This report supplements our 2016 study Barriers to Braiding: How Job-Killing Licensing Laws Tangle Natural Hair Care in Needless Red Tape. That study investigated whether (1) braiding licenses keep people out of work and (2) braiding poses risks that justify occupational licensing. This report uses data from Illinois that we intended to include in Barriers to Braiding but were not available at the time. We finally obtained the data—complaints filed regarding Illinois hair braiders—after a four-and-a-half-year freedom-of-information legal battle with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. While severely limited, the data demonstrate that in Illinois, as in the other states studied in Barriers to Braiding, braiding is overwhelmingly safe. It remains true that braiding licenses do little more than prevent people from earning an honest living.

Related Cases