Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition Celebrates 3 Decades of the NYS Natural Hairstyling License by Fighting Deregulation

The trailblazing luminaries of the NHBC are powering the next wave of textured hair education, protections, and acceptance.

The protocols and safety measures put in place in the nineties elevated the science and art of braiding and gave people safer options for chemical-free services to embrace their natural texture.”

— Diane C. Bailey

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, June 8, 2023/ — In 1993, New York State passed its landmark Natural Hair Styling License, the first of its kind in the country. In honor of this monumental legislation, The Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition, Inc. (NHBC), a consortium of beauty and justice-focused professionals working to preserve the legacy of the natural hair license in NYS by creating an inclusive, diverse, hygienic, safe, and economically sustainable pathway for textured hair stylists, recognizes the accomplishments of the trailblazing alliance of natural beauty pioneers including Diane C. Bailey, Tulani Kinard, Ademola Mandela, Debra Hare-Bey, NYS Senator Valmonette Montgomery and legendary civil rights attorney Esmeralda Simmons who advocated for the very first license for Natural Hairstyling in New York State. Debra Hare-Bey and Diane C. Bailey, two of those original advocates, are still fighting to protect natural hair licensing amidst multiple deregulation attempts in the Empire State as part of the NHBC.

“The protocols and safety measures put in place in the nineties elevated the science and art of braiding and gave people safer options for chemical-free services to embrace their natural texture and express themselves culturally through their hair, says NHBC Co-President, author, and Master Pioneer Diane Bailey, “We need to move forward with strengthening the legacy we began in 1993, and ensure that people are no longer experiencing the same system that devalues natural hair. “It’s important that we reflect our culture.”

“ As a braider by choice, I never allowed lack of education to be a barrier for me, and it shouldn’t be a barrier for anyone to obtain a license,” says NHBC Executive Vice-President and Master Pioneer Debra Hare-Bey. “That’s why the NHBC is committed to creating an industry that makes education the foundation for all-natural hair care and braiding professionals. We’re creating opportunities to teach and empower customers and stylists alike.”

In 2021, the pair joined forces with textured hair master pioneer Diane Da Costa, Educator, NYS Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee Appointee Erin H. Maybin, and Emmy award-winning producer Natasha Gaspard along with the Center for Law and Social Justice, TCC Media, the NYC Black Political Women’s Club and Models of Color Matters to form the Natural Hairstyle and Braid Coalition to protect and update the existing license.

As we officially launch the NHBC to push for texture inclusion in the beauty industry, we’re excited to promote the necessary changes and solutions that ensure that everyone in the field feels represented and valued, says author and NHBC Co-President Diane Da Costa. “We’re providing much-needed advocacy, education, and networking opportunities for both stylists and the general public while working to eliminate bias and confusion and facilitate acceptance and appreciation in the textured hair space.”

After its formation, the NHBC immediately began working to stop deregulating attempts to the existing natural hair license. Members attended the NYSABPRHAL 2022 Annual Legislative Conference and introduced the ‘Save our Strands’ campaign to preserve the legacy of the Natural Hairstyling License. The coalition helped modify bill A4606/ S5116, proposing amendments in the 2022 legislative session to ensure that updates to the Natural Hair styling license didn’t undermine the spirit of the law or lead to deregulation. The Coalition worked with legislators to incorporate hair texture into cosmetology course curricula and update state board requirements. It also proposed an entry-level braider’s license.

In 2023, the Coalition continued its critical work advocating for professionals and consumers and advancing its ultimate mission: addressing the need for quality professional textured hair and braid education and preserving the legacy of the natural hair license in NYS, creating safe environments for consumers to receive educated professional haircare, and assisting other states in adopting frameworks that center inclusive, diverse, hygienic, safe and economically sustainable pathways for texture hairstyling professionals.

The Coalition has also created consumer and professional stylist surveys to gather statistical information on natural hair consumer behavior and never before statistically documented natural hair texture salons, braiding salons, and professional stylists. Learn more about the surveys here.

The Coalition has also sponsored several informative community events, including facilitating Hulu and OWN network Hair Tales Screening and Discussions (October 2022), In our Heads About our Hair documentary and panel discussion (March 2023), and the New York Beauty Suites Informational Sessions and Panel Discussions.


About NHBC

The Natural Hairstyle & Braid Coalition’s mission is to elevate the art & science of the natural hair care industry through education and legalization. Its vision is to empower the natural hair care industry by promoting education and advocating for sustainable practices and legislative policies on a global scale. We believe that by providing comprehensive education and resources to future and current professionals as well as consumers, we can transform the industry and promote healthy natural hair care practices worldwide. Its ultimate goal is to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all those who engage with our industry through four pillars: Advocacy, Education, Economic Pathway, and Community Health & Safety.

Diane C. Bailey Co-President, NHBC

Diane Da Costa Co-President, NHBC

Debra Hare-Bey, Executive Vice President, NHBC

Natasha Gaspard, Executive Vice President, NHBC Communications & Media

Erin H. Maybin, Executive Vice President, NHBC Education Development

Advisory Members:

Lurie Daniel-Favors, Executive Director, The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College

Imani Dawson, Principal, TCC Media

Nicole Doswell, Founder, Models of Color Matter

Jamila Pringle-Fynes, President, NYC Black Women’s Political Club

Imani Dawson
TCC Media
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