UK Hairdressers Now Have to Learn to Cut and Style Textured Hair — and It's About Time

It’s long been known that better education for textured and natural hair is needed in the beauty industry, and now, UK hairdressers are making that a priority.

Following the continued support from many prominent figures within the hair and beauty industry, including the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) and the British Beauty Council’s extensive campaigning for a more inclusive UK hairdressing industry, it’s been announced that cutting and styling Afro and textured hair will now be standard for hairdressers and hairdressing students as reported in June’s National Occupational Standards (NOS) For Hairdressing guidelines. Afro and textured hair will now be included into one cutting and styling practice standard for all hair types, which comes after calls for more inclusivity.

“The British Beauty Council is delighted that through the formation of our task force to support the revised NOS in collaboration with HABIA, we have been instrumental in pushing for this important change to represent all hair types in one standard,” Helena Grzesk, the chief operating officer for the British Beauty Council, told POPSUGAR. (The British Beauty Council was founded in 2018 as a way to represent the voices, opinions, and needs of the British beauty industry, including hairdressing and cosmetics.) “We have supported the industry and HABIA ever since we launched and have campaigned for the standards to reflect and represent the diverse range of hair types and textures of clients across the hair and beauty sector.”

Prior to this change, hairdressers have not been required to specialize in the cutting and styling of Afro and textured hair, despite there being so many people with these hair types. Many natural-haired consumers have had to go out of their way to find hairdressers that could cater to them, not even just for protective styling like braids but for washes and blow-drys, too.

“The minute you come out of London and you go to university towns, there’s nothing,” Jessica Parrish, the founder of the curly-hair product range Shedid & Parrish, told POPSUGAR in an interview back in March. “One of my friend’s nieces, for example, who worked with us on the trials for the Shedid & Parrish products, she was in Brighton at university, and she had to go to Peckham to get her hair done in advance of going because she couldn’t get her hair sorted when she was at school. And you think, this is crazy.” Crazy, yes, but also unacceptable, and something that will hopefully change with the introduction of these new guidelines.

“I am so glad that we are moving in the right direction, now that the standards have come into play with such an important step,” said award-winning hairstylist and founder of the Ebony Doll Braiding Head Dionne Smith. “I hope that this paves the way for more education, as working with natural hair textures is just as important as working on other types of hair.”

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