Should braiders be required to have a cosmetology license — or are they marginalized by styling laws?

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From Frugivore Magazine: Hot combs, hair styles, and chemical treatments aside, many hairstylists face an unforeseen battle when trying to get licensed for their craft — even if their craft is as simple as braiding hair.

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Earning a cosmetology license requires 1,700 hours of training [costing] thousands of dollars, which may not even focus on African-style braiding. In states like Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, and Illinois, braiders are required to get cosmetology licenses to braid hair, a time consuming and unnecessary feat when compared to some other states, such as New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan — [all states that require one only] to get a specialty license for that very craft. Click here for a full list.

As a child, I couldn’t imagine my mother or any one family member whom I knew, having to be required to get a license to braid my hair. It almost seems relatively pointless, as doing hair in my house had become a regular past time. It also was a time for bonding between children and adults.

Amber Starks, a braider who began her own business north of the border in Vancouver, is fighting to change the law.

“They’re requiring people who want to do the most basic natural care for African-American women to learn all sorts of things that will never be relevant,” Starks said. “It’s like the entire system is designed to marginalize my community.”

Read the rest of this story on Frugivore Magazine.