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A federal judge ruled last week that the state’s requirement that Jestina Clayton get a cosmetology license to braid hair was “unconstitutional and invalid” because regulations are irrelevant to the profession.

Ms. Clayton, 30, sued last year after she found it would be illegal to run a hair-braiding business without a license. She said she learned how to braid hair as a 5-year-old in her West African home country of Sierra Leone, and she was doing it at her suburban Salt Lake City home to support her three children while her husband finishes school.

U.S District Judge David Sam in Salt Lake City said Utah’s cosmetology licensing requirements are so disconnected from hair-braiding “that to premise Jestina’s right to earn a living by braiding hair on that scheme is wholly irrational and a violation of her constitutionally protected rights.”

Judge Sam said the state couldn’t prove a cosmetology license for hair-braiding is needed to protect public health.

From wire dispatches and staff reports