The council was established in 1981 when the Board of Cosmetology was abolished. In 1983 the commissioner of commerce, rather than the director of consumer services, was made appointing authority. In 1984 membership was expanded from 9 to 11.
The 2004 Legislature moved the licensing responsibility for cosmetologists from the Commerce Department to the Barbers Examiners Board, and renamed it the Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners (see Laws of Minnesota 2004, chapter 269, article 3). The merger took effect in 2005.