Bullock, Young natural hair braider bill passes PA House

HARRISBURG, March 18 – A bill (H.B. 1820) introduced by state Reps. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and Regina Young, D-Delaware/Phila., that would create a license exemption for natural hair braiding passed the PA House unanimously today.

The legislation would exempt hair braiders from having to obtain a cosmetology license to practice braiding.

“Natural hair braiding has been commonplace in the African American community for centuries,” Bullock said. “The techniques have been passed from generation to generation and are learned from early childhood and do not require formal training to do. Natural hair braiding does not involve any chemical treatments, applying heat, cutting or coloring of hair.”

More than 33 states have exempted hair braiders from licensing laws, recognizing that natural hair braiding is a safe, cultural practice that is distinct from hairdressing and barbering.

Last year, a Commonwealth Court determined that the state’s licensing requirements for natural hair braiding were unreasonable.

“Natural hair braiding doesn’t require formal training and continues to be a technique used often within the African American community,” Young said. “This legislation recognizes natural hair braiding as a safe and natural cultural practice that should not require license to practice. Natural hair braiding requires simply this: a comb, a brush and a head full of hair to work with.”

The bill now goes to the PA Senate for consideration.