3 Tips on Embracing Your Natural Hair in the Workplace #ad

This post was sponsored by Xotica Hair, a natural hair extension company. All opinions and thoughts belong to the writer of this post.

Natural hair and corporate settings don’t always mix. On any given day, you can log onto social media and read hundreds of stories from Black naturalistas who’ve been discriminated against because of their hair at work. Studies have shown what this discrimination looks like — everything from racially ambiguous questions to being overlooked for promotions. Experiencing these conditions, even periodically, can negatively impact a woman’s self-esteem or her desire to wear her natural hair in the workplace, which isn’t fair.

From questions about hairstyles and hair types to sharing personal work experiences, we need spaces (like this) to store tips on embracing natural hair in the workplace and beyond. Here are 3 tips that helped me overcome the stigma of wearing my natural hair at work.

Love your natural hair 

You know this already but it’s worth repeating. When you truly love your hair, nothing anyone says about it will deter you or make you feel inferior. I experienced this true love in 2012 when I did my first Big Chop. I’d resolved in my mind that I wanted to reach a new sense of self and that cutting my relaxed hair off would be the way to get there. My dad reluctantly put his clippers to my head and shaved off what was left. Immediately, I felt freedom and clarity in ways I’d never felt before.

My next day at work generated lots of questions and stares but I didn’t care. Loving myself and my hair gave me a noticeable boost in confidence at work and in my personal relationships. That beginning journey showed me that I can do anything and be alright no matter the outcome.

Wear styles that suit you

Hairstyles won’t remove stigma and bias Black women often feel from their employers. However, knowing how to style and manage your hair can make a difference in how you perceive natural hair personally and socially.

Knowing that I wanted to be natural was one thing. Knowing how to be natural was something totally different that I didn’t understand initially. I didn’t know how to do basic maintenance or any of the styles I wanted to achieve, which added to my work anxiety as my hair grew. Mastering those how-tos, in the beginning, is critical and can save a headache or even shame later on.

Whether you’re rocking a twist-out or kinky curly coily clip ins, finding styles that look good on you and are easy to manage make “working while natural” easier. This model is wearing kinky curly coily clips ins from Xotica Hair for added volume, thickness, protection, and easy manipulation.

Be encouraged

The struggle can be real but you’re not alone through it. If you’re having trouble connecting with a fellow naturalista at work, find your tribe online. Thankfully, the internet is home to thousands of mediums dedicated to natural hair. Join groups, comment on great threads, and travel to hair events when you can. These kinds of actions will positively reinforce your decision to staying natural at work at all.

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Ariel C. Williams is the founding editor-in-chief of Slay Culture. She’s a millennial who’s down for the culture, loves Netflix, and pegs Master P as one of her entrepreneurial heroes. Buy her book The Girl Talk Chronicles here. Follow her at @ArielSaysNow everywhere. 

Slay Culture

Author

Slay Culture curates content and experiences for smart and lit Black millennials. Follow us online everywhere at @SlayCulture.

  • LC @ A Life of Authenticity

    Thanks for sharing these clip ins. I’ll need to do more research on them to see what would work best for me. I am newly natural so it’s taking awhile getting used to styling my own hair. Protective styles have been my go to for the past few months. But this week, I actually styled my hair with a wash and go and it was great! I love my natural hair. Thank you!

    • Awww, this is so heartwarming! Protective styles are such a life saver and these Xotica Hair clip ins can definitely join that number. It’s awesome to hear about your hair journey. Wishing you all the best naturally, Sis!

  • Allyse Jolie

    I loveeeeee the 4C! It looks so much like my hair ! Thanks for sharing . I’m going to check them out.

    • Isn’t it gorgeous?! Yes, Xotica Hair is definitely worth looking into and supporting. Thanks so much for commenting, Allyse.

  • ShaBree Henry

    Wear a style that fits you! I thin that’s the key. I have very long locs and have worked in very corporate settings. I made the look work for me. Be encouraged sisters!

    • Yes! Every woman needs a signature hairstyle they can manage and rock during any time. This has helped me so much.

  • Jonna

    I definitely think that it starts with us and how we feel about our hair. If we are confident about it, then its easier to brush people’s not so nice comments.

    • Very true, Jonna! Our perspective is the most important when it comes to things like this.

  • Evelyn Reese

    Interesting! I will definitely research on the Xotica brand. I never really tried clip ins, but I certainly think about it.

    • Oh, good! Thanks for stopping by, Evelyn.

  • Eva

    I haven’t tried braids, extensions, or clip ins since my big chop. These look amazing! I may need to try something new. It has been 6 years of the same old same…

    • Braids are so easy and convenient. You’ll love them, Eva! And they’ll look great on you.

  • Kayvona B.

    I just finished up my degree and am starting my search for a job in corporate American and this has been one of the main question/concerns. This was great advice and definitely helps me a lot!

    • Congrats on your degree, sis! May you find the job of your dreams that loves your hair as is.

  • Great tips! I can definitely relate. I used to work in the financial district and was transitioning, but felt I always had to straighten my hair. Now I work for a private company and ALWAYS getting compliments. I’m still iffy about wearing a fro, but my coworkers have never given me the side eye about styles. Loving your hair first is always key

    • You’re right. You have to love your hair in order to effectively face any negative comments that might be thrown at you.

  • I’ve been fortunate to work in industries that are accepting (if not encouraging) of cultural differences. I’ve been looking for some easy-to-wear natural clip-ins. The 3C/4A corkscrews look like a good match for me.

    • That’s awesome, Patranila! I can’t wait until all women of color can say that. And yes, get that corkscrew! lol

  • Tiffany Heard

    Ive worked in the non private sector and they are usually accepting of natural hair/hairstyles. I do realize that if i go on a job interview I would wear a long wig instead of a puffy ponytail. That lets you know that having natural is seen as a bad thing.. I haven’t done a big chop but i really should to even out my hair and start fresh

    • I’ve done the Big Chop two times officially lol.

      You’re right, there’s still a bit of a stigma attached to natural, puffy hair. Hopefully one day going into an interview that way won’t be awkward or “wrong”.