A New Law Requires All Cosmetology Students in New York State Learn to Style Textured Hair

Jamaal T. Bailey

Originally published in Allure on .
Black Woman with Textured Hair

Ease is a concept not generally normalized in the Black community, especially when it comes to getting our hair done. From birth, we’re often told our natural textures are “bad” and “unmanageable,” notions many hair-care professionals of all races have long believed, much to our detriment. As a result, having the privilege of being able to walk into any salon and expect adequate service is unfathomable, even in 2023. Even more than a decade into the second wave natural hair movement. Even after the racial reckoning of 2020.

Things have slowly started to improve, however. For example, the CROWN Act — which makes race-based hair discrimination illegal — was first signed into law in California in July 2019. Since then, 23 states, including New York, have joined the movement. Now, New York State is continuing the momentum with a new law that requires all cosmetology schools in the region to make natural hair education a part of the general curriculum.

“It's not only common sense, it’s the right thing to do,” New York State SenatorJamaal T. Bailey, who introduced Bill S6528A in April, tells Allure. “It's personal.”

How have cosmetology schools gotten a pass for such blatant exclusion for this long? And how will this new law help to create more inclusive salons? We speak with Sen. Bailey, New York State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, who carried the legislation in the Assembly, and a few hair-care professionals to find out more.

What You Need to Know About Bill S6528A

Bill S6528A’s main goal is to diversify cosmetology school education in order to equip all students — regardless of race — with the knowledge to work across every hair texture. As the bill states, graduates should have the ability to provide styling and hair-care 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.”

Introduced in April, Bill S6528A was officially signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on November 17, and will take full effect in approximately six months. This gives cosmetology schools in New York State time to adapt their courses and overall curriculums to ensure they’re in alignment with the new law, Sen. Bailey explains.

“When we talk about mental health and how we feel," says Sen. Bailey, "I think that we should understand that hair care and personal care are a part of that overall feeling of wellness.”