African Hair Braider challenges Utah cosmetology scheme
by R. Asmerom
Should you need a license to braid hair? The state of Utah thinks so but the Utah Barber, Cosmetologist/Barber, Esthetician, Electrologist, and Nail Technician Licensing Board will have to soon argue its rationale in court as hairbraider Jestina Clayton has initiated a lawsuit to challenge the rules. Currently, a hair braider must get a license, like all other cosmetologists, by taking 2,000 hours of classes. Everyone knows that hair braiding does not involve chemicals or excessive heat so is there a good reason why hair braiders should also be regulated?
Tim Keller, executive director of IJ-Arizona, told the Moral Liberal that licensing requirements are not completely directed by the interests of consumers. “By forcing hairbraiders to get an expensive license, cosmetology schools are guaranteed tuition-paying students and licensed cosmetologists are protected from competition, forcing consumers to pay more,” he said. According to BusinessWeek, California, Arizona and eight other states exempt braiders from cosmetology laws. In 2005, Mississippi overturned a requirement similar to that of Utah’s and now allow professional braiders to take a self-guided test and pay a $25 fee. Clayton, a native of Sierra Leone, hopes that the archaic laws will be repealed as she believes they are born out of ignorance for the process of hairbraiding and infringe on her rights as an entrepreneur.