Today's job market requires certain skills to enter into the field of cosmetology. The same concept holds true when it comes to specialties within the beauty field, such as hair braiding or eyelash extensions. However, those who are interested in doing nothing but hair braiding are currently required to complete an entire cosmetology program. Throughout the duration of the program, these students are learning information and honing skills that they will never use in the course of their career, ranging from hair and nails to makeup and skin care. While these are great for someone interested in a career as a cosmetologist, if all you want to do is braid ethnic hair or do weaves or perform eyelash extensions or thread hair, this is an excessive cost and time investment for no reason.

States like Illinois are unweaving the tight regulations regarding hair braiders. The laws in Illinois once deemed it necessary for anyone working with hair to complete a 1500-hour cosmetology program. Since hair braiders generally only offer braiding, and not coloring or cutting, these students were spending more time and money than necessary to enter into the field.  No doubt many hair braiders opted not to bother. When the Illinois State Board of Cosmetology decided that hair braiders could practice their trade without taking a 1,500 cosmetology course, it made a wise decision to promote small businesses in the community. Now, hair braiders are able to practice their craft without fear of violating the law or having to pay thousands of dollars for unrelated coursework. Now, hair braiders can get down to business sooner, and with an educational background dealing with skills they will actually need.

Submitted by Elizabeth on Mon, 06/18/2012 - 13:34
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States like Illinois are unweaving the tight regulations regarding hair braiders. The laws in Illinois once deemed it necessary for anyone working with hair to complete a 1500-hour cosmetology program. Since hair braiders generally only offer braiding, and not coloring or cutting, these students were spending more time and money than necessary to enter into the field.  No doubt many hair braiders opted not to bother. When the Illinois State Board of Cosmetology decided that hair braiders could practice their trade without taking a 1,500 cosmetology course, it made a wise decision to promote small businesses in the community. Now, hair braiders are able to practice their craft without fear of violating the law or having to pay thousands of dollars for unrelated coursework. Now, hair braiders can get down to business sooner, and with an educational background dealing with skills they will actually need.

Not only is taking an overabundance of classes and learning material you do not need a waste of time, it is also a huge waste of money, since the cost of a hair braiding class is much less than that of a cosmetology school program. Many states currently impose restrictions on the cosmetology niches that a person may practice. These regulations require a person to go through the full-length and full-price process of obtaining a cosmetology license in order to do only hair braiding or another niche area of cosmetology. For women and men who want to start their own small business in hair braiding, eyelash extensions, hair threading, or other beauty specialties, these regulations pose obstacles that prevent them from opening and operating their small businesses.

Fortunately, states like Illinois are beginning to understand an easy way to fix the problem. Instead of imposing burdensome regulations on individuals who practice hair braiding, they are deciding to create shorter licensing requirements for these individuals. In Illinois, a 300-hour course is now required for people who wish to practice hair braiding as their sole craft. Even better, those who have practiced hair braiding for years will be able to continue practicing by applying for the new license with work experience. The only caveat is that these people must apply for the license before the end of 2012. Otherwise, they will have to take the 300-hour course like everyone else.

Other states have also imposed a similar requirement. States like South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, Florida, Virginia and Texas now give people the opportunity to obtain the short license for practicing niche beauty services. These states realize that forcing people to take 1,500 to 2,000 hour courses can be counterproductive to building up their communities' economies. Instead, shorter licensing requirements for niche services allow everyone to improve the cosmetology industry in their own way and obtain the funds they need to make a living. Fostering small beauty businesses, such as hair braiding or eyelash extension shops, or the hair threading shops often seen at mall kiosks, also motivates other people in the community to start their own businesses.

Due to the current requirements imposed on hair braiders, those with small shops or little home-based businesses are being threatened with legal action unless they close their doors or attend cosmetology school. Small businesses are the foundation of a community, and these laws are taking bricks out of the foundation, which can wreak havoc on a community's economy. Additionally, these small businesses create a domino effect. In other words, when one shop opens, it can lead to another one opening, and then another and you get the picture. In the long run, the shorter license requirements for specialized cosmetology trades are opening the doors for numerous business opportunities that will only keep expanding. A prime example of other businesses sprouting from one business occurred in Washington D.C. with Pamela Ferrell and her husband Talib-Din. The government tried to shut down their business for practicing without the proper licensure. However, Pamela and Talib-Din proved just what the power of one business can do. They have been running strongly for 25 years, and they provide training to numerous men and women over the years. Many of their own clients have even gone on to open their own businesses.

Overall, creating these shorter specialty beauty licenses will give individuals the chance to live out their dreams of performing niche beauty services and opening their own small businesses. People can save money by taking shorter courses at cosmetology schools and start legitimate careers more easily. Cosmetology schools may gain more business from people who otherwise wouldn't have sought training and licensing. Licensing boards can earn more from licensing fees from people who otherwise would've skipped licensing. Communities will thrive with more small businesses. Beauty specialty licenses are a win-win-win-win situation.