Do I need a license to offer lash extensions or microblading in my province?

If you have decided to go into business for yourself, we are so excited for you! There is nothing like being your own boss, even if it is your side hustle. It feels SO good to be in charge.

Both the lash extensions and microblading industries have exploded in popularity lately, and have given a lot of freedom to artists out there. These artists have the ability to see their own clients and work their own hours, sometimes reducing the hours at their full-time jobs until they are ready to make the transition to fully doing what they love.

Maybe you are thinking of taking the plunge… there is nothing stopping you! But there is some red tape you have to get through first in order to operate in accordance with the law.

We often get asked what kind of license is needed to operate an extensions or microblading salon. So let’s talk about what that entails.

Is License Required for Lash Extensions Procedures?

Let’s start with lash extensions. Whether or not you need a license varies from province to province. For example, you DO need a license in Alberta and Manitoba, but you DO NOT in British Columbia, Quebec, or Saskatchewan.

The reason for the difference is because there is no federal governing body that dictates what requirements are needed to offer lash extensions. Therefore, each individual province decides.

Is License Required for Microblading Procedures?

For microblading procedures, things get a little more tricky because the procedure breaks the skin and therefore increases risks. Clients can become exposed to blood-borne disease, such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV.

According to a Fact Sheet released by the BC Ministry of Health, “Microblading is a personal service and is regulated under the Public Health Act – Regulated Activities Regulation. All microblading establishments should be approved by an environmental health officer.”

The information goes on to say, “there is no specific, legally-required training for people offering microblading services. However, since microblading is an invasive procedure, owners and operators of salons offering microblading should have training in infection prevention and control. Training should be provided in an appropriate setting, such as a cosmetology school, academy or spa.”

As you can see, there are a whole lot of “shoulds” in this statement, but no “absolute musts”. There are, however, requirements on how to sterilize equipment and which elements should be single use. Further, as recommended in the Guidelines for Body Modification, also released by the Ministry, a consent form “should" be signed by the client. Again, this is from the province and not the federal government.

In the permanent cosmetic industry in Canada, there is no governing body that dictates requirements or safety standards for cosmetic procedures. As a technician, it is up to you to provide safe and sterile conditions for your clients, and to operate within the law. However, without a regulating body, solo technicians often find themselves operating in a grey area.

Remember that certified and qualified are not the same thing, and as a responsible technician it is up to you to acquire the education and experience needed to provide a safe environment. Taking a microblading or online lash course over the weekend might “certify” a person, especially since there are no standards in place that require a specific number of hours a person must learn or train for. But that doesn’t necessarily make them a professional.

We hope you will help keep the standards high for your amazing industry!

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