NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Also, are cosmetology licensing requirements for braiders important? The state of Texas thinks so. Hair braiders? Not so much.
A Dallas hair braider continues a federal legal battle over the issues. Its outcome could have a far- reaching impact as East Texas News found out when she looked into the popularity of braiding.
African braiding, weaving, corn rows - they're all forms of hair braiding. The practice is centuries old, but right now braided hair extensions are popular.
"The human hair lasts longer than the synthetic," said Sonja Woodson, a cosmetologist.
It's used to create elaborate hairstyles for women and men of all ethnicities.
"They're just called boxed braids," said Kara Williams, an SFA student.
What's surprising is a lot of wearers don't go to salons for the do's.
Responding to a question about who does her hair, Williams said, "This girl named Taylor."
Williams explained the person who does her hair works out of her own home. The going price for each hair braiding job is $100, she said.
Braiding salons are available, but braiders who work there are required to follow state licensing laws. For some reason, management of one Nacogdoches salon wanted no part of this story.
However, at Design Line, cosmetologist Sonja Woodson gave us a braiding demonstration.
Woodson no longer braids professionally. The repetition is too painful on the veteran hairstylist's hands, but she remembers the talent helped her pay for cosmetology school.
"I did braids, and I did it at home," Woodson said. "I was younger then, but that's what I did, so I don't really think we should have to go through the cosmetology hours to do it because the only thing we're doing is braiding hair."
But the state requires a 35-hour license for braiding. A professional Dallas hair braider objects to the rules, as well as the law that instruction must occur in a barber school which is also subject to strict and expensive regs, says the braider.
"It's important that we change the law so everybody else can be treated fairly," said hair braider Isis Brantley in a You Tube video.
The movement for change contends it will release more braiders from the confines of their homes and into more lucrative opportunities.
Woodson likes the idea even though she doesn't have to go far to get her braids.
"My daughter did it for me, at home," Woodson said.
We did attempt to speak to several home hair braiders, but they were concerned about repercussions.
It's important to know, a person can still legally braid someone's hair without a license, just as long as it's not done in the fashion of running a business.