Hosey v. Ohio State Board of Cosmetology

Under Ohio law, it was illegal to braid hair without a cosmetology license. During the course of IJ’s litigation, the state legislature reformed the cosmetology laws creating a natural haircare license and the lawsuit was dismissed as moot.

Obtaining the license required 1,500 hours of cosmetology school. (Compare that to the 20 hours of training required to serve as a security guard with a firearm or the 130 hours of training to become an emergency medical technician, or even the 445 hours to become a police officer.)

Braiding is a skill usually passed down from generation to generation of African-American women. It is neither taught nor tested in state-approved cosmetology school. For hairbraiders and their advocates, requiring braiders to spend nine months in school and thousands of dollars to acquire a license to do what they already know how to do makes no sense.

In October 1997 Ohio braiders represented by the Institute for Justice filed a federal lawsuit challenging the irrational requirement that braiders obtain cosmetology licenses. In September 1998, the court rejected an attempt by the Cosmetology Board to dismiss the case.