Natural Hair At Work: 6 Best Practices To Remain Professional

Young african american doctor with a stethoscope.Back in March, the Huffington post did an article surrounding the topic that black women worry that their natural hair might be affecting job retention and job employment.

They made reference to a panel discussion that took place at Georgia State University entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place” and one statement made by a student at GSU read something like this:

You’re talking about being polished and (having) interview skills and yet no one is addressing the fact that natural black hair has been traditionally seen as not polished on its own whether it’s well cared for or not. So basically it’s all about maintaining the Eurocentric standpoint.

In an article written and published on BGLH by Domineque Michelle otherwise known as LonghairdontcareLLC on youtube, she shared her own experience at work where her boss told her she ‘had to wear her hair organised’.

I could go on and on with the examples because like many of us with natural hair, at one time or another we are all faced with the ‘should I wear a bun all day everyday so I don’t scare em, or can I roll with my signature puff?’ This is a hard topic with many opinions, on both ends of the scale.

Women with natural hair want to wear there hair how it naturally grows out of their head, on another end of the scale, how our hair grows especially if worn in an afro type style is seen as ‘political’ or unprofessional by some people.

Further to that there are other situations where your natural hair could actually interfere with your work. For instance, if you work in an environment where your hair has to be covered like food preparation industries or operating rooms, it’s just not reasonable to expect to wear your hair ‘out and free’.

Among the opinions here are some best practices we can adopt in order to remain professional within our various places of employment while being true to our natural roots.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  • Bettina

    2 years in and I’m just tired of it all… sigh…

  • BiscuitBunny

    The political Afro point irked me I have to say. That whole idea feeds into the Eurocentric ignorance of black hair/ people being frozen in a time of heightened racial politics. I highly doubt that most people I meet (Afro/Caribs included) know who Angela Davis is! my hair is not very long compared to some, so its not going to be very big- and heck, I can tie it down to make it sit lower. I hate having to call my hair ‘something’- every other race has hair. Yet I have to call mine an Afro, like I’m naming a pet dog. If I had lots of hair it would stand out very wide- I would tie that back or down, I don’t like hair on my neck or around my ears very much.

  • froyo11

    RE the political afro–
    Even though I don’t feel free to wear my hair in a (large) afro to an interview, I’m not upset about it BECAUSE I’m so optimistic about the future. Things are changing! I honestly think my kids or at least their kids will feel just about free to wear afros whenever they want! And I’m happy about it.

    Don’t despair!

    • Dawn

      We don’t have to be stuck with anything we don’t want. Movement has political overtones as well as the basic meaning of moving. If we want to we could use various words such as: acceptance, evolving, re-emergence. All these words also have overtones and undertones, which could lead to different levels of discussion.

  • Really shouldn’t matter how your wear your natural hair as long as its not in other people’s way. Sometimes wearing a bun in class is better than your sig puff…not because we are haters or because we are trying to restrict you or anything else but be cause is just common sense and being polite :p

  • I stopped reading the moment I saw “Avoid Potentially Political Hairstyles Such As Afro’s” Really??? Ridiculous!

  • I always wear an Afro. It’s all I can really do with my hair at the moment. The humidity in my work place makes my curls frizz and I end up having to pick it out…

  • My Caucasian colleagues say their favorite style is my huge Afro. I have also recently been hired to do presenting work for a non-profit and in my own school district. My new colleagues all love my “cool hair”. So thanks for the advice, but no thanks.

  • Eh, I didn’t particularly care for this post