The Arizona State Board of Cosmetology has Juan Carlos Montesdeoca by the short hairs.
Montesdeoca, a Tucson cosmetology student, received notification that he’s now under investigation by the state board after he offered free haircuts to the homeless in late January, a mission he took upon himself after his Regency Beauty school closed in September, Tucson News Now reports.
Montesdeoca said his efforts spawned “out of the kindness of my heart.
“Out of memory of my mom, because she loved her hair,” he said.
Montesdeoca set up shop at Santa Rita Park and has given dozens of free haircuts to the less fortunate over the past few months. Montesdeoca also reached out to others on Facebook to solicit their help for “free haircuts, nails, medical and love for our homeless people in need, on the streets” for a special Jan. 28 event near the downtown library, according to a flyer for the event highlighted by KVOA.
“Who’s interested in doing nails for our women living on the streets or homeless this Saturday?” the flyer read. “I am looking for helpful individuals who can donate some time painting nails. We could use anyone interested in helping.”
The flyer also asked for medical staff to bring first aid kits and informational pamphlets on important health issues facing the homeless.
Montesdeoca, who has been homeless himself, told KVOA he was inspired after cutting the hair of a mother with cancer he met on the Tucson Angels Facebook page, and his efforts snowballed from there.
Several folks who stopped for his services, Montesdeoca said, had not received a haircut in a long time.
“About seven months was the longest one,” he said. “Another lady was about two years without a basic trim.”
Montesdeoca’s charity work, however, was cut short when he received a copy of an anonymous complaint to the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology submitted through the agency’s online system on Jan. 26.
“On or about January 26, 2017 board office received anonymous complaint alleging that Juan Carlos Montes De Oca requesting for local business and local stylists to help our with free haircuts (unlicensed individuals) to the homeless which was held Saturday the 28th at Joel Valdez Public Library,” the complaint reads.
“Anonymous complainant also alleging that Juan Carlos Montes De Oca is a student at a local Aveda Institute.”
Arizona State Board of Cosmetology executive director Donna Aune refused to discuss Montesdeoca’s situation, and instead pointed to a state statute that states “A person shall not perform or attempt to perform cosmetology without a license or practice in any place other than a licensed salon,” Tucson News Now reports.
Aune alleged it’s a “real risk” to receive a free haircut from an unlicensed cosmetologist because of safety and sanitation issues.
Montesdeoca, meanwhile, is concerned he could lose his profession after extensive training simply for helping the homeless before he’s fully certified.
“They can suspend – even before I try to get a license, they can say no,” he said. “That would be very, very unfortunate.”