Texas Hairbraiding Instruction

Brantley v. Kuntz
Should African hairbraiders have to build an entire barber college and become barbering instructors just to teach hairbraiding? Texas officials think so.


Isis Brantley

IJ Client Isis Brantley.

Texas hairbraiding instruction video
Watch IJ's video, "Handcuffed hairbraider sues in federal court for right to teach"


Isis Brantley is a widely recognized expert on African hairbraiding who wants to teach people to braid hair for a living in Dallas. But even with her decades of experience, Texas told Isis she must convert her modest hairbraiding school into a large barber college, and become a state-licensed barber instructor, before she can teach the next generation of African hairbraiders.

When the state of Texas began regulating hairbraiders in 2007, it wedged Texas’s hairbraiding license into the state’s barbering statute. As a result, to teach the 35-hour braiding curriculum Texas required, Isis Brantley had to do three useless things: (1) install ten barber chairs that she was not even required to use; (2) obtain at least 2,000 square feet of floor space she was not required to fill; and (3) mount five sinks (even though Texas braiders were prohibited from offering services that required a sink). Texas also told Isis Brantley she had to become a licensed barber school instructor, which meant spending up to 750 hours learning to teach barbering, and passing written and practical exams on barbering instruction.

But braiders aren’t barbers, and braiding instructors shouldn’t be forced to build barber schools or take classes from barbers. That is why on October 1, 2013, Isis joined with the Institute for Justice to file a federal lawsuit against Texas.

In January 2015, a federal court declared the three barber school requirements unconstitutional as applied to hairbraiding schools. This followed the previous repeal of the 750-hour instructor license for braiders a few months earlier, which the state had replaced with a 50-hour braiding instructor license.

In the wake of our victory in federal court, IJ and Isis Brantley worked in the Texas Legislature to completely deregulate the practice of natural hairbraiding. Those efforts proved successful. HB 2717 was passed unanimously by both the Texas House and Texas Senate. On June 10, 2015, the bill was signed into law and the practice of natural hairbraiding was fully deregulated in the Lone Star State.


Essential Background


Background on the Texas hairbraiding instruction case

Client Photo

Latest Release: Texas Hair Braiders Win Right to Open Braiding Schools (January 7, 2015)

Client Video

Launch Release: African Hairbraider Takes Texas To Federal Court Over Economic Liberty (October 1, 2013) 

Legal Briefs and Decisions

First Amended Complaint (September 9, 2014)

District Court Ruling (January 5, 2015)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


October 1, 2013

Court Filed:

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.






District Court Ruling (January 5, 2015)

Current Court:

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

Next Key Date:




Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

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Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Texas governor expected to sign law deregulating hair braiding ConsumerAffairs.com (June 8, 2015)
Article: Can Texas force hair-braiders to jump through hoops? Nope, says judge. Christian Science Monitor (January 12, 2015)
Article: African braid teacher has excellent hair day after judge's ruling Dallas Morning News (January 8, 2015)

Article: Judge rules Texas laws regulating schools that teach African hair braiding as unconstitutional Associated Press (January 8, 2015)

Article: Texas Tangled In Hair Braiding Controversy NPR (November 6, 2013)

Editorials: Des Moines Register’s Pulitzer Finalist series on licensing

Op-Ed: Hairbraiding Is the Latest Civil Rights Struggle Huffington Post (October 11, 2013)

Article: Is this Texas barber regulation unconstitutional? Washington Post (October 3, 2013)

Article: Dallas Hair Braider to Sue Over Regulations The Texas Tribune (October 1, 2013)



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