New York State requires all cosmetology schools to include education about textured hair in their curriculum. The bill, introduced in April by New York State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey, was signed into law on Nov. 17. It will go into effect in about six months.

Cosmetology graduates should be able to style and provide hair care services “to individuals with all hair types and textures, including, but not limited to, various curl or wave patterns, hair strand thicknesses, and volumes of hair,” the bill indicates.

Schools must update their curricula to meet this new law’s requirements. They will be supported by the Professional Beauty Association’s Texture Education Collective to make these changes, Myra Reddy, the director of government affairs at PBA, told Allure. Materials, resources and guidance will be provided as the state board exam will be updated. Traditional mannequins and hair models must be more diverse for students to receive hands-on training.

Schools that don’t comply with the new law could face civil penalties.

New York State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said the law was necessary for inclusion and against discrimination related to textured hair.

“It became clear that more concrete steps were necessary to address the specific challenges faced by individuals with textured hair,” she told the beauty news outlet. “The introduction of Bill S6528A was a response to the ongoing need for diversity and inclusion in the cosmetology industry, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their hair type, receives the attention and expertise they deserve in salons.”

Historically, cosmetology schools haven’t been inclusive of teachings surrounding textured hair. 

“The exclusion of texture from the general curriculum is a direct result of the salon’s history of segregation,” Keya Neal, a former hairstylist, told Allure.

She mentions a lack of inclusion of people of color in textbooks, which often focus on straight or slightly wavy hair.

“This set the industry’s tone and standard in relation to texture, inclusion, and race,” she added.

Supporters of the law hope it inspires other states to follow suit.

“The momentum of this law, coupled with its implementation, will serve as a blueprint for other states hopefully to swiftly adopt similar laws,” Reddy said. 

She noted that the law acknowledges that people of color should feel comfortable entering any hair salon.

“Embracing the idea that all individuals are worthy of professional services that are safe, provided in a sanitary environment by a trained and licensed individual feels necessary,” Reddy said. “We are all deserving of equal access to hair-care services.”