Yesha Callahan

Texas Hair Braiding Laws Ruled Unconstitutional; Hair Braiders Win Right to Open Braiding Schools


Isis Brantley (Photo Courtesy Institute for Justice)


Over the past year, Natural Hair Stylist Isis Brantley has been fighting to teach hair braiding in the state of Texas. Now, A federal judge has finally ruled in her favor.

Brantley, who runs a hair braiding business sued the state in 2013 stating that the laws related to her hair braiding school were ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unconstitutional.’

Texas law would have required Brantley to set up a 2,000-square-foot barber college, with 10 sinks and reclining barber chairs. As well as require her to take and pay for hundreds of hours of courses and acquire licenses she wouldn’t need or use in order to be certified to provide students the necessary classroom hours for a hair-braiding license.

“This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn’t need, all to teach a 35-hour hairbraiding curriculum.” — Isis Brantley’s 2013 Institute for Justice Statement

According to Dallas News, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled that the state of Texas violated Brantley’s 14th Amendment right to due process by setting unreasonable and irrational requirements for her to teach braiding. Sparks also said that the regulations excluded Brantley from the market “absent ‘a rational connection with … fitness or capacity to engage in’ hair braiding instruction.”

Sparks found the various rules requiring Texas hair braiding schools to become fully equipped barber colleges “irrational,” citing licensed braiding salons don’t need sinks because washing hair is not involved in the braiding process.

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” said Brantley. “This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

“It is the first time that hair-braiding schools have been addressed by the federal courts and the third time that African hair braiding has been handled in the federal court system,” said Brantley’s attorney, Arif Panju. It has broad implications. These are economic regulations, and it’s unconstitutional to require entrepreneurs to do useless things. … Texas was not only preventing African hair-braiding schools from even opening, but it was also violating the 14th Amendment. This ruling is a resounding victory for Isis Brantley and entrepreneurs like her across Texas,” Panju said. “It is unconstitutional to require people to do useless things.”

Photo Courtesy Institute for Justice

  1. January 8, 2015 - Reply

    Well I’m happy! #smallVictories

  2. January 8, 2015 - Reply

    While I agree that braiding schools not be required to be full time barber colleges, I do believe that at the least some type of hair care certification laws need to be implemented. I’ve seen too many people lose their hair because someone from a ‘braiding salon’ installed them too tightly, did not take into consideration the condition of the clients’ hair or scalp, or did not at least offer some type of consultation prior to installing the braids. Braiding is an art, but everyone who has a ‘salon’ does not necessarily know what they’re doing besides installing the braids.

    • January 8, 2015 - Reply


      ITA. I am afraid of going to any African braid salon, because no matter how much I ask them not to braid to tightly, esp along the hairline, they persist in doing so. Its still buyer beware in the hair care arena.

      • January 8, 2015 - Reply

        @Coil del Rey

        @Coil del Rey: I know right, and they have an attitude. I don’t want my edges torn up anymore than they are.

  3. January 8, 2015 - Reply

    This is GREAT!! NYC has a Natural Hairstylist Certification but almost NOBODY keeps the class. Braids/Locs/Twists/Weaving. I got mine in 2012 and prior to that I was forwarded to several Barber schools. Thank GOD I found Beval International. But due to it’s location, Baldwin, L.I, the owner could not get a lot of enrollment. We graduated a class of 3, then she closed the school. This is a VICTORY for braiders!!!

  4. January 8, 2015 - Reply

    I wish the best for Sister Isis Brantley’s braiding business.

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