“You’re going to work… like that?” As a CurlSista, you may have heard similarly posed questions. Despite the Natural Hair phenomenon that has come into existence, the age old question still stands: Is Natural Hair proper for the workplace? As a hairstylist, my natural curl type has been embraced and celebrated by people of all demographics, ethnicities and hair types. However, prior to entering the creative industry, I was questioned by some of the people closest to me about the stylings of my natural hair. “You can’t wear your hair all wild,” is a comment that I heard frequently before going on job interviews in corporate environments (as if the pressure of interviewing wasn’t enough). Interactions such as these really made me think deeply about whether natural hair was seen as acceptable in the workplace. Thinking about natural hair acceptance made me examine where a majority of the negative commentary about my natural hair originated. Sadly, more often times, negative comments received were implicitly stated by people of African American background whereas my hair was celebrated and seemingly envied by people of different cultures. Being that most of the apprehension behind natural hair in the workplace is fear that superiors of different ethnic backgrounds may be overwhelmed, may not understand or might not be accepting of a look that is so culturally definitive, it makes me wonder- could we be self conscious?
With a history stemming back to a pencil being stuck in your hair to seemingly determine your fate, natural hair in the African American community carries a heavier burden than most acknowledge. However, with the development of products, techniques and a plethora of styles targeting curly girls, the stigma of natural hair being deemed “inappropriate” in the work place should be a thing of the past. The question only lingers by a thread of insecurity. As CurlSistas continue to learn and love their hair, confidence can eradicate stigmas that attempt to come into play.
Hair is hair! Natural hair in the workplace is no different than relaxed. All hair must be managed and taken care of. Use of daily product to ensure that your hair looks its best is an absolute must. As a naturalista, find products that make your curls come to life. If you would like your curls to be structured and have more definition, try a twist out or a braid out before you head out to work. Giving a presentation and don’t want your curls to distract from your face? Try a style that’s slicked back and out of the way. Pull hair up into a “pineapple” so that your coworkers can see your shining face. Utilize finishing products on your edges to take away frizz and add shine. Too busy to bother? Style your hair in a twisted or braided updo on your day off that can last you throughout the work week. Let down your hair and rock a twistout just in time for the weekends!
Natural hair is never inappropriate because natural hair IS YOU. Never be afraid to rock what’s intrinsically yours. There’s no reason to fit in when you can stand out from the rest- allow your natural hair to help in defining who you are while working toward your career goals. What's your favorite natural hair style to wear to work?