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Textured Hair Law Transforms Beauty Education in New York

Published January 2, 2024
Published January 2, 2024
Good Faces via Unsplash

According to the Texture Education Collective, 65% of the world's consumer population has textured hair, comprising a market of one billion people. Despite this large number, education surrounding textured hair is severely limited in most states, and those with specific hair types often need help finding the correct services for their needs. In the high-fashion industry alone, 65% of BIPOC models have experienced a hairstylist who was unable to cater to their hair texture.

The frustration of those with textured hair is shared by hairstylists, 75% of whom report they want more education and training surrounding different hair types. The Texture Education Collective, founded by beauty names including Aveda, L'Oréal USA, and Neill, has been working to implement laws and regulations to overcome this issue. After successfully implementing textured hair legislation in Louisiana earlier this year, the collective has introduced the law in New York (Bill S6528A), requiring Cosmetology State Board licensing to include training, education, and testing on all hair types and textures.

Bill S6528A was mandated by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, who signed the legislation, and sponsored by New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey and New York State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages. The legislation's goal is to diversify the education system in current cosmetology schools to equip all students, regardless of race, with the information required to work with every known hair texture. The bill states that all graduates should be able to give haircare and styling services “to individuals with all hair types and textures, including, but not limited to, various curl or wave patterns, hair strand thicknesses, and volumes of hair.”

The new law is being celebrated as a progressive step towards truly inclusive beauty in New York. "As a woman with textured hair, this achievement holds a special significance for me. It's a victory for diversity, inclusion, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of their hair type, receives the attention and expertise they deserve in the salon,” says Solages. “I am proud to have played a part in making the cosmetology field more representative and empowering for individuals with diverse hair textures. I thank Governor Hochul and Senator Bailey, PBA, and TEC for working on this transformative step forward for the cosmetology industry.”

The bill is set to take full effect within the next six months, giving cosmetology schools in New York State adequate time to alter their courses and curriculum to ensure they align with the new requirements.

“Hair is deeply personal. As a proud husband to my wife and father of two young girls, I want them to feel confident and beautiful when it comes to their uniquely textured hair—and in all the ways it is inextricably linked to our well-being, personal identity, and how we show up in the world,” adds Senator Bailey. “Individuals with hair of all textures deserve to feel welcomed, understood, and safe when seeking haircare services. The current standards in the cosmetology industry often do not adequately prepare professionals to work with diverse hair textures.”

The law is not the first progressive step towards textured hair inclusion that New York has taken. In 2017, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow signed legislation that required New York to add a professional hairstylist to the state Appearance Enhancement Committee. The professional was required to advise on textured hair across the board, which counsels the secretary of state on matters relating to the appearance-enhancement industry.

As every state has its own Cosmetology Licensing Board that develops its own testing and practical examinations that students must pass to be granted a cosmetology license, it is incumbent on the state representatives to ensure the progressive law is put into effect and is able to make a real change. For example, before the bill was passed in Louisiana earlier this year, the state's cosmetology board, which was developed in the 1950s, was entirely void of any information surrounding textured hair.

While the legislation has already begun to make change in Louisiana, and is sure to do so in New York, there are still several states that lack any form of texture education requirement. The Texture Education Collective aims to continue its work to achieve such results and encourages those supporting its cause to sign its petition to include textured hair education nationwide.

“What we do as professionals in the beauty space has a profound impact on people’s lives. The beauty industry is a force for good in our world and is coming together in a way that it hasn’t before to make sure that these education standards are implemented throughout the country,” concludes Edwin Neill, Chief Executive Officer of the Neill Corporation and President of Aveda Arts & Sciences.


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