Beauty School Directory Blog

Illinois Tightens Hair Braiding Laws

Posted on: August 20th, 2009 by Heather 16 Comments

hair-braiding-illinois-cosmetology-lawSince 1985, Illinois has maintained that if you want to work in the cosmetology or beauty field, you must have a cosmetology license. In fact, all states require all cosmetologists be licensed to work on hair, nails and skin. But, when you offer such a niche service like hair braiding, that’s where the law becomes a little twisted, at least for some.

According to Illinois law and the Illinois State Board of Cosmetology License Requirements, anyone working with hair must take the required 1,500 hours of cosmetology training. That is putting some tight restrictions on hair braiders. They provide a service that is strictly braiding hair, and normally don’t offer any other service like hair cutting or coloring. However, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation wants hair braiders to be licensed, and not for the reasons you may think.

When a beauty professional is licensed, they are protected by the law when a customer refuses to pay or writes bogus checks. But, it goes a little deeper than that – some believe that hair braiders need to be trained in a few core courses relating to the industry.

The United African Organization would like to see a compromise from the state that allows hair braiders courses only in sanitation and business training, which would be around 300 clocked hours of cosmetology school.

Up on the debate block for the fall is a law that would require hair braiders to complete 300 hours of training, which the courses would focus on blood-borne pathogens, recognizing scalp disease and sanitation practices.

What do you think? Should niche beauty services like hair braiding have specific cosmetology licensing requirements? Tell Beauty Schools Directory your views on this tangled matter.

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16 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    I think it should be mandatory. Here in Nevada they passed a law that eyelash extensions (hair) needed to be performed by a Cosmetologist or as an esthetic feature an Aesthetician. Either way “Any addition of, or manipulation to, hair that is attached or being attached to the body where there is a fee involved, or it happens in a place of business” is covered under the State Board of Cosmetology. I think that braiding should apply as well.

    We go through a m inimum of 1800 hours, or a 1500 hr Hair Design course, where braiding is an intefral part of the curriculum. This being done outside the arena of cosmetology is not ensuring ethics, cleanliness and sanitation, infectious diseases, etc. These are the core courses that preface learning to work with hair whether a braider or a color specialist, etc.

    I wholeheartedly agree!

  2. Gail Adrian says:

    Legislating an artform passed on thru artisans is not within the domain of beauty schools.

    This is yet another tactic to take local small industry away from skilled practitioners.

    Blood born pathogens? Give me a break.

    This is about once again taking economic power out of citizens.

  3. Sally says:

    It is ridiculous to force braiders to pay for schooling and take the time to go to school when cosmotology schools do not teach any more than a rudimentary French braid. A compromise of less hours where the focus is in being sanitary is the only fair solution. On the other hand it isn’t hard to sanitize combs so that is just to appease the hairdressers who are afraid of losing business.

  4. The only reason a cosmetologist would wholeheartedly agree with making hair braiding fall legislatively under cosmetology is because fear of profit loss. No one is stoping these said cosmetologist from going to a hair braiding school to learn the African cultural art form. Furthernore, Hair Braiders should only be required to take public health courses. The time should total 16 hrs at the most, as hair braiding is an African cultural artform passed down from generation to generation.
    When a State puts hair braiding under Cosmetology legislatively that says that there is a lack of understanding in that State. Some would say that making a core hair braider attend Cosmetology school in order to practice there own cultural art is a way to strip the intelligence of the artfrom from the supposed cosmetology student, meanwhile building a knowledge of the art. Cosmetology schools won’t turn the student over to the state to take the exam unless the student has completed all the hours. If the precious jewels of the hour have not been given over willfully in that 1800 hrs. of supposed training then whose to say the student couldn’t get expelled, or suspeded for chewing gum on the 1799th hr.
    Cosmetology schools and Cosmetology school directors have been a major contributor to the textbook writers, as there African American students come into the school to pay the toll (learn), to become Cosmetologist.
    What ever the African American students come in to school and demonstrate this year is destined to be in the Textbook next year, for the students to follow.
    The conclusion of the whole matter is hair braiding is an ancient African Cultural Art.

  5. Latache Nelson says:

    i think they should require a braidology liscense but they should have to take the classe on hair,sanitation and business ownership or can get 25 clients to sign afidavits of the there work and portfolio of their work before and after experience with out 300 hours even if you have a felony other than aggivated assult, rape or a minor or adult.

  6. Christine Johnson says:

    Illinois laws aren’t as tight as some of these braider’s braid our hair. Many african american braider’s learned to braid hair as children with no formal training. A number of people have been damaged by their (braider’s) tightly braided hairstyles. Can you say…Traction Alopecia, which runs rampid in the black community. A person missing hair from their temple has become customary. Like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and the like, many african americans have just learned to accept it as “that’s just the way things are.” If it takes the law to stop the madness I’m game for it. Let’s hold potential business people accountable by having standards and the proper training.

  7. Kristi says:

    I do not think so because it is NOT CHEMICALS THEY ARE USING. It is only thier own hair and extentions of human hair or sythantic hair. So I do not think so.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Here in Oklahoma, they have “niche” licenses. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do, and here’s why:

    A little more education to better yourself and learn something never hurt anyone.

    NO, it shouldn’t be 1500 hours unless they plan on doing more than braids and extensions, but 300 hours isn’t but 2 months of classes.

    Braiding is an art form, just like cutting, styling, and coloring hair. It isn’t limited to a certain race of people. Tho it may have started in Africa, it is assimilated into the American culture. Schooling not only helps women and men pass this on to new generations of beginners, but it also gets creative experienced minds together to share info, techniques, styles, and designs. ‘Cause no matter how sick we think our twists are, somebody’s always got something new.

    I say I’m not opposed to the licensing and schooling. That comes with stipulation that if that person was going to stay in that “niche” of the cosmetology business, they should have a lessened amount of required hours and lower licensing fees.

  9. Moussa Cissoko says:

    hair braiding is a cultural. the african who do it should name it cultural hair braiding. Off course they should go to school just to get training on sanitation. Handling business is optional. I think that it is insulting to ask african to go school to learn about their culture. This should be the focus of their argumentation. Who knows your culture better that you. They all pay taxes now the State is telling them to give their money to a third party. Because this is how the State think: they (the braiders) do not pay taxes so we have to create a way for them to spend money with an institution and those institutions will pay taxes on that money. It really does not make sens to ask them to spend 1500 hrs to learn their culture.

  10. Dean says:

    Ten states allow hair braiders to operate without any licensing and the sky hasn’t falling. The proper response to too-tight braiding is to tell the braider not to braid so tightly.

    I live in SC, where braiders are required to take a 6-hour course on sanitary practices, pass an exam, and pay a $25 registration fee. Weirdly, this license doesn’t cover the use of extensions which are widely used in braiding and makes it difficult for the braider to comply with the law.

    There’s no reason why a person with this skill, who may be in significant poverty, to spend a lot of money and months out of their life to learn how to do something they’re already skilled in.

  11. RUTH says:

    fist of all let’s take a look at the name of te buisness
    AFRICAN HAIR BRAIDING
    HOW CAN YOU TEACH SOMEONE SOMTHING THEY WAS BORN WITH?
    BRAIDS COMES FROM AFRICA HOW POSSIBLE CAN AMERICAN TEACH AN AFRICAN HOW TO DO BRAID IT’S RIDICULOUS, EVEN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN HAVE TRYED TO DO BRAIDS BUT THEY CANT BECAUSE HAIR BRAIDING IS A 100%BORN AFRICAN PASSION WHAT IS AFRICAN BRAIDERS ARE POSSIBLY GOING TO LEARN IN AMERICAN BRAIDING SCHOOL
    COME ON PEOPLE MAYBE YOU MEAN AMERICAN SHOULD START GOING TO AFRICAN HAIR BRAIDING SCHOOL .ALL AFRICAN HAIR BRAIDERS WENT TO HAIR BRAIDING SCHOOL FOR 3 YEARS BEFORE THEY STARTED WORKING NOW YOU ARE ASKING THEM TO GO TO SOME AMERICAN HAIR BRAIDING SCHOOL?
    THAT’S A “BS”
    THOSE TYPE OF TALKING DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.THOSE AFRICAN NEED HELP NOT DESTRUCTION,THEY ARE THE BEST IN HAIR BRAIDING BUSNESS

  12. patricia says:

    I am hairstylist from Africa Braiding is not 100% born african passion this sterotpye mentality is sicking I cut and color like every cosmetologist ….I have been to many african Braider shop and they are not just braiding they weave extension into the hair also…The price of hair extension in the black community is no longer as expensive as it use to be because of how much they now charges….. They have done to hair weave as the Nail salons did to the hair and spa salons ….liked the nail business because its cheap….The state can come up with braiders only licence how many hours that is up to the state……….the nail salons are doing waxing and I don’t think it come with waxing the state should look into that too…..

  13. viola says:

    I think that the braiders should go to school to learn about the skin and scalp, because half of the people wearing braids have lost their hair permement because the hair was braided to tight and the hair has been pulled out from the roots and there is no chance of the hair ever growing back. going back to school will give them a better understanding that the pressure of putting the braids in as tight as they can have permenant hair loss. and there’s a lot that goes with that.

  14. KarenC says:

    1500 hours is a lot but I would want anyone having to braid my a hair to know certain things anyways such as proper sanitation. But 300 hours for hair braiding seems appropriate. Just make sure to sleep on silk afterward. http://www.essenceofsilk.com for silk & satin pillowcases & hair wraps.

  15. Fern says:

    This sounds like a good alternative. I am speaking for my wife who went to a hair braiding school for 2 years and half in my country before coming to US. It is sad that United States does not give much consideration to foreign countries certifications even though in some instance they are way better than what is issued here. No school in this country has the trained staffs to teach the braiding side of the profession which is really an art. American beauticians don’t even have patience to do the braiding.
    Speaking about the sanitation, my wife alwa uses a barber sterilizer to clean her combs after using them.
    Braiding your hair often has consequences, no blame on the braider as someone mentioned earlier.
    We are all looking forward to improving our field of work and I don’t trainings on some issues will be rejected by hair braiders.
    My point is that it is a good start to give some opportunity to these women to professionalize their field too. I am hoping that the State of Illinois will be able to do some equivalent for the diploma these women obtained from their country of origin for 2 to 3 years of training their had.
    These trainings did not exclude sanitation and business side of the profession and worth more than 1500 hours.
    Also, this law will of course bring some money to the state( license fee), an in flow cash it has been losing for years.

  16. Suzie says:

    I have always wanted Brades and its really useful to find out about laws.

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