and to earn an honest living by operating their businesses as they see fit without having to comply with an arbitrarily applied government licensing scheme.



Essential Background


Backgrounder on IJ's Nevada Makeup Case

Client Photo

Latest Release: Judge Peels Back Hair Care Regulations For Nevada Makeup Artistry Instructors and Schools; Leaves Skin Care Scheme Intact (August 6, 2014) Client Video
Launch Release: Nevada Makeup Artists Putting a New Face on Liberty (June 19, 2012)

Press Conference Video from launch

 Legal Briefs and Decisions
IJ's Complaint (June 19, 2012) 
District Court Opinion (August 6, 2014)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


June 19, 2012

Court Filed:

Federal District Court for the District of Nevada 

Decision(s): District Court decision striking down haircare regulations, but leaving skincare regulations in place
Current Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit



On appeal
Next Key Date: TBD

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

none available

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Lawmakers want to reform Nevada occupational licensing laws Watchdog News Networks (January 6, 2015)
Article: Las Vegas Makeup Artists Sue Nevada; KXNT-AM Las Vegas  June 19, 2012
Article: Cosmetology school owners sue state Las Vegas Review Journal  June 20, 2012

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