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New changes in how your hair dresser conducts him or herself may be in effect across the board because Chi-town is already in full effect. So the fact that Illinois legislators passed a law in late April requiring braiders to obtain specialized training and a license may offer some patrons comfort. This could reduce all of the head patting to sooth the pains of super tight braids that make your eyes water then your scalp is being tortured I mean pulled into place.

At the very least, the new requirement “will help set a standard. This can be viewed as an upgrade in professionalism for the hair industry.

The bill, expected to be signed by the governor in coming weeks, will require existing hair braiders who have shown they have practiced their craft for at least two years to get a license for a fee. That means your cousin, Pookie and em’ from around the way, and even your homegirl that hooks up the heads of all the cute boys with braids on campus for $10 better get their paper work straight or beware. Going forward, those who are new to the industry will be able to obtain a license after 300 hours of training in braiding and creating intricate styles, as well as sanitation.

Prior to the bill, hair braiders were subject to the more rigorous standards of traditional hair stylists, estheticians and barbers who only can obtain a license after receiving a degree, taking up to 1,500 hours and costing $15,000. There are more than 60,000 cosmetologists in the state of Illinois.

The hair-braiding shop owners, many of whom are African and black American women, saw the current law as unreasonable. They ignored it because they had learned the ancient braiding craft as young girls and perfected it through the years. State regulators didn’t see it the same way and started shutting down many of the shops that can be found mostly on the South and West Sides of Chicago.

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