People who want to learn how to perform natural hair care services or have their skills recognized can soon become certified practitioners in Nova Scotia.

The Black Beauty Culture Hair Innovator is now a voluntary trade under the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency will offer apprenticeship technical training starting later this year.

"Hair care is an important part of culture in many communities, including people of African descent. I am grateful communities took the time to participate in consultation and engagement sessions to share why they believe a voluntary trade program for natural hair care service providers is important," said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. "With the designation of Black Beauty Culture Hair Innovator as a trade, existing practitioners and those new to the occupation will have access to a training program and will be able to have their skills formally recognized through trade certification."

Natural hair care practitioners consult on, design and perform natural hair care services typically associated with, but not limited to, people of African descent.

Practitioners analyze the client's hair and scalp; style, such as with braids, locs and twists; and incorporate extensions, weaves, hairpieces and wigs. Services may also include incidental cutting, straightening, curling and hair drying. Natural hair care services do not include the use of chemicals.

The apprenticeship board approved an application for establishing a new voluntary trade after it followed its standard process of establishing a trade advisory committee to develop the scope of the occupation. Consultation sessions were held with African Nova Scotian communities and organizations and industry professionals to determine the level of support for this trade.

The Black Beauty Culture Hair Innovator trade addresses a need for training in the delivery of natural hair care services. As a voluntary trade, people may choose to participate in the program and receive certification, but certification by the agency or any other regulatory body is not required for individuals to provide natural hair care services in Nova Scotia.


"The designation of Black Beauty Culture Hair Innovator (natural hair care practitioner) is a greater accomplishment than I could ever imagine or have done on my own. My late father, Samuel Dixon Sr., represents the fortitude, determination and adaptability that strengthened me throughout this journey. It is time for Black Nova Scotians and all those who will be trained and receive these hair care services to be recognized and cared for. In the spirit of the Viola Desmond Studio of Beauty Culture in the 1940s, individuals seeking to have their hair styled using natural hair care practices will have greater access to this type of styling in their own communities."

     - Samantha Dixon-Slawter, trade applicant and co-founder, Black Beauty Culture Association

"The apprenticeship board is very pleased to designate Black Beauty Culture Hair Innovator as a voluntary trade in Nova Scotia. Community engagement was an essential part of the application process to ensure that those currently delivering and receiving these services had their voices heard. We heard that specialized training and access to specialized hair care services is important to individuals and communities who will require these services, and it's also important for cultural practices and styles."

     - Brad Smith, Chair, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

"Hair is significant to the cultural and personal identity for people of African descent. It is important for natural hair practitioners to not only understand the various types of textures, treatments and styles, but the history, sensitivity and symbolism linked to people of African decent. This voluntary trade program recognizes the cultural identity of our community."

     - Dwayne Provo, Associate Deputy Minister, African Nova Scotian Affairs

Quick Facts:

  • The minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration is responsible for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, a special operating agency designated under the Public Service Act.
  • The board designated the trade on April 14 following an application by the Black Beauty Culture Association in 2019.
  • The association conducted a number of community engagement sessions to determine need and level of support as part of the application process.
  • The apprenticeship agency engaged the Black Business Initiative to consult with industry representatives and other interested parties on the proposed trade certification.


Media Contact:

Monica MacLean
Labour, Skills and Immigration
Cell: 902-220-0358