Natural Hair Care Act Passes Final Hurdle In Oregon Legislature

Natural Hair Care Act Passes Final Hurdle In Oregon Legislature


By Albany Tribunee — (May 23, 2013)

A bill that will remove unnecessary and burdensome barriers for practitioners of natural hair care passed the Oregon Senate with an 18-11 vote with one excused. House Bill 3409B defines natural hair care as a practice separate from barbering or hair design.

The bill allows the Board of Cosmetology to establish rules governing the practice of natural hair care and authorizes the Oregon Health Licensing Agency to process applications and renewals and administer other functions related to natural hair care licensure.

Natural hair care consists of the braiding, cornrowing, extending, lacing, locking, sewing, twisting, weaving or wrapping of human hair, natural fibers, synthetic fibers or hair extensions through the use of hands or simple devices such as clips, combs, hairpins or needle and thread.

Natural hair care does not include the use of chemicals, coloring, or perm, or even the cutting of hair.

Oregon law currently requires individuals seeking to practice natural hair care to obtain a full cosmetology license, which requires roughly 1,500 hours of education and can cost up to $17,000. Most cosmetology schools do not require coursework in natural hair care, often only offering natural hair care as an elective course.

“House Bill 3409 is a simple bill that will be a huge help to aspiring small business owners by easing restrictions on those who perform natural hair care” said Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland).

Oregon is one of only seven states which impose overly burdensome requirements on the practice of natural hair care. Eleven states already exempt braiders from cosmetology licensing, including Washington and California. Additionally, several other states have passed legislation with the intention of easing the burden for natural hair care practitioners.

“House Bill 3409 seeks to put Oregon on a middle road, such as Florida and Kansas have done, by creating a new, modified license, under the Board of Cosmetology, that limits the scope of practice to just natural hair care and requires proof of knowledge of health and safety standards” said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, Co-Chief sponsor of the bill. “This cheaper, modified license will reduce barriers to employment and create pathways for Oregonians to practice legally and safely in our state.”

The bill now goes to Governor John A. Kitzhaber for his signature.