All new hairdressers will now learn to work with Afro and textured hair after a recent review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for hairdressing to reflect the needs of the UK’s diverse community.
Up until this point, there has been no compulsory requirements for hairdressing students to be educated on cutting and styling Afro and textured hair, leaving this demographic largely uncatered for.
This is just the first stage in this long-overdue change, the next step is for awarding organisations to review their qualifications and align the curriculum content with the new inclusive standard.
The NOS are not just specific to hairdressing – they cover all beauty sectors and can now be used as a basis for many of the qualifications taught.
The key changes within the June 2021 update focuses on ensuring salons, spas, therapists and stylists take an inclusive approach to beauty in terms of race, gender, physical and mental health conditions, looking at the person rather than the identity.
The British Beauty Council has been instrumental in pushing for the change. Two years ago, it set up a taskforce in conjunction with the Hair & Beauty Industry Authority (Habia) to support the revised National Occupational Standards, which form the nationally recognised practice standards of the job role and the basis of many competency qualifications across the UK.
Commenting on the new standards, Helena Grzesk, chief operating officer at The British Beauty Council says she is delighted that the new NOS for hairdressing finally embed all hair types, including wavy, curly and coily in one standard.
Helena adds: “We share Habia’s belief that the hair and beauty industry can and should be truly inclusive, but until now, tens of thousands of hairdressers have no qualifications in cutting and styling afro and textured hair. We have supported the industry and Habia, ever since we launched in 2018, for the standards to reflect and represent the diverse range of hair types and textures of clients across the hair and beauty sector. Our aim is to amplify and celebrate the voices of all the communities the industry serves to ensure each and every one of us feels seen, heard, valued and excited to engage with the beauty industry. We are naturally delighted that the new standards have now been approved.”
Joan Scott, chair of Habia says: “The change to the standards is not just about hair – it is about having the knowledge to treat anybody that walks through the door be it with life issues, disability or hairstyle. But cutting and styling different hair types was such a key part of the review. Afro and textured hair is now embedded, with all hair types, within one national practice standard and going forward will just be part of what hairdressers do. The next step is for the awarding organisations to pick up that baton and include it in all their qualifications.”