Barbering, Cosmetology, Electrology

In the state of Hawaii, barbers, cosmetologists, hairdressers, estheticians, and nail technicians must be licensed as well as the shops, salons, and spas in which they operate. Additionally, an electrology license is required to remove hair by electrolysis.


 The practice of barbering includes shaving, cutting, trimming, arranging and coloring hair, including beards.

• Hairdressers work on hair.

• Estheticians perform a variety of services on the scalp and skin, like applying makeup. Services also include cleansing, exfoliating, and removing unwanted hair by waxing or other means.

• Nail technicians cut, trim, polish and color fingernails and toenails, apply artificial fingernails and toenails and perform other related services.

• Cosmetologists are licensed to provide all of the services that hairdressers, estheticians, and nail technicians provide.

• Electrolysis is the removal of unwanted facial and/or body hair by use of a tiny needle or probe that conducts electric current and should only be performed by a licensed electrologist.

Not all practitioners perform all types of services, so it’s important to make sure the services offered match the license for the individual offering to perform the services.

For more information, including helpful tips for consumers, see RICO’s brochure, “Beauty Shops, Salons, and Spas.”

Beauty Shop Salons and Spas brochure image

RICO relies on information from consumers to monitor conduct in the industry and to watch for unlicensed activity. For information about filing a complaint, click on the link below or call the RICO Consumer Resource Center to speak with an intake investigator about your complaint.