Raise your hand if you knew someone growing up who was an expert braider, with no formal training or license. In black communities, it’s not unlikely that your cousin, friend, grandmother, etc. have learned and nurtured the skill of braiding at home without setting foot in cosmetology school.
Unlicensed braiding, so to speak, has become somewhat pervasive. On trips, people often come back with cornrows and beads courtesy of a native woman who provides the service to tourists. And one walk down 125th Street in Harlem renders several cries from braiders who aren’t necessarily licensed but are trying to turn a profit from their trade.
Does this mean people without cosmetology licenses should be allowed to braid professionally? The minds behind the Natural Hair Act believe so.
The legislation will relieve licensing requirements for hair braiders, who don’t hold licenses that require tuition dollars and hours in class to obtain.
A group of Portland-area lawmakers say they’ll sponsor the Natural Hair Act in Oregon’s next legislative session, theAssociated Press reports.
[According to the Oregon Statesman Journal], Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer says right now the state is criminalizing hair braiders or forcing them to go to Washington. The Oregonian reports (one of them is Amber Starks who started a hair-braiding business in Vancouver after she discovered she needed a cosmetology license to do the work in Oregon. That could mean spending up to 1,700 hours in a beauty school with tuition of more than $10,000.
The need for a cosmetology license seems a bit excessive for a largely home-based practice like braiding.