Navigating the Professional World with Natural Hair

When I first started job hunting in my senior year my mom gave me some advice. She told me to wear a wig. A straight wig. “To look more professional”.

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My mom wasn’t wrong for giving me that advice. There have been numerous studies that show curly hair (not just kinky curly either) is more likely to be seen as unprofessional than straight hair.

That’s absolute bullshit in my opinion.

But if we’re going to change minds the first step is to proudly embrace our natural texture in all circumstances. At my new company I pretty much exclusively rock my natural hair. Every now and then I wear a wig but it’s not because I feel pressure to, it’s because I simply want to change up my look.

I don’t like to wear my fro because 1) it dries out fast in the office air and 2) I have to wear a hairnet in our sterile area and as anyone with a big fro will tell you, it’s a damn hassle trying to fit all that in a hat or cap.

Below you’ll find some tips and my favorite hairstyles for the workplace.

High Bun

This is probably the easiest style in this list by far. I’m a lazy natural. So when I make a bun I try to keep it in for days. Maintaining my edges as necessary.

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Faux Locs

This is one of my favorite protective styles. But this is time consuming to initiate. If you have a day to spare, you should definitely try it. The style last for weeks so it’s also convenient and saves you time in the mornings.

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Box Braids

This style is another easy one but it still takes some time. All you need to know how to do is braid. What’s the most time consuming is the hair prep, the styling itself doesn’t take that long.

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Workplace Hair Care Tips

  • Keep a leave in spray at work. The office air can wreak havoc on natural textures. This will allow you to keep your hair moisturized while pulling 60 hour weeks.
  • DRINK YOUR WATER, SIS! Water is your hairs best friend. When you’re hydrated so is your hair. Keep water bottles on your desk if you need a visual reminder (I do, so I keep two big reusable bottles by my work phone)
  • Keep a head wrap in your desk. Maybe I’ve lucked out but my company is mad chill about headwraps, hair color, etc. I have 100% worn a wrap when my hair just did not want to cooperate. I even got compliments from my coworkers on it! If your company is understanding I suggest you do the same. You never know when your high bun is gonna just give up on you.

But with all this said just remember one thing. Your natural texture is not unprofessional. You are a lioness and your mane reflects that.

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