Jefferson City, Mo.—On Friday, legislation to create a new stand-alone braiding license was signed into law, finally allowing natural, African-style hair braiders in Missouri to practice their art without the tremendous burden of acquiring an irrelevant cosmetology license. A state cosmetology license requires 1,500 hours of training that teaches nothing about African-style hair braiding, and the average cost of tuition at a cosmetology school in Missouri is nearly $12,000. In contrast, the new license will require that braiders pay a fee of $20, watch a four to six-hour instructional video and submit to board inspections. The requirement that braiders obtain a cosmetology license before they can practice their craft is the subject of a current lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice (IJ).
“The new braiding license is a dramatic improvement from Missouri’s incredibly burdensome requirement that African-style braiders waste a thousand or more hours and spend tens of thousands of dollars to obtain a full cosmetology license, just to braid hair,” said IJ’s Dan Alban, the lead attorney for the braiders. “Rep. Shamed Dogan has been tireless in his commitment to pushing forward on braiding freedom bills over several years. Missouri’s natural hair braiders are extremely grateful that Rep. Dogan kept fighting for their right to earn a living and provide for their families, particularly after more than a decade of failed legislative reforms.”