Louisiana Braiders Are Suing To Drop Licensing Requirements

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Louisiana is the latest state to wage war against licensing requirements for braiding hair. Three Louisiana hair braiders have filed suit alongside Institute for Justice (IJ) to remove the red tape required 500 hours of training in order to get certified — resulting in fines of up to $5,000 per violation

It is unconstitutional to license something as safe and common as hair braiding,” says IJ attorney Jamie Cavanaugh. Over the years, the firm has won over a dozen lawsuits, repealing or reducing requirements in such states as Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, and North Dakota.

The prevailing argument is that the restrictions place unnecessary economic burdens on braiders.

Lynn Schofield, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, shares she had to shut down her Afro Touch — the state’s first salon dedicated solely to hair braiding — after the state implemented the braiding license.

“I want to grow my business, but it’s impossible with Louisiana’s rules,” Lynn said. Today, only one salon remains.

“Twenty-seven states require no license of any kind for hair braiding,” said IJ Senior Attorney Wesley Hottot. “A majority of states recognize that licensing braiders offers no public benefits, but causes real economic harms.”

However, many licensed braiders and cosmetologists caution against completely removing requirements, based on basic safety issues — including bloodborne pathogens and tool sanitization.

“This is scary as most Black women in braiding salons re-use weaving needles and do not use safety equipment in hair braiding salons and we are the highest rate of HIV, HCV and HPV contacting in Minnesota,” hairstylist Denise Jarett told Hype Hair. “Removing the education piece will only place Black women at even higher health risks.”

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is digital media director and online editor for Hype Hair. she is also founder of Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the number one beauty directory for women of color.