New regulations for barbers in Alabama

Like to visit a barber shop? The service is different than it used to be.

No longer does a haircut end with the barber taking a powdered brush to sweep the hair from the nape of the neck.

New regulations placed new barbers under control of the state board of cosmetologists and barbering. Alabama was the last state to license barbers.

They say it's for sanitary reasons.{} But, a lot of barbers are fighting the changes. They say the new rules take away from the experience that comes with sitting in the barber chair.

"At first, it was a big shock to everybody, including the clientele. They think it's ridiculous, they think it's crazy, those are the words that we're hearing."Donna Landers became a barber 30 years ago. "The old barbershop, the one that I kind of came up in, it's like a thing of the past now," says Landers. "Some of the tools that we used, we can't use anymore. It's just really sad that the old barbershop way is kinda leaving us."Alabama began licensing barbers last year.Bob McKee, executive director of the state board of cosmetology and barbering said state regulation is in the best interest of public health. He says, "Every state in the nation, even Guam and Puerto Rico have some form of regulations. There must be some reason for that. Obviously it's sanitation. That's the only reason to have a regulatory board of this kind."The board of cosmetology and barbering is the second-largest regulatory board in the state.McKee says the definition of "grooming services" has changed.

Cosmetologists must be licensed because they are allowed to use chemicals.

Barbers do not. "Somebody who had let their license lapse as a cosmetologist could decide that theywanted to be a barber, and they could continue rendering the same services that they hadbeen doing, with the exception of nails. They could be a barber and be untouched by any regulation."Still, sanitation drove this change.To put it simply, any tool used in a barber shop, on a customer, must be disinfected.Dusting brushes have to go, because they can't be sanitized.Also, capes should not be used without a paper neck strip around the neck of the customer. "We're encouraging people to comply with the rules of sanitation as we go along," says McKee. "We have no purpose of being here, except to protect the people sitting in the chair receiving the services of the professional groomer."Donna Landers is slowly getting used to the changes. She says she understands the purpose of the new regulations, but putting her dusting brushes on the shelf made it a sad day. "It's still a barbershop," says Landers. "We want everybody to know when they come in here, that not only do we want to do a good job, but that everything is going to be nice and clean, sanitary, there's no worries there."