North Carolina Makeup Artist Challenges Ban On Makeup Schools

Institute for Justice · August 23, 2017

Arlington, Va.—Should makeup artists in North Carolina have to build a full-fledged esthetics school and get a government-mandated license just to teach makeup? No, they should not, according to a major First Amendment lawsuit filed today by a Charlotte-based professional makeup artist and the Institute for Justice.

All Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani wants to do is open up a school to teach others how to apply makeup. But the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners will not give her the license to open unless she agrees to turn the school into an esthetics school. For every hour Jasna spends teaching makeup, the Board wants her to spend as many as five hours teaching things makeup artists do not do—like hair removal and facials—and spend at least $10,000 on useless equipment. Makeup artistry is not the same as esthetics; estheticians provide services like microdermabrasion, seaweed wraps and chemical peels. But the Board refuses to make this distinction and forces makeup artists like Jasna who simply want to teach others their craft to comply with its 600-hour, one-size-fits-all curriculum or face thousands of dollars in fines.

“It does not make sense to force makeup artists like Jasna to spend hundreds of hours teaching skills makeup artists do not use,” explained Milad Emam, an attorney with the Institute for Justice. “Jasna should not need the government’s permission to provide useful information.”

North Carolina has no problem with Jasna applying makeup to someone. The state requires almost everyone who applies makeup for a living to become a state-licensed esthetician before working, and Jasna went through 600 hours of schooling to do just that several years ago. Yet the Board has a problem with Jasna teaching people how to apply makeup, even though her students do not want to spend time and money learning esthetics.

“My students simply want to hear me talk about makeup, but North Carolina wants me to teach them skills they are not interested in learning,” said Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani. “I am teaming up with the Institute for Justice to challenge this law because no one should need a license just to talk about makeup.”

“North Carolina’s law is unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution protects the right to speak for a living—whether the speakers are authors, journalists or makeup artists like Jasna—and it protects the rights of listeners to hear from those speakers,” said Justin Pearson, a senior attorney with IJ. “The Institute for Justice has spent more than 25 years fighting for the free speech rights of tour guides, newspaper columnists, bloggers and numerous other entrepreneurs. We look forward to vindicating Jasna’s right to teach without getting government permission.”