Licensed to Braid

In April lawmakers in Oregon passed a bill to ease regulations regarding cosmetology licensure and natural hair care.

House Bill 3409  defines “natural hair care” and says that those who specialize in natural hair care do not have to meet all of the same educational standards as other hair stylists and barbers.

Braiders everywhere are applauding such measures, but should there be some standard when it comes to natural hair care? With braids and other natural hair care services costing in some cases up to $300 and beyond, I’d say yes.

Then the question arises of what should those standards be. Such standards are definitely hard to define. Should there be a test for braiders? Should there be levels of braiding, twisting, etc.?

Aside from establishing technical standards, there is also the issue of the treatment of braiders. With some braiding requests taking upward of 8 hours to complete, braiders are often on their feet more than traditional stylists and allowed to take fewer breaks.

While I agree that braiders may not need the same cosmetology credentials that other stylists do, I disagree that “natural hair care” experts in general should be exempt from training. When dealing with any part of another human, I feel some training needs to be in place. A natural hair care stylists should be just as able to answer questions regarding changing hair texture as any other stylists and should have to know how chemicals interact in the body and on the skin, terminology that arises in the profession, and have a basic understanding of accounting and principles of business.

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