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5/23/2017 Rep. Williams’ bill that exempts natural hair braiders from cosmetology license passes House
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2017-H 5436) that would exempt natural hair braiders from the state’s requirement for hairdressers and cosmeticians to be licensed with the state passed the House of Representatives tonight.

“There are many natural hair braiders in the state who are struggling with the overburdening regulations and licensing fees in order to make a living from their craft,” said Representative Williams.  “Without the presence of possibly toxic chemicals in the braiding process, there is no need to take more money out of the pockets of these hardworking women and men who work with hair in a natural and safe way.”

According to the legislation, natural hair braiding is a service of twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending, locking, or braiding hair by hand or with mechanical devices.  Natural hair braiding includes the use of natural or synthetic hair extensions, natural or synthetic hair and fibers, decorative beads, and other hair accessories; minor trimming of natural hair or hair extensions incidental to twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending, locking, or braiding hair; the use of topical agents such as conditioners, gels, moisturizers, oils, pomades, and shampoos in conjunction with hair braiding; the making of wigs from natural hair, natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and hair extensions; and mechanical devices mean clips, combs, crochet hooks, curlers, curling irons, hairpins, rollers, scissors, blunt-tipped needles, thread, and hair binders.

Natural hair braiding does not include the 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; or the use of chemical hair joining agents such as synthetic tape, keratin bonds, or fusion bonds.
"For centuries, natural hair braiding has been a common practice for African and African American women.  Hair braiding skills and techniques come naturally.  Natural hair braiding is an art form, limited only by the braider’s creativity and does not require any kind of formal training.   Forcing natural hair braiders to meet the same licensing requirements as cosmetologists is a clear injustice,” added Representative Williams.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903