Hair-Braiding State Laws Get A New Twist (They Exist! Who Knew?)

Think braiding hair is a no-brainer? Turns out, professional hair-braiders have to deal with a variety of issues outside of nimble fingers, including health tests, allergy prevention, and ways to deal with differences in texture and tension. On top of all that? They had to make sure they had 1,500 hours (that's 62 straight days of braiding!) of training by law just to qualify for their trade. "If you braided hair professionally and didn't have a cosmetology license, you were operating outside the law," says seasoned braider Frances Simmons, who lobbied for more realistic license rules for a craft that many learned growing up. "We just wanted to find a common-sense balance between getting the proper training and spending so much time and money on what you didn't need." Now, the estimated 25,000 professions are getting the right kind of education and experience for a new kind of new license, including 300 practice hours and a standardized curriculum featuring topics like repetitive-motion therapy, tension-management, and craftsmanship. Shout out to these braiders for rocking their craft while harbored with extra responsibility. We'll be experimenting under their capable hands, for sure. (Chicago Tribune)
Photographed by Mark Iantosca
To peep the story behind the girl in our photo, check out the story we did about Darlene Okpo!

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