In a win for fairness and common sense, the state of Oregon will no longer subject people who practice African-style hair braiding (and other forms of natural hair care) to a bizarrely burdensome licensing process that’s more lengthy than what’s required for someone to fight fires or give lifesaving medical care in ambulances.
As Sightline first highlighted in our Making Sustainability Legal series, Oregon State law previously required anyone who wished to braid, cornrow, twist, lace, wrap, or weave extensions or decorative elements into hair to undergo 1500 hours of cosmetology coursework and training (compared to 130 hours to become an Emergency Medical Technician and a minimum of 385 hours to become a firefighter in some states). This was particularly unhelpful since natural hair care practitioners don’t cut, color, perm, or straighten hair, the basic skills taught in cosmetology school.
The regulations were arguably racist, since they prevented hair braiders—most of whom are African immigrants or African-American women—from earning a living without undergoing largely irrelevant training that can cost up to $17,000.
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