Isis Brantley has been practicing African hair braiding professionally in Dallas for more than three decades. It’s been a decades-long battle with the state of Texas the whole way. She was arrested in Texas for not complying with barbering regulations when she attempted to open her Dallas salon. Under barbering regulations, she would have to install at least five sinks even though braiders don’t wash hair. Fast forward to today, and the federal court has recently ruled that Texas laws to inhibit her from opening her salon were unconstitutional. After the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee heard testimony from Brantley and her attorney on House Bill 2717, it’s possible that the state requirement for braiders to have a cosmetology license to practice their trade will be a thing of the past.
Training requirements for hair braiders vary from state to state. For example, Massachusetts requires 233 days of training for cosmetologists while Iowa requires 490 days of training. Arkansas, Nevada, Oregon, California and Arizona have the most burdensome requirements. Governors in some states have attempted to deregulate some occupations that require a license. But trade associations often push back with lobbying against such efforts.
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana tried unsuccessfully to eliminate licensing requirements for a variety of occupations, including cosmetologists. His bill failed due to a lack of support from the General Assembly. However, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota was successful in signing legislation that exempted hair-threading practitioners from the state’s cosmetology licensing requirements.
Many organizations are recommending swapping an occupational license for a state certificate of competency, since public health isn’t seriously threatened with hair braiding. But then again, the problem is
As you can see, the current regulations surrounding hair braiding are as complex and diverse as the art itself. If you plan to go into this field be sure to check into requirements in your state, and keep up to date on the most recent changes in the industry and who is doing the certifying. Many businesses sell certifications for a nominal fee and a quick online test.