• Angela C. Erickson
    Former Senior Research Analyst

African-style hair braiding is a time-tested and natural craft. Yet most states force braiders to get a government license and take hundreds or even thousands of hours of classes to work legally. This study finds that such onerous licensing has nothing to do with protecting public health and safety. Instead, it just keeps braiders out of work. These results join a growing body of research that finds the costs of licensing often outweigh any purported benefits. To help put more people back to work, policymakers can and should eliminate needless licensing barriers for braiders and other workers.

Read our 2019 report Barriers to Braiding: Illinois Analysis, which analyzes data that we intended to include in our original Barriers to Braiding study but were not available at the time.

This report finds:

  • Braiding is safe—in states with strict licensing and in states without.
  • Stricter licensing means fewer braiders.

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