Your Natural Hair is “Unprofessional”

natural hair is unprofessional, is natural hair unprofessional

When ever I’m going through the interview process a few things make me worry more than others. Yeah, answering all those questions about myself and my past experience can be nerve racking, especially if I feel like I’m being grilled. But once I start talking to the other person I can usually get a conversation going (unless I feel exceptionally uncomfortable, and at that point I usually know that place isn’t for me and it’s time to leave.)

Looking “appropriate” is often my biggest worry when it comes to interviewing. I of course know to smile and be welcoming, to dress sleek and sharp, to keep my makeup natural and to a minimum. But when it comes to my hair, it can get a little confusing. While most women may just wear their hair down, in a low pony or even a bun, it isn’t so simple for me.

A lot of black women have an unnerving feeling that their natural hair will not be accepted during an interview and that it may cost them opportunities. Having natural hair, especially if you have afro textured hair, can easily be viewed as a “political statement” or “distracting” and some will judge you based on that before even getting to know you and your qualifications. Even though I’m wearing my natural hair because for one, it’s mines and two, it’s healthier than using chemicals and heat to straighten it all the time, some will view me as being a problem child and not a good fit.

I have to add, that once you are in your position and have showed your personality and work ethic you may feel more comfortable wearing your natural hair out, and have less worry about being judge based on your hair. But were not talking about that far down the line.

My hair is still relatively short after chopping it all off and going natural, so it’s impossible to wear a low pony tail, wearing it “down” equates to me wearing an afro and some people may view that as being “unkempt” and my hair is barely long enough to put in a bun with the help of a pack of synthetic hair. I could give braids a try, but braids are deemed “unprofessional” in many instances and if you can’t braid yourself you have to spend 4 to 8 hours of your day at the hair salon and pay a couple hundred dollars for a professional to do them. Which brings us to another alternative, wigs and weaves.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with weaves and wigs. I find them easy to style and a great way to give my natural hair a break from manipulating and styling it all the time. The only downfall for weaves and wigs in my opinion is the cost! Hair extensions can cost anywhere from $180 to $300+ not including installation if you can’t do it yourself, and if you’re looking for a new job you may not have that kind of money to blow on a hair style. Finally, a lot of black women are moving away from weaves because they don’t see the need or desire to wear false hair when they have a head full of their own.

It leaves me wondering what do most natural black women do in this position? Do you wear your afro or kinky style with pride? Or do you cover it up with extensions in hopes that it won’t make others “distracted”?

~Melissa P.

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  • Have you ever been side-eyed for wearing your natural hair?