This is probably one of the most widely discussed topics within the curly club. With high standards of personal presentation being expected in so many work settings, it's no wonder this question is so frequently asked. Can one have naturally kinky, curly hair and still be deemed as professional in appearance? We say a unanimous YES! Here’s why:
1. Natural hair is a texture, not a style
When the question of natural hair in the workplace is raised, many may think ‘Militant Afro.’ When we say natural hair, we mean texture not hairstyle. The 'Afro' is a hairstyle, not a texture. In some work environments the 'Afro' hairstyle may be unprofessional. There are other hairstyles which people with kinky, curly and coily textures can wear.
2. Natural hair can be styled professionally
There are many unprofessional hairstyles that are not linked to texture. Straight, wavy and curly hair can all be styled in a manner that is not deemed as professional. Straight hair worn in a spiky mohawk may raise eyebrows in a board meeting. Equally there are ways to style any hair type that are appropriate to a formal setting. Many natural hairstyles can be worn in a professional way, including neat updos, buns and twists.
3. It is illegal to discriminate on something that naturally occurs
Something that is genetically determined cannot be unprofessional. Imagine an employer stating "Asian eyes are unprofessional." A company should not make a hiring/firing decision based on your hair texture. If you feel you have experienced this, you may want to seek legal advice. Employers are interested in anything that helps them to assess competency for a role and will take into account your overall presentation accordingly. If your curly hair is not groomed and styled in a professional manner, this may affect how you are viewed at work; the texture itself will not.
What are your natural hair in the workplace experiences? Continue the conversation with us at our next event! Tickets here.