October 4, 2018

Two years ago, IJ sued Louisiana’s cosmetology board on behalf of eyebrow threaders who were forced to obtain an expensive, unnecessary esthetician’s license to practice their craft. Now IJ’s clients—and threaders like them across the state—are back to work doing what they love.

That is because the board, facing the prospect of a long and losing legal battle, created a specialty permit for eyebrow threaders that simply requires registration with the state and a 15-question test on sanitation techniques. This is a far cry from the 750 hours of cosmetology school and thousands of dollars required to obtain an esthetician’s license under the old law.

Eyebrow threading is an ancient grooming technique that originated in South Asia and the Middle East. The technique is simple: A single piece of cotton thread is used to lift unwanted facial hair from the follicle. Since its arrival in the United States, threading’s popularity has soared, offering threaders opportunities for entrepreneurship and a shot at the American Dream.

But instead of encouraging people to earn an honest living practicing an in-demand, safe skill, Louisiana placed barriers in the path of businesses and people like IJ’s clients: Lata Jagtiani, owner of the Threading Studio & Spa, and two of the threaders who work for her, Ushaben Chudasama and Panna Shah.

Liberty & Law readers will recall that, in 2015, IJ won a nearly identical eyebrow threading case just across the border in Texas. In light of that precedent, and after the court denied its motion to dismiss IJ’s lawsuit, the Louisiana board backed down and created a simple new permitting system for threaders.

Lata, Ushaben, and Panna are delighted that the board finally realized fighting IJ was a losing proposition. All three passed the sanitation exam with flying colors and received their threading permits this summer. Since then, Lata has been able to rehire Ushaben and Panna, plus even more threaders, and her business is prospering.

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