One of the first things us curly girls are often concerned about when going natural is wearing our natural hair in the workplace. Not only does the change in our look affect our friends and family, we also have to face our colleagues and our boss. The good news is there are numerous ways to style natural hairstyles for work at any industry that will work for any length and texture as well as your profession.
I’ve been natural since 2011 and from then until now, I’ve worked at the Boy Scouts of America to the healthcare field, to a local nonprofit agency in my city. I’ve experimented with different styles during the different stages of my journey, and I’ve noticed a few things regarding natural hair in the workplace. So let’s get right to it.
Natural Hair in Corporate America
Corporate America already has an inadequate understanding of Black culture in general; therefore its rigid environment is not conducive to expression of Black culture whether it’s clothing, hair, language or even food. (I’ll be focusing on hair in this blog post, of course.) Ideally, Black women would be able to freely wear their natural hair without criticism and without having their appearance deemed “unprofessional” but this is not always the case.
Black women know that when they chose to wear their hair natural they may be inundated with criticism, questions, requests to touch from coworkers or some horrible combination of all three. This is not only annoying, but can be draining, especially when Black women are having fun with the versatility of natural hair and choose to style it differently.
Some women find it easier to simply wear wigs and extensions or wear straight styles to avoid all of this. But if you prefer not to straighten your hair or cover it with extensions, you have options. Here are 3 styling options that are great for corporate workplaces. Since most of us don’t have lots of time to spend styling our hair before work, regardless of the type of job we have, these styles also relatively quick and easy protective styles…
1. Flat Twist Style
2. Classy & Elegant Low Bun
3. Twisted Pin Curls
Veteran vlogger PrettyDimples01 shares a great tutorial for pin curls.
Natural Hair in Nonprofits
Nonprofit workplaces generally do not have the same rigid environments as corporate workplaces, so you may be able to experiment with different styles and even colors. (I’ve even worked with people who wore multicolored hair without any issues.) In addition to the corporate styles listed above, feel free to rock your Afro whether it’s a twist out, braid out, Bantu knot out, wash n’ go or you used a styling tool like flexi rods. These styles are also great when it’s time to “Network with Natural Hair.”
Whether you’re attending networking receptions, awards ceremonies, conferences or work-related happy hours, these styles are already elegant and can be enhanced with simple hair accessories like flowers and decorative headbands. Also, if you have a job that requires you to keep your hair pulled back away from your face or pinned down for safety or hygienic reasons, these styles are good for that as well.
Natural Hair in Entertainment or the Arts
Lastly, for women who work in entertainment or are artists, there are virtually endless styles to explore that reflect your personality and personal style. Have fun with your hair! You can check out these articles with Ava Raiin (a singer in the music industry) and Nikia Phoenix (a model in the fashion industry).
Most importantly, remember that regardless of your profession, however you choose to wear your natural hair does not make you less professional.