Hair braiders in Iowa have just won the right to install timeless hairstyles such as cornrows and box braids without the need of a cosmetology license. A new law that takes effect today (July 1) will now only require braiders to register with the state and take basic health and safety classes. Prior to the law, they were required to spend as much as $22,000 to take thousands of hours of classes that often, don’t even teach braiding skills.
The Institute for Justice (IJ), which helped bring the issue to the forefront as as part of its Braiding Freedom Initiative, said the previous “burdensome requirements” prevented braiders from starting their own braiding businesses and earning an honest living in the state.
“This is a major victory for African-style hair braiders in Iowa,” said IJ attorney Meagan Forbes. “These reforms have now put the American dream within reach for braiders across the state.”
Earlier this year, Nebraska and Kentucky both won decisions removing laws that require African-style hair braiders get cosmetology licenses. But, as previously reported, more than 20 states still have extensive licensure requirements. And, the punishments for braiding are more harsh than for some violent crimes.
We’re glad states are starting to see that the simple act of braiding cornrows shouldn’t land someone in jail.