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By Patri­cia Car­roll (pic­tured above)

I’ve been nat­u­ral for a long time but when my styl­ist and friend died of can­cer I didn’t want any­one else to do my hair. A close sis­ter friend of mine was bat­tling can­cer around the same time, so when she cut her hair off I did too. I work in the news/entertainment busi­ness as a tech­ni­cian so I didn’t think twice about the styles I would get. I wasn’t com­fort­able with the look at first, so after a few mishaps I found a great bar­ber and start­ed to get designs. I want­ed some­thing funky, cool and dif­fer­ent with easy main­te­nance, and the short cut pro­vides that. 

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My hair styles are well received at work, I’ve nev­er had an issue, I’m always get­ting com­pli­ments. I’ve cov­ered sev­er­al high end events in my career. There was one occa­sion when I had to trav­el for work, at the time I was rock­ing a flow­er paint­ed in my hair. I asked my super­vi­sor if it was okay to trav­el and rep­re­sent the com­pa­ny with the cut. His respon­se was, “Sure no prob­lem.” After being told ear­ly in my career that I couldn’t wear any nat­u­ral hair styles try­ing to make it in the radio/TV busi­ness, I feel extreme­ly lucky to work in a pro­fes­sion and an envi­ron­ment that allows and appre­ci­ates nat­u­ral hair.

Ladies, do you rock uncon­ven­tion­al styles to work? Share your pho­tos and expe­ri­ences!

Patricia’s hair was cut and styled by Morono Hodge of Wash­ing­ton, DC and Fred (da bar­ber) Rainey of Cap­i­tal Heights, MD. 

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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29 Comments on "True Life: I Wear an Unconventional Natural Hair Style to Work"

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shelikes

free­dom looks good on the­se ladies. i wear my hair pret­ty typ­i­cal­ly, because i am not real­ly an out­go­ing per­son and dont like unso­licit­ed looks and com­ments.

i dont even wear col­or and it seems like all the time peo­ple are com­ment­ing on my hair both pos­i­tive­ly and neg­a­tive­ly and id just real­ly not like to have to deal with it.

i love liv­ing vic­ar­i­ous­ly through the­se cre­ative wom­en. wish­ing for more pic­tures.

Alwina

Thanks for shar­ing! Beau­ti­ful hair cut!

Selah
At my first job out of col­lege, I wore wigs over my locs because I already knew that my hair wouldn’t be accept­ed. But as some­one else stat­ed, I need­ed a job so I dealt with it until I gained enough experience/skills to apply to my now cur­rent job.  At my inter­view, I had mar­ley twists installed over my locs. I pulled it up into a bun, threw on a head­band (no time for a retwist) and went into the inter­view. Killed it and got hired. I had the mar­ley twists in for about 2 weeks after start­ing then took them out.… Read more »
Meg

I actu­al­ly think the flow­er is tacky. I like the oth­er styles though.

Amber

I think that it depends on where exact­ly you work. Like in cor­po­rate where suits are worn and busi­ness attire is a must at all times, you can’t go into the work place with dif­fer­ent col­ors of hair.

Mia

Awe­some hair­style!! Yes nat­u­ral hair is nev­er a hin­drance to the work­place, unless we tell our­selves oth­er­wise, and thus we make it so.

Tom

You go!!!GIRL I LIKE IT!!!!RNATURALLLL GIRL!!!

Aelicia DeLovely

I love the hair!!!! The way that I express myself where I work is by my crazy hair col­ors. Right now its gray and plat­inum and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I believe as long as a per­son is up for the job and does the job prop­er­ly hair should not be an issue.
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Taiwo

cool.

Laney
I can appre­ci­ate that some peo­ple work in very con­ser­v­a­tive envi­ron­ments. How­ev­er, just because you and anoth­er per­son work in the same field, it doesn’t mean that you work in the same kind of envi­ron­ment with/for the same kinds of peo­ple. I’m sure that work­ing at Dell vs Apple is a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence with one prob­a­bly being more con­ser­v­a­tive than the oth­er yet they’re both in the same indus­try. Ergo, your expe­ri­ence is not everyone’s expe­ri­ence because that oth­er arti­cle did assume too much. We all live and work in dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments and while some may swear twist outs and… Read more »
kris

I work for a law firm and i wear my hair nat­u­ral as well as more than half the black wom­en in my office. No one even bats an eye­lash when i wear wash and gos or what­ev­er style i choose. But i must say i know im lucky bc every place of busi­ness is not so accom­mo­dat­ing to Nat­u­ral hair, but I’m thank­ful that my firm is.

Guest1234
Whew! THANK YOU FOR SHARING! I was get­ting so sick of all the fear­ful hand-wring­ing about how we’ll end up on wel­fare and nev­er find employ­ment if we don’t twist, coil, relax, tex­tur­ize, slick or spend an ungod­ly amount of time chang­ing who we are. I have heard enough of the dra­ma about the nat­u­ral hair boogey­man who will come in the night and steal our homes and leave us pen­ni­less on wel­fare. The one thing I can’t stand is ridicu­lous hys­te­ria. Thank you for adding a voice of rea­son. There are more than enough sen­si­ble work envi­ron­ments for black… Read more »
Vanessa

Nat­u­ral hair boogey­man lol. I love it;-)

FMR

I love it. I’ve worked in cor­po­rate for about 15 years now, and I am OVAH it. Time to reclaim myself, which includes re-pierc­ing my nose and dying my locks what­ev­er col­or I wish. You have only one life to live. Don’t spend it kow­tow­ing to the stan­dards of those who will nev­er walk in your shoes, whether you have a relax­er or not.

PMS

I’m jeal­ous. I work for a health­care orga­ni­za­tion and the hair pol­i­cy is clear­ly defined. No wig­gle room what­so­ev­er. :(

Alycia

What kind of restric­tions do you have? Just curi­ous :)

Rebe A

Wow I am sur­prised to hear that about health­care. I am a clin­i­cian and I’ve nev­er had any guide­li­nes imposed about hair. I’ve been at it 16 years and have work at 10 dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals from NY to LA. Are you in admin­is­tra­tion, or may­be phar­ma sales?

sherryb

I love it on June, it was time was a change so I got a cut. Some call it a mohawk but I call it a shark­fin.
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Alwina

Beau­ti­ful! Work it!

Unque43
Not only nat­u­ral hair­style is appro­pri­ate in some work places, but their are some relaxed hair­styles that are not appro­pri­ate. I am sure that if you are in a work­place that is con­ser­v­a­tive you must be some­what con­ser­v­a­tive to have got­ten the job in the first place. If you work where as your style is free than do you. This is just not an issue. Even with nat­u­ral hair you can be you. I don’t know why peo­ple are mak­ing a issue out of the nat­u­ral hair thing. No mat­ter relaxed, nat­u­ral or what­ev­er, keep in clean, healthy and appro­pri­ate… Read more »
Unque43

Love your shark­fin

sherryb

Cor­rec­tions
I love it. On June 1, it was time for a change so I got a cut.

Coco

Omg, shark­fin. xD I love it!

aree
You know the pre­vi­ous arti­cle about nat­u­ral hair in the work place, along with expe­ri­ences online users post, I admit I became a lit­tle wor­ried about when, where, and how to wear my hair. I am not knock­ing anyone’s expe­ri­ence, but not every­one is pay­ing atten­tion to our hair. In some areas our hair may be uncom­mon but a lot of peo­ple seem to over think sit­u­a­tions and com­ments, thus turn­ing some­thing small into some­thing big when it’s actu­al­ly not. If you are look­ing for haters you’re going to find them.  Sor­ry for the ram­bling. It was just nice to read a… Read more »
BrinkyDinks
I agree. I actu­al­ly think my nat­u­ral hair has helped me get jobs because it makes me stand out from the crowd. Peo­ple actu­al­ly get dis­ap­point­ed when I say I’m going to straight­en my hair, and the­se com­ments tend to come from non-blacks. I think as long as you are con­fi­dent in your hair or hair­style it will usu­al­ly be fine. I actu­al­ly had an employ­er tell me how to wear my hair once when I had it relaxed. I told her when she starts pay­ing to get my hair done she can tell me how to wear it. She… Read more »
Liz

I agree! Peo­ple used to tell me to try and tame my afro before job inter­views, etc. I nev­er lis­tened and have nev­er had a prob­lem get­ting good jobs in pro­fes­sion­al office set­tings. Love the pos­i­tive spin this arti­cle places on being nat­u­ral in the work­place. :)

LBell

THANK YOU. I couldn’t agree more.

Now how long do you think it’ll take before some­body comes in here and starts mak­ing excus­es for this woman’s hair­style? “Well, she’s not work­ing in [this industry]…she can’t wear that hair in [this envi­ron­ment]…”

I am so OVER black wom­en hold­ing them­selves back over this sub­ject, I can’t tell you. I keep say­ing this and I’m going to say it again: No, not every nat­u­ral hair­style is appro­pri­ate for every workplace…but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one that is.

Vanessa
“No, not every nat­u­ral hair­style is appro­pri­ate for every workplace…but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one that is.” Well said my friend. A lot of wom­en real­ly need to here that rev­e­la­tion. I am the only African-Amer­i­can female at my place of work. That being so, I have to be care­ful what hair­styles etc I do to my hair. I get exper­i­men­tal with my hair (i do a lot of funky hair­styles and exper­i­ment with col­or). How­ev­er, I do real­ize that if I do a style that is too crazy, or try a col­or that is too much, I can… Read more »
cacey

wow your hair is amaz­ing. pret­ty and the col­or works well!

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