In the News| Braiders No Longer Required to Attend Cosmetology School

by West Parsons on June 19, 2013 · 4 comments

in in the news


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.


Do you think the law preventing braiders from styling natural hair in other states is racist? Do you think other states will follow suit?


The Frugal Exerciser June 21, 2013 at 8:55 am

There should be a special course or class requirement for braiders. Some bad techniques where they braid too hard, comb out here too rough and should wash and detangle hair before braiding.

westNDNbeauty June 24, 2013 at 11:55 am

That’s reasonable — actually I think that should be a requirement for all cosmetologists. Even those with 1700+ hours are clueless about this.

tdwalton July 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

thats smart i hope it moves across the country!

Tonisha July 11, 2013 at 6:17 am

In Florida, you can get a braider’s license, which I think is cool. It covers sanitation and such, as well as technique. It’s not as lengthy as cosmetology (can be completed in one or two days) and not as expendive (roughly about $400). You can work in a shop or open one. I’m actually thinking about getting one. Great side hustle since it’s something in passionate about. Full cosmetology license just to braid/wrap hair? Bull!