Hair braiding is an age-old art that has its roots in African tradition, and represents a celebration of natural beauty, culture, and tradition, particularly in African American communities across the United States. Hair braiding is a non-chemical method of styling hair that gets away from the chemicals used in straightening hair procedures.
The ancient art involves the processes of braiding, twisting, weaving, locking, and cornrowing hair, often with the use of hair extensions. The skills of hair braiding are typically passed down from one generation to the next.
The art and techniques of hair braiding are not typically taught in most cosmetology schools, but may be taught as a specialty program. In the state of Delaware, hair braiders must be trained in general hairdressing and cosmetology before they can specialize in the techniques of hair braiding. This means they must have a minimum of 1500 hours of classroom time, or 3000 hours of apprenticeship in cosmetology in order to be eligible for the cosmetology licensing exam. The licensing exam tests your theoretical (written) knowledge and your practical skills in all areas of cosmetology.
When you study braiding specifically, you will learn by watching videos of professional braiders plying their craft, as well as live demonstrations of braiders working on human heads. You will then get to work on mannequins and from there, move on to live people and eventually to clients.
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, the category in which hair braiding is located, averaged a median salary of $29,800 in 2013, the most recent year for which O*Net reports statistics. This compares very favorably to the $23,100 that represents the average salary in 2013 across the United States. Hair braiders, of course, have a highly specialized skill and may be able to command a premium fee for a specialized skill. The field of hairdressing, hairstyling, and cosmetology is expected to grow between 8% and 14% across the United States between 2012 and 2022, making any specialty within the field a good career choice for new graduates looking to start out, as well as for experienced professionals seeking to move their careers forward.
Depending upon the amount of hair on the head to be braided, hair braiding can be a very time and labor intensive activity. As a hair braider, you may spend as many as several hours braiding a single clients entire head of hair. This means that, in a typical day, you may see fewer clients, but work with each one for a longer time, and charge a premium fee for your work. Of course, a braided head of hair looks groomed, styled and attractive for a relatively long time, making it a cost effective styling option for the client. Many hair braiders work in beauty salons and spas, providing hair braiding as a specialty service. Other hair braiders open their own hair braiding salons. Either way, the ability to relate well to individuals, figure out what they are seeking and translate their vision into a beautiful hair design, is essential. Active listening skills and the ability to empathize are extremely helpful. If you have a creative and artistic talent, or if the art and skill of hair braiding is part of your cultural heritage, and you desire to find a niche for yourself in the lucrative, enjoyable beauty industry, a career as a hair braider may be an excellent choice for you!
Delaware Board of Cosmetology & Barbering
Cannon Building Suite #203
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, DE 19904
Phone Number: 302-744-4500
Fax Number: 302-739-2711
The Delaware Board of Cosmetology & Barbering can help you with replacing a lost cosmetology license, updating a change of name or change of address information, and acquiring out-of-state and other useful forms, as well as answer additional questions about obtaining a Delaware cosmetology license.
The beauty care industry in Delaware is in the midst of a sharp uptick in
terms of licensed professionals. This number is expected to climb steadily
over the next six years, including those who are adept at braiding
hair. Those looking to add that to their repertoire gain training information
from these sources.