Salamata Sylla, owner of Sally’s African Hair Braiding in Kent, WA (pictured above) had been fighting the state to maintain her braiding business for the past two year. State inspectors almost closed down Sylla’s salon due to an assumption that chemicals were used to weave in extensions and thus needed a license to operate. Sylla took her case to federal court which resulted in a concrete change by the state’s Department of Licensing.
The Washington Department of Licensing made the following adjustments to their rules on natural hair braiding:
Natural hair braiding does not include hair cutting, application of dyes, reactive chemicals or other preparations to alter the color of the hair or to straighten, curl, or alter the structure of the hair. Natural hair braiding may involve the use of hair extensions when the extensions are attached only by natural means.
This adjustment allowed Sylla and many other braiding stylists like her to return to work without fear of being shut down.
A similar legislation was also passed through the Texas House of Representatives which no longer requires African hair braiders to attain a license to teach or practice hair braiding. Texas stylist, Isis Brantley had been fighting for the state for 20 years to strike down the licensing requirement. Brantley did however receive her license after taking hundreds of hours of classes; none of which covered the technique of hair braiding.
What do you think about the cosmetology licensing requirements? Should there be a separate license (if any) required for hair braiders?