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5 Reasons Natural Hair Should NOT be Viewed as Unprofessional

• Jul 13, 2012

The professionalism of natural hair is a constant topic of debate in black culture. And while many naturals advance professionally and enjoy satisfying careers, some people seem to be stuck on the idea that hair trumps talent and intelligence. To be fair, it must be acknowledged that there are still incidents of natural hair leading to professional discrimination (Six Flags being the most popular example, currently), but these incidents are the exception and certainly not the rule. And also, just because discrimination happens, it doesn’t mean that it’s justified or even sensical. Here are 5 reasons why natural hair should never be viewed as ‘unprofessional’.

1. A naturally occurring physical characteristic CAN’T be unprofessional

Think about it. Would you call the shape of an Asian woman’s eyes “unprofessional”? Or the color of a black woman’s skin? Then how can you label hair — a naturally occuring physical trait — as “unprofessional”. It makes no sense. Now, of course, how you choose to ALTER or ADORN hair or body can be considered professional or unprofessional, but to call the natural characteristics of the body itself ‘unprofessional’ is totally ludicrous.

2. Natural hair can be styled conservatively

Afros are lovely and amazing, but most naturals have enough common sense to know that, depending on where you work, it won’t always be an appropriate style. Some work environments will call for a natural woman to pull her hair away from her face. Other work places might have more leeway, allowing for bigger styles like twist outs, braid outs or curly fros. In either instance, it is HOW the woman decides to style her hair that determines whether it is professional. Not the hair itself.

Tip: Short haired naturals (less than 6 inches) might feel they don’t have the length to rock conservative styles. Not true! Pinned up updos can work on shorter lengths.

3. Discrimination based on hair texture is illegal

Plain and simple. Now you can be fired for violating a company’s policy on how you STYLE your hair or present yourself. But to be fired for having a certain hair texture is literally criminal.

4. It breeds paranoia

Have you ever heard a natural swear that she didn’t get a job or was unfairly treated, “just because I’m natural.” Meanwhile this woman might have a totally unprofessional attitude and an unkempt appearance. Unless it’s obvious that you are being discriminated against because of your hair, it’s not healthy to walk around with the assumption that this will or has happened. Not only does it breed paranoia, but it diverts focus from other weaknesses that could be the REAL cause of lost professional opportunities.

5. There are tons of natural hair professionals making moves right now

Don’t think that naturals can be professional? Take a walk through downtown Atlanta on any given workday. The natural hair scene is incredible! Black women rocking suits, pumps, and some fiercely elegant natural styles. If you’re looking for natural professionals in your own city or town, look no further than the many online natural hair forums (such as the BGLH Gallery or CurlTalk). They are chock full of professional women proudly rocking the natural.

The REAL Dilemma

So where is the REAL dilemma when it comes to natural hair and the workplace? In this day and age, it is a lack of understanding of the styling options and necessities that come with natural hair. While a natural can get by professionally rocking buns or french braids, they might not be able to wear more intricate styles, like cornrows, locs and in some cases twists, that are unfairly labeled as ‘radical’ or ‘extreme’ when, in reality, they are great styles for keeping natural hair attractive and well-groomed. Perhaps the focus should now be on how to communicate to employers and human resource professionals that natural hair thrives in styles that — to the uncultured eye — look exotic or intricate, but are actually quite ‘normal’.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Do you think natural hair can be viewed as unprofessional? Why or why not?

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131 Comments on "5 Reasons Natural Hair Should NOT be Viewed as Unprofessional"

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Ms.Tea
Guest

I think it depends on the style and presentation of it.. Natural black hair can be intimidating to many non blacks, but by the same token, non blacks wear “natural hair” everyday and no one gets upset or thinks it’s unprofessional.

Rou
Guest

In my opinion, I think natural afro-textured hair can be intimidating to both Blacks and non-Blacks! I am speaking from my personal experience only! But, some Blacks are uncomfortable with seeing Black women rocking their natural hair. Their reactions to it can be downright rude and inappropriate.

Marie
Guest
I agree that its can be intimidating to others. I am the only black female in my office and I went natural because I was ill and my hair was falling, then I began to embrace it completely and question why am I doing this to my hair. I usually wear twist, twist out, coils, or rock my fro from time to time, and at least every quarter I may wash and blow dry it and roller set it and wear that style for about 2 weeks. I aways get the comments I like your hair like this you should… Read more »
RockStar
Guest
I hate to get political, but it’s because black people have been conditioned–on purpose–to think our hair is unattractive and unacceptable. Unfortunately, some of us believe this. I have 3b (curly)almost waist length hair. Most times, I wear it up in a bun or pineapple. Occiasionally, I will wear it out when I want to be “free”. It is absolutely unbelievable how many black women ( especially the older women) stop me and tell me I need a perm!!!! I think it’s rude so I respond in kind “no thanks, I’m not European and don’t care to look like it.”… Read more »
D
Guest

That sucks because natural hair is awesome.

Porcupine
Guest

@ RockStar

I get the same reaction. It’s sad that white people tend to be accepting and appreciative when a black women wears her hair natural. I have gotten hateful and disgusted looks by black people- especially black men- when I rock my natural fro. The amount of disdain is downright hurtful.

CurlPlease
Guest

Same here, it get more rude comments fron blacks than non-blacks. I have had white women say they love and with their had would behave like mine, curl etc.

CurlPlease
Guest

*wish

Florida Steph
Guest

Rock Star, I have the same reactions.

Alexis
Guest

This is crazy, I have gotten very similar reactions as well. The bad thing about it though is that my I’m transitioning from accidental heat training so my hair doesn’t even have its real curl pattern right now and I wear it in updos most of the time. White people look at it like its a miracle of God and many black people have told me that I’m wasting my looks by wearing my hair this way. Whatever the heck that means.

Michelle
Guest
I can’t dare wear my 4a hair open no matter how long it gets. Actually depending on where I work I can’t even wear my natural braids down without people staring and it’s the black people who are doing the staring…it’s never untidy but apparently, in my country, people with my ‘kind’ of hair should have it chemically straightened or curled within an inch of its life if it is to be accepted without question! It’s not so bad now and I long ago decided that I should work on my attitude and my qualifications rather than getting paranoid about… Read more »
Janae
Guest

Ikr! It’s so sad! I had a twistout last week. I washed my hair in the middle of the week and wore my afro with a nice headband for the rest of the week. Who had something derogatory to say about it? It wasn’t the white people! It was actually black people, 2 women and a man who all had hair that was way wilder than mine! What a shame to hate ourselves so bad!

June
Guest

I think some people have viewed natural hair as being unprofessional across the world. There’s hope though. Many more black women are wearing their hair naturally so its getting more and more common. So attitudes will change with time.

LaKisha
Guest
I’ve been natural since January 2012, but this is my second time going natural. I was natural for two years from 2007–2009, but changed up my hair following a lay off from my job and having to enter back into the job market. Entering back into the job market was the reason for the change in my hair. I live in the conversative South and as much as people were intrigued by my hair and wanted to touch it, they were not so willing to offer employment. I’m happy to say now that people are now more accepting of natural… Read more »
Renee
Guest
I always find it interesting that a Black women’s hair in it’s NATURAL STATE is intimidating. This is our NATURAL hair! We should not have to change that for any reason. So many of us Black women have been duped into chemically treating our hair for the “look” and not the ease of maintenance. I went natural 9 years ago and when I flat-ironed my hair the first time after years and years of braids, it was SO soft and healthy! I was shocked I could achieve the same “look” as chemically treated hair. Now, I have not even flat-ironed… Read more »
EG
Guest

Amen, I’m so sick and tired of brain-washed blacks giving me the ‘well you have to understand their point’…no I don’t’! If someone doesn’t like your natural hair, I can guarrantee you that’s it’s not the only thing they don’t like.

RockStar
Guest

exactly! who cares if they “understand, accept, like” or whatever. People need to get over themselves and stop believing that the worlds of others should begin and end with their own likes and opinions. I enjoy compliments, who doesn’t? And I welcome constructive criticism. But at the end of the day,that’s it for me. and quite frankly, my mother taught me not to be rude enough to openly put people down for their “fashion” choices.

Jo
Guest

You said it! Blacks are sooooo brainwashed it’s amazing and not only that but very set so they don’t want to change their mind. There is hope though and in years to come it will be different.

Camille
Guest

I totally agree with you Renee! We spend too much time letting others define us (down to the very of essence of the image created by God). Every human is unique. From our eyes, mouth, and yes, even our hair! Thanks for your comments, and also thanks to the person who wrote the article:
5 Reasons Natural Hair Should NOT be Viewed as Unprofessional.

Jo
Guest
Great point,however people are scared of what they do not know or understand hence the stigma with natural hair. Also with women waering what is thers in texture or style people don’t know what REAL hair looks like. We have to remember that our standard of beauty is not dominant in this culture so the burden to conform in the workplace especially is heavy. I remember rocking cornrows with extensions and as i was the only black in the office everyone was intrigued and so curious asking me tons of questions. LOL I do believe a balance can be struck… Read more »
Mina
Guest

So true!

yoco. L
Guest

Amen Renee!

yoco. L
Guest
I am a paralegal, a law student, and a naturalista. Law has traditionally been a very conservative field, maybe 2nd to banking. I have been 100% natural for the past 2 yrs although I had dreamed of being natural for years but had some fear as to how I would be viewed at work. I transitioned for a year and then chopped of the remainder of my relaxer, making my once brastrap length hair to my shoulders when straight and to my neck when curly. Initially, I straightened-bob, as my hair grew (back to top of brastrap length now) I… Read more »
Rachel R.
Guest

It is so funny how our natural hair is considered to be unprofessional in todays society. Can anyone answer this question PLEASE.…What race back in the 1950’s wore BIG BEEHIVE hairdo’s and used a half can of hairspray daily??????? Seriously…and they say our hair is UNPROFESSIONAL. At least our hair is NATURALLY big. I laugh at the contradiction. Does anybody feel me on this? Just asking…our hair is beautiful and can’t/want be stopped.

EG
Guest

you don’t have to go back that far, I’ve worked with many proud ‘i’m from jersey’ big haired women and nobody says boo to them.

Rachel R.
Guest
I know I did’nt have to go that far but I was trying to make a point. We have been wearing big hair since forever in a day. When other races tease their hair so that it will stand high its not a problem, or it get perms because they want curly hair its not a problem, or they have curly hair and want it straight its not a problem. In other words what I am trying to say is that what we are naturally born with, we are negatively put down but yet they try to copy the big… Read more »
bonbon
Guest
That’s because we live in a sick society where everything naturally good is rejected and their toxic fake mimics are celebrated. A case in point: natural brown skin is apparently inferior but fake plastic tan/burnt orange skin is seen as desirable. Simple fresh natural foods are seen as bland and avoided whilst toxic processed junk foods are seen as the ‘tasty’ norm. A simple lifestyle close to nature is considered ‘backwards/primitive’ whilst the stress filled frenetic urban existance is glorified and seen as ‘advanced’. Naturally cuvacious, full lipped black women are seen as ‘less feminine’, whilst white women with faces… Read more »
Rachel R.
Guest

AMEN…Well said lady.

Rachel R.
Guest

Also I only went that far back just touching the surface…the TRUTH is it goes back alot further but no one wants the TRUTH. The TRUTH always stings.

Keedy
Guest

The lady is the picture is beautiful and her hair and make-up are gorgeous!

Renee
Guest

Yes indeed Keedy! Hair…amazing…makeup…flawless! I love the entire look!

Nikki
Guest
I wonder how many White people really believe that natural hair is unprofessional? I would love to see a survey on this or something. When I have caught grief about my hair it has been mainly from Blacks telling me that my hair is unprofessional and the Whites won’t accept it. If anything, they have been the ones judging me and not necessarily the dominant society. There are so many ways to where natural hair, plenty of styles that can be conservative (with or without straightening) and others that are less conservative. I guess, my experience, I just don’t really… Read more »
AnonyChick
Guest

This is true. I get more flack about my hair from Black people than from White people. I, too, would like to see some sort of survey. I feel like this is one of those things that we (Black people) have made bigger than it is. If anything, White people embrace my hair. Never heard any complaints about natural hair in my workplace.

HB
Guest
It absolutely should not. And what is “natural” hair anyways? Isn’t everyone’s hair natural, no matter their race? The fact that this is even a topic shows it is still a problem. It’s like saying no one should hire a red-hed because they have red-hair and freckles. Do you see many of those articles on the internet? No. Do red-heds walk around trying to avoid people touching their hair and skin? No. Racism; legacy of slavery and colonialism. Those are the roots whether we like/want to admit it or not. Non-Blacks and some Blacks deem our hair, large features, skin… Read more »
Silk
Guest

Thank you.

Lisa
Guest

THANK YOU for saying what I was thinking about Afros! Wearing my hair in an Afro IS the equivalent of my fair skin co workers wearing their hair down. I’m in corporate america and I tend to prefer my afro. Usually on those days I get more compliments. Maybe I’m lacking common sense but I have never thought that an Afro is unprofessional. In talking to other women, the decision to not wear an Afro was based on the fear of what others would think.

Liz
Guest

+1
Not only is the Afro not a “hairstyle”, but it ain’t a damn Halloween costume either. Rainbow or not!

LM
Guest

lol

DCW
Guest

Wow you’ve pretty much addressed the root of the problem!
Stockholm Syndrome anyone? <—–(sarcasm)clearly!! Somehow the straightening and or altering of our natural hair became just another way to mask the God awful truth that our ancestors were brought here, to a foreign land (to live as slaves), by force, lies, deception and manipulation and not by choice. Please don’t get me started

Because I know how badly most people just want to bury the truth and just forget it ever happened…you know the saying about bygones…I’m so glad that vengeance is the Lord’s.

God Bless!!!

Tati
Guest

+1. I completely agree. Whether we want to face it or not, the sad truth is that this issue is deeply rooted in race-relations and colonialism. My natural hair has been called everything from “liberal” to “wild” to “African”, even when it was short or pulled back. It’s the deviation from the traditional, tamed, “White” hair that intimidates some people, when in fact, it’s just how my hair grows from my head and that’s it!
Natural hair is not a statement, but it is a departure from the norm, and change scares the shit out of some folks.

Sheree
Guest
Preach, Sista girl!! Yes! I fully agree!! This line: “So please tell me why all this talk about updos and our hair’s versatility, when Becky, Martina, Jose, Chan, Kim Tran, Ahmed and Raavi all get to go through that routine in the morning and get to rush out of the house with their hair still damp, in no really specific hairstyle other than the $20 haircut they paid for 3 weeks ago – letting it air dry – on the way to work, and it is somehow NOT deemed “unprofessional”???” and This one: “our men (no more skinning their heads… Read more »
HB
Guest
Yes Sheree — the conservative yet messy styles others can rock and it be A-okay are: 1. the Mohawk (since they made it mainstream, we get to copy it as fro-hawks.…even though it is a Massai and native American hairstyle). 2. The beach bum/surfer look — wild crazy blond hair highlighted in multiple shades of yellow. 3. The Fabio — how long is that hair again??? And how many non-Black men do you see rocking this…even when they’re balding. Yet, totally acceptable. 4. The severely short Audrey Hepburn look with bangs — vs a TWA with pomp in front. Which… Read more »
Mina
Guest

Exactly what I was thinking!

zyaran
Guest

That main photo style is gorgeous, wouldn’t mind trying out this style for myself.

Goldeelocks1908
Guest

Anyone’s hair period, not just natural hair, can be viewed as unprofessional if you don’t take care of it and if don’t make a true effort into keeping it maintained. The “just rolled out of bed” look is fine for some people but would not be accpetable in the workplace.It’s normall obviously when someone has clearly taken out time to groom themselves for the day. it just sucks that how our naturally grows out of our scalp isnt seen as “kept”/ or professional as others may think. Hopefully in time it will evolve more.

HB
Guest
The “rolled out of bed” is fine for majority of the people in corporate America — and by rolled out of bed, I mean — at some point they paid some money to get a haircut (maybe even got some highlights) but day in and day out, they shower, shampoo, condition, slightly blow dry to accentuate the haircut they got weeks ago and add product, then they get going…probably 20–30min prep time. So we can “roll out of bed” too, we just don’t think ours looks like what the world’s society esteems as beautiful.…and so here we go with the… Read more »
Free2Worship
Guest

GReat point i totally agree.People would be chaining themselves to the BSS! LOL

Sophie
Guest
1 and 2 are my go-to rebuttals when I’m having this discussion! My hair texture is as much a part of me as my skin… it would be silly for someone to tell me I *need* to chemically alter it. Also, my hair is very compressible and my usual style is pinned up twists. It’s very out of the way and it doesn’t draw a lot of excess attention (except from people who are wondering how I did it!). The paranoia thing is spot on too. I have a multi-racial friend, with probably ‘3b’ curls, who is convinced that her… Read more »
Cinnamondiva
Guest
I agree, Sophie. I’m mixed race, like your friend, and I can relate to how she feels. People tend to have issues with hair that is tightly curled or kinky. I’m not sure what my hair type is, but I’ve heard nasty comments about it my whole life. And like some other ladies, I have also experienced people touching my hair without my consent and making offensive comments about its texture or questioning whether it is real. I worked in a restaurant many years ago and my manager was an older white woman who complained that I needed to “do… Read more »
Free2Worship
Guest

I do think that this topic is only controversial in the black community and it is about our fears and insecurities.

I understand history has a part to play but unless we deal with these attitudes then nothing will change.

That is why i appreciate seeing more naturals in the media as it shows it is ok to love what you have and that is a GOOD thing.

With google at our fingertips the opportunity to be creative is endless so i guess the key is confidence and nothing to do with texture.

HB
Guest
100% agree! But answer this if you don’t mind…if it is all in our heads and to do with confidence — what do you think will be stirred up in the hearts of Non-Blacks, if they woke up one morning to find all Black people across the globe had gone “natural”. Maybe the corporate banker/lawyer types wore updos but on average, it was just a lot of Afros walking around.…do you think they’d be freaked out? Would their be uncomfortable shifts if they didn’t get the memo about this “revolution”? Would there be whispers around the water cooler about “did… Read more »
Free2Worship
Guest
I think people would be a bit fascinated but they shouldn’t be scared because when people remove their weaves,wigs the TRUE hair is underneath.Not to mention regrowth for relaxed peeps. Natural hair is gaining traction but it is more to do with self-acceptance and not as a political weapon so that shouldn’t be an issue in my mind,a lot people are doinmg it to lessen the chemicals they expose themselves to so that is a good reason. Unless a law is passed they cannot stop the natural movement. We can’t keep hiding our texture forever. That’s why the media is… Read more »
Annie L.
Guest
I would argue that self-acceptance is a political weapon, those in power have known, understood and used this obvious connection to their advantage for ages. People of all types pose a ‘threat’ to profit-making institutions and power structures when they control their own image and access and attempt to bridge gaps to understanding the other. And to believe that profit- and power-making institutions aren’t completely embedded, monitoring and subverting such and haven’t been and still aren’t and won’t be engrossed in pushing a well-honed, highly-funded, racist, scare-tactic, divisive campaign aimed at cowing personal and community growth to make sure that… Read more »
HB
Guest

spot on!

AJ
Guest
I am black and worked in childcare in a predominantly white area. I pressed my hair for my interview because I knew they wouldn’t look at my qualifications if my hair was in my afro. I got the job and shortly after started to wear my hair in its natural state. Parents started to complain about my hair and me wrapping my hair. One parent was really upset when her daughter asked me could I do her hair like mine (I had twists that day).My coworkers even started to talk to me like I was a child when I wore… Read more »
Sue
Guest

You look well put together. I’m sorry about your experience.Sad to say that even in African countries, you might get some bad comments. I hope people’s mind set changes, we should be able to wear out hair like this with minimal manipulation. Maybe just add the headband as an accessory.

AJ
Guest

I have a headband on, my hair is just so big that it takes over the headband.

Cinnamondiva
Guest

AJ, that pisses me off…you are so cute and your hair is gorgeous! It goes to show that racism will always be an issue.

Your fro frames your face beautifully. It is sad when a poised, professional Black woman is treated that way because of what grows naturally from her head.

My hair is relaxed but I plan on making the switch to natural. Kudos to you for staying natural despite what you went through at that job.

AJ
Guest

Thank you! Good luck with your transition to your natural texture.

HB
Guest
Love your hair. It is beautiful — I can’t wait until mine can get that big and full. If the statute hasn’t run out — I would consider at least filing a charge with the EEOC office. But I understand if you don’t think it’s worth it. Not everyone is MLK, Harriet or Malcolm but believe me, you know if the tables were turned and an office full of Black people and clients came down on a non-Black Blonde, Brunette or Red-Head like that with the same length hair as yours, she would have been on Anderson 360 the next… Read more »
AJ
Guest

Thank you! Yes I felt a lot better after getting it out on this lovely website.

Tati
Guest
I love your hair! I have an afro, too. Your story is the perfect example of why I never straighten my hair for an interview. It’s something that seems so trivial, right? It’s not like you’ve lied on your application or resume or during your interview. But it just goes to show that the issue of natural hair as “unprofessional” is NOT dead and there are still intimidation regarding Black women wearing our hair naturally. I’m sorry that happened to you, but I would have tried to get a lawsuit out of that, or at least threatened to file one… Read more »
EG
Guest

Tati I agree 100%. No one thought I would get the job when I did not straighten my hair for the interview, but I did and I have never looked back. If they don’t want you with your natural hair, then why would you want to work there?

AJ
Guest

And Thank you!

Free2Worship
Guest

Wow,thank you for sharing your experience,your hair is beautiful!

In 2012 the behaviour shown is not acceptable,i personally would have sued.If people don’t feel comfortable that is THEIR business and their fears that they have to face. Instead of being scared why not try find out more about it? So would i be scared of someone wearing a ponytail?

That is so sad in 2012 their NO excuse for ignorance.

AJ
Guest

Shortly after I left the boss was fired so I say Karma.

Vonnie
Guest

My comment below was for you, don’t know why it posted as a seperate comment.

Vonnie
Guest

Hey there! That experience is absolute BS — the way THEY treated you, that is. Did you ever consider legal action? Rebut their accusations? Or did you just decide it wasn’t worth it and chucked the deuces? I would be smearing that company all up and down the street (unless of course they still gave/are giving you good references)..

Love your fro, by the way 🙂

AJ
Guest

I just left, it wasn’t worth it. At the time I was still finishing my first degree and was just looking for work to pay for school. I’ve since moved towns and still work in a similar environment. Only difference I let my education be the topic not my hair. Thank you for the compliment!

Mishio
Guest

As you should! I LOVE your hair!

AJ
Guest

Thanks sissy and I love yours and my pretty niece’s hair!

Alwina
Guest

Awesome article! Thank you!

Pat
Guest
Well, I wear my natural hair short and neat, no problems with jobs. I actually was denied jobs with straight hair and not b/c I was not qualified, chalked it up to the tough job market and employers choosing who they wanted. I will not flat iron or do elaborate updo’s and twists. I don’t care for those looks and the time consumed with it plus my texture is fine so those styles would unravel. I totally disagree that you have to twist up and pin up your natural hair to be conservative. I like mine short to medium and… Read more »
Pat
Guest

HB- Amen to what you said, totally agree!!

Mina
Guest

I agree with the fact that natural hair is only deemed profesional if it is manipulated into some intricate style. Natural hair still scares some people as it shows an unwillingness to assimilate which to the world looks like some kind of rebellion or uprising. I believe because of the political, racial and historical roots of this problem, hair will never be just hair for black women as the majority of society still sees it as a “radical statement”.

Petite Diva
Guest

I think it is time that women of color start letting the world know that natural hair is professional. In order to convince the world, we have to convince our own community. This can be only be done through open dialogue and forums such as this one what provide information. Thank you for posting this article. The next time someone tells or asks me if natural hair is unprofessional, I can give them an answer based on your article.

nelle
Guest

Leila,
I would love to see a professional natural hair day on here. Similar to your love in the air that you do in february or the natural brides. I bet a lot of your readers have phenomenal pictures w/natural hair in the workplace.

BlackOnyx03
Guest
This would be a great feature to regularly run on this site!!!! Please, BGLH, profile pictures of women in professional (and by this, I mean “conservative”) work environments who have each discovered a (relatively) quick signature style. I’d be fascinated to see natural-haired doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, bankers, “corporate America” managers and executives, and the like showing their style. I highlight these professions not to make this some elitist sub-category of the natural-hair community, but to simply acknowledge that those of us in these contexts often need to put a different face forward than, say, someone who works in the… Read more »
Melissa
Guest

I am a graduate student and every day I see many black women with natural hair. One of my mentors is a black female professor who wears her hair in beautiful locs; she styles them so very elegantly and professionally in beautiful updos. When I go to conferences, it seems like all of the black women — from the students on up to the full professors and professionals — have natural hair nowadays. They wear them in all kinds of styles.

BlackOnyx03
Guest

*edit: I meant to say “casual work environment” (sans the “s”). I hate typos! lol

nelle
Guest

I hate typos too!

bee
Guest
as someone who is in the midst of doing interviews for a corporate job (I have one tomorrow) and rocking natural hair — I loved this! it is tempting to think you don’t get a job becaus eof your natural hair, because it is uncommon in the corporate world in some areas but i can’t come to that conclusion because then its just not a place I would seem myself long term. i keep it conservative with bun in twists but otherwise I go to no great lengths to hide the fact that I wear my natural texture and when… Read more »
Pat
Guest

God speed on your interview, if the job is meant for you then it will be for you!!

CurlPlease
Guest

Fantastic Post!!!!!!!May I share it with my readers with credit to you of course?

HB
Guest

For those of you that say “it’s all in our heads”, here’s an article on the day the BRITISH VIRGUN ISLES repealed it’s law banning people with dreadlocks from coming to the islands.

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/caribbean/hippies.htm

HB
Guest

As if AJ’s 2012 story wasn’t enough.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest
The only hair that I think is unprofessional is hair that’s unkept. If you work in an office, you don’t want your hair all over your head being a hot mess. However, the texture of your hair should not be an issue. Here’s what I don’t like. I wear my hair curly most of the time. It’s been out lately since I had a hair cut and am wearing a wash and go. Why do people feel the need to ask if it’s all my hair and if its real? What the hell? Black people can’t have curly hair???? It… Read more »
Thatgirlwitdabighair
Guest

Dont be annoyed…some people are ignorant but then again, think about it this way.
many black women we see outside love wearing weaves. Even the ones that have long hair STILL wear weaves/wigs just because they like them. So when people ask if your hair is real, it make not always be because they think you can’t grow your hair but because they are used to seeing the majority of black women wearing weaves. Just tell them it’s your own hair and if they act stupid then SWERVE.
your hair is so gorgeous thoe, keep it up 🙂

bt
Guest

Agreed, Michelle! And no one seems to question extensions when non-Blacks wear them. It’s nobody’s business but the person who is wearing the style. When I relaxed my hair years ago, an older Black woman said “Your hair is so pretty! Is it a wig?”. Seriously people!!! I’m so thankful I had locs for almost six years and now I’m wearing my loose natural…very happy to be real with myself and the world.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

oops the pic didn’t take. here it is
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Michelle-Hair011.jpg[/img]

Kinky Curly Marie
Guest
Michelle your hair is beautiful and healthy! Although very annoying, it’s nothing to take offense to when people ask if it’s real. With SO MANY women wearing weaves all the time (even naturals)-more than their own hair; it’s no SHOCK that people would think it’s Fake at first. It is a compliment when your hair is so Healthy and Beautiful that certain people think it’s unreal. (Job well done at maintenance with a Good haircare regimen and perhaps healthy life style) It’s no secret to the world that Black women wear weaves MORE than any other race and spend the… Read more »
Andrea Simpson-Jones
Guest
Michelle, as a cosmetologist, I can only speculate that people probably ask you about your hair all the time because it is in such beautiful shape. That, generally, is not the norm. Have you never seen a woman’s hair and wondered if it was her natural hair or a wig or weave? There is no malice intended. Of course, I do think it is wrong for a stranger to just reach out and touch your hair but you should take it as the compliment it is meant to be. Your hair is beautiful and we so seldom see other black… Read more »
Melissa
Guest

Even if folks meant it as a compliment, it’s still ignorance and that does not excuse them. And getting annoyed at other people’s ignorance isn’t going to magically give you a hair disease; that’s now how karma works. People should not assume that black women with beautiful hair must have fake hair — that is straight up ignorance and it should be dealt with politely, but we certainly don’t need to tolerate it.

Ms Brown
Guest
Although very annoying, it’s nothing to take offense to. With SO MANY women wearing weaves all the time (even naturals)-more than their own hair; it’s no SHOCK that people would think it’s Fake. Doesn’t matter the *Reason* for wearing it, but black women wear weaves MORE than any other race and spend the most!) As more women in the community wear their hair out ‘MORE OFTEN’ people won’t be quick to ask if it’s real. It is a compliment when your hair is so healthy and beautiful that certain people think it’s unreal. (Job well done at maintenance with a… Read more »
Ms Brown
Guest

With SO MANY women wearing weaves all the time (even naturals) more than their own hair; it’s no shock that people would think it’s fake. It is a compliment when your hair is so healthy and beautiful that certain people think it’s unreal. (Job well done at maintenance with a Good haircare regimen and perhaps healthy life style) IGNORANCE would be if they didn’t believe you-like it’s impossible for black women to have beautiful-healthy hair-Natural texture or Not.

Cinnamondiva
Guest

That is really cute, Michelle! Your hair looks very soft and healthy. What products do you use?

People can be extremely ignorant. I feel your pain…my hair is down my back and people always ask me if it’s a weave.

Matilda
Guest

This is such a good post …I had a dilemma a few weeks ago…Thank God you spoke about and used the Asian eyes as an illustration.…its helped me a lot…we really have to accept ourselves no matter what we think other people think of us whether they are from the same ethnic background or otherwise.

blessing
Guest

hi people.i am a Nigerian and over here if u wear your hair natural,you are treated like a leper. I have been natural since 2005 but my hair has not grown past shoulder length.i know it’s because i never knew i could take care of it this way. I am new to this site and i need tips. However,most of the products mentioned here seem to be nowhere in Nigeria. Would really appreciate all the help i can get.

LINNIE
Guest

I’ve been natural for nearly 4 years. If you cannot find sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner there, after washing use apple-cider vinegar as a rinse to neutralize the sulfates. I make a homemade concoction of melted sheabutter/jojoba oil/teatree oil and after washing and conditioning, I seal my hair with that. You may have to improvise more but you should be able to find plenty of homemade remedies on natural hair sites.

Angelic
Guest

Great article loved the points made … We have to love who we are as Black women ( Its are hair God gave us this hair time to love who God made which is our uinque hair!

Erin
Guest
I work as a server and I have natural hair. I have had natural hair for 3 years not. Sometimes I wear my hair straight and sometimes I wear it in its natural state. We just got a new supervisor (a black person) and now all of a sudden my hair is an issue. The other managers (white) have never said anything to be. His statement was that it is unprofessional and distracting to the guest. I wear a headband of neutral color to keep the hair from my face since i do work in the food industry. I dont… Read more »
Melissa
Guest
Yes, it is discriminating. How is the way that my hair grows out of my head “distracting” to guests eating at a restaurant? WTF? If they are so distracted by natural hair, they need to get out more. I know this comment is old but in this situation, I would ask (via email, in writing) my manager what it was, exactly, about my hair that was unprofessional and distracting. If it’s the texture and fullness, that’s definitely discrimination. If it’s something like wearing it free, that’s also discrimination but more difficult to prove. Note whether straight-haired colleagues are also reprimanded… Read more »
Samantha
Guest
One word: YES. Even if the person is black, white, yellow or orange…he/she cannot tell you that you cannot wear your hair however you want as long as it is neat. I would abide by Erin’s suggestion and look for the dress code handbook for that company. I wouldn’t just go off the fact that the other managers never said anything. You ALWAYS want to have things in black and white to back your case up. If that were me, I would show my manager the handbook and state that my hair follows the guidelines. I would try not to… Read more »
LINNIE
Guest
As long s whyte ppl are allowed to wear their hair “free”, you should also be able to. I don’t know how long your hair is but are there other ways you can wear your hair natural but perhaps pulled back? I hate to see you win the argument but later lose your job over this, even if you do file a discrimination suit against him. It is sad that his personal prejudices are clouding his perception of what is acceptable. And don’t forget to check out the rules handbook for your job-perhaps you could have a dialog with this… Read more »
Jay Busch
Guest
Alrighty…haters lock and load! But this is simply my personal opinion and affects no one but me. I am a Black man who detests, hates, and abhors women and braids, dreds, weaves, twists, and in most cases now, this spur to go natural. And why? I have YET to see any woman who chooses to wear her hair in these styles whose beauty has been enhanced by these styles. When your hair looks like a freaking rug or you look like the movie character Predator…there’s a problem. Honestly…take a good look. Now…do you have the right to rock whatever style… Read more »
Melissa
Guest

This doesn’t even make any sense. You don’t like natural hair, locs, or braids, but you don’t like weaves either? A weave is a catch-all term for a sew-in, which can look like anything — long and straight, curly, styled, whatever. Also, natural hair looks different on different women. Some women wear their natural hair blown or pressed out all the time.

Second of all…why do you think anyone cares who you would date and your requirements for her hair?

I wouldn’t want to even be friends with anyone who thinks like this.

Sherice
Guest

In response to your opinion Mr. Busch, I’m wondering why you bothered to respond at all. The topic of discussion was if wearing natural hair was unprofessional, not if wearing natural hair would get you a date with Jay Busch.

Tripp
Guest
Now my wife sent this article to me. This man is entitled to his opinion and what her finds attractive and unattractive. Me personally I love natural hair. I love the freedom sistas feel when not tied to all the process and chemicals. I am not thrilled with weaves. But I am hapilly married to a beautiful natural haired black woman. When we met she had a perm and the “Halle Berry” short cut. It looked great on her. Then we got married and she let her hair grow out. Still permed. However, she noticed her hair becoming thinner through… Read more »
b
Guest
Thank you to my husband Tripp who supports me in my natural hair journey. People like Jay Busch (above) are internet trolls who have nothing better to do than try to squash the positive vibe we beautiful black sistas have going for ourselves. The media has obviously brainwashed him into thinking natural black hair looks like a “rug” or the head of a creature from outer space. What’s alien is the thinking that brought him here to rain on our parade. Go home, Jay. No wonder you’re alone. Meanwhile, I will continue to surround myself with people like my husband… Read more »
nhf
Guest

NaturalHairSalonFinder.com is a new directory that allows you to search by the hair style/service and the day you want it done. Some salons offer coupons.

Sher
Guest
Hello to all. I love and applaud that women of color are wearing their hair as they were born. It is beautiful! However, I do have a problem with what is going on. I must say I am not from the USA and perhaps this is why it is an issue for me. I am a tropical/ Caribbean woman. I have been wearing my hair as it is since I was born. I never relaxed, color, or permed. I have blown dry my hair a few times, which give me breakage. I had a cut at 13 years of age… Read more »
Tonia
Guest

As a white woman with stick straight hair, I’ve always been a little jealous of the beautiful curls and full hair my darker-skinned sisters are blessed with. I don’t think any woman in this day and age should feel obligated to process or color or heat treat their hair. Rock what God gave you! And if someone doesn’t hire you or promote you because of your hair, become mad-skilled so they can realize what a short-sighted idiot they really are.

Anon
Guest
This post really hits home. I’m natural & I’ve worked predominantly white corporate settings in NYC. I always pull my hair back and keep it nice and neat but that hasn’t stopped co-workers (black & white) from asking to “pet” my hair or referring to it as “rustic”. I believe it’s held me back from promotions. Sure, I could take legal action, but I’m still under/un-employed in the meantime. I’ve also seen companies who have a “no-dreadlocks rule” printed in the dress code. I love my afro and keep it pulled back at work, but don’t think it’s my responsibility… Read more »
2gts
Guest

Hi Wyatt, I believe you’ve noticed also many 50s motion pictures.…I never have a one girlfriend with a moustache as well as the body fat content material as Italian ladies age is way reduce than their American counterparts.…just declaring.…

my web blog … 2gts

Geneva Hobley
Guest
First I think the heading for this post needs to be re-worded, fro, twists,or braids are not ” natural hairstyles” they are just hairstyles. So let’s just called them that. If someone is telling you what hairstyles are appropriate for work or anywhere else you need to question that to see why they are motivated to do so. When it comes to hairstyles and hair color, only women of color are put on the spot, why? Stop accepting this behavior and stop calling these hairstyles “Natural Hair Styles” because they just that, hairstyles. So find out the true reason of… Read more »
Angie
Guest

I’m a blonde, and I just want to say natural black hair is beautiful. I’m surprised anyone might see it as unprofessional. It seems to me it is less distracting than some of the highly processed hair dos. Do what makes you happy!

Debra
Guest
This Topic really should NOT even be a Topic!! .… Black women do NOT need reason for this of reason for that!, We/Black women do not have to justify OURSELVES — No TIME!! and NO Place! .… Even the term ‘Natural hair’ is incorrect. Black women’s hair is natural and so is white women’s. Perhaps the implication is “natural textured hair’ — White women’s hair is Natural. Sometimes they perm it, curl it, flat iron it or pull it back into a ponytail or let it be loose. .. Same with Black women. If our hair is ‘natural’ then there… Read more »
leneybean
Guest
I wore a wig in a interview (in the middle of a hot desert summer mind you) because I thought my natural hair wouldn’t get me the job (let’s be honest not many black people live in NM especially with natural hair) and I was so concerned about my appearance I bombed my interview. I did another one with my hair just pulled back in a bun and I got the job within minutes. If an employer can’t deal with your hair then do you really want to work there? You should know the difference. Yes our hair is big… Read more »
Anastasia Alston
Guest

I live in Santa Fe, NM & have for nearly a decade. My hair has been natural for more than twice that. I have never had a problem getting a job, interviews whatever no matter how I’ve worn my hair, ranging from locs to loose natural styles. My hair has never been a problem. But then maybe it’s because I never expected it to be. 🙂 <3 <3 <3

FireCracker
Guest

Yes I totally feel u I live in New Mexico & there is a very small blk population..whenever i rock my fro especially people just stare.

Brittany Dixon
Guest

How can you, in your first point, a naturally occurring physical trait cannot be unprofessional and then in your next point say Afros are unprofessional? My natural hair naturally grows into an Afro. So Afros should not be considered unprofessional either. Especially for those with TWAs, even a twistout looks like a curly Afro.

Amanda
Guest

I had to reread. The author is not saying that afro’s are unprofessional, she’s saying that if you like to where your fro in all it’s poofy glory, it cant be all bug and poofy in lets say, working as a waiter/waitress or someone who is cooking/serving food/operating heavy machinery. the point is that if you come with your fro to a job interview, the interviewer should know that your fro can be pulled back in a bun or poof or put in cap and that it shouldn’t be a deciding factor in their employment decisions.

Amanda
Guest

excuse my typos
*wear
*big

Ariane
Guest

I’m sure the author means you would not go to an interview/professional workplace with your hair unkempt.
If a European turned up to work with ‘bedhead’ or a knotty mess on his/her head, I would mention something especially if they were going to an interview or client meeting.
Afros are beautiful! I’d rock and have rocked my Afro to work if I felt like it, just as I would rock an updo or a cornrow style. However, if it looks like it needs a re-do or a quick comb/brush then so be it!

Mel
Guest

I was thinking the same thing! I agree with you 100%… I was a little ticked by the “enough common sense” comment… Uhm! What do does that mean?

Star
Guest

One of the main reasons why it’s NOT unprofessional is because it’s the hair that grew out of your own damn head. If every other race can get away with it why can’t we. That fact that this is still a topic is just sad and prejudice. And it saddens me every time I see it.

jessybabe
Guest

I do wonder if I was natural 5yrs ago would I still gotten my job? I know a few don’t like my natural hair, while the rest gushes at the curlyness

MaryKravets
Guest

Thank you for shearing such a good and interesting information! I have curly hair and I know that it is not so easy to take care about it every day! I’m going to follow your page and I will try some of your advices!

Balsa
Guest

Um why are there four more reasons? Number 1 is damn well enough. The hair is natural. NA-TU-RAL. Would they call white people’s hair unprofessional? No. Even though they have flyaways like ruffled feathers.

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[…] PS: I was just browsing through my “on this day” on Facebook, and on this day last year, I posted this article: “5 Reasons Natural Hair Should Not Be Viewed as Unprofessional.” […]

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[…] other combination imaginable; styles so deeply rooted in our cultures but sometimes deemed “unprofessional” until they’re finally […]

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