Texas Eyebrow Threading

Patel v. TX Department of Licensing and Regulation
Hanging by a Thread: Defending Economic Liberty in Texas

Ash Patel shouldn't need to close his business to take 1,500 hours of beauty school classes that don't even teach threading. 

threading vid graphic
Video: Hanging by a thread: defending economic liberty in Texas

Eyebrow threading is a booming industry in Texas. But state bureaucrats are making it impossible to continue practicing this ancient art.
Threading is booming because it’s cheaper, faster and less painful than waxing.  Plus, it doesn’t involve any chemicals, dyes, or sharp objects and is healthy for the skin  In addition to pleasing consumers, the industry is creating good-paying jobs and exciting opportunities for numerous Texas entrepreneurs.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is now demanding that eyebrow threaders obtain expensive and irrelevant licenses in Western-style cosmetology.  Threading is not mentioned anywhere in state law, yet TDLR expects threaders with up to 20 years of experience to immediately stop working and spend approximately $20,000 obtaining up to
1,500 hours of instruction in government-approved beauty schools that do not even teach threading.  
Further, threaders must pass government-approved cosmetology exams that do not test for threading.  Inspectors have already begun imposing $2,000 fines on threaders who cannot immediately comply. The licensing scheme protects cosmetology companies from honest competition, but does nothing to help consumers.  
Texans have a constitutional right to work in the occupation of their choice without unreasonable government interference. That is why on December 8, 2009, the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter filed suit in Travis County District Court on behalf of eight Texas threading entrepreneurs.  IJ seeks to have the state’s unreasonable and unwritten eyebrow threading requirements declared unconstitutional and to restore economic liberty for entrepreneurs across the state.


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Hanging by a Thread: Texas Eyebrow Threaders Fight Irrational Licensing

Client Video

Client Photos

Case Launch Photos
Latest Release: Texas Supreme Court Strikes Down Useless Eyebrow Threading License (June 26, 2015)

Launch Release: Texas Eyebrow Threaders File Lawsuit Against State Board (December 8, 2009)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Brief on the Merits (PDF)

Download IJ's complaint (PDF)


Opinion (PDF) 


Petition for Review (PDF)


Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit: 


December 8, 2009

Court Filed:


Travis County District Court



Summary judgment for government in January 2011
Judgment for government affirmed in July 2012
Supreme Court reverses and rules in favor of threaders in June 2015

 Current Court: Texas Supreme Court


  Next Key Date:

July 13, 2015—state’s deadline to petition for rehearing

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Texas Supreme Court Will Hear Landmark Economic Liberty Case (January 17, 2014)

Report: Bureaucratic Barbed Wire: How Occupational Licensing Fences Out Texas Entrepreneurs

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Video: Oral Argument at TX Supreme Court  (February 27, 2014)

Video: IJ's Chip Mellor Discusses Government Mandated Licensing With John Stossel (3 of 3); Stossel (March 26, 2010)

Article: Constitutional Rights Hanging by a Thread Liberty & Law (February 2010)

Article: Beauty procedure inspires lawsuit The Austin American-Statesman (December 9, 2009) 

Video: Hanging by a Thread: Defending Economic Liberty - Press 12/8/09; (December 9, 2009)

Article: Eyebrow Threaders Sue State of Texas KTBC-TV Fox 7 (December 9, 2009) 

Video: Hanging by a Thread: Defending Economic Liberty in Texas; (December 8, 2009)

Article: Law firm sues state on behalf of eyebrow threaders San Antonio Business Journal (December 8, 2009)

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