Hair-Braiding Bill Offers Regulatory Compromise

May 2, 2010  |  

(AP) — Oumou Wague has been braiding hair in her Chicago shop for more than a decade, carrying on a tradition passed down for generations in her native Senegal. To braiders, her talent for weaving women’s hair into elaborate styles isn’t just a livelihood, it’s an art form.  But in the eyes of state regulators, it’s also illegal.

Illinois requires hair braiders to get a cosmetology degree — which can take 1,500 hours and cost $15,000 — and then apply for a license, just like people who give haircuts, manicures and facials. Proponents say the rules are needed to protect consumers if they develop problems such as hair loss or have service complaints.

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