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.


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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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.


Thanks for sharing! Beautiful hair cut!

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… Read more »

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


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.


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



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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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 »

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.

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 »

Natural hair boogeyman lol. I love it;-)


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.


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


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?


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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Beautiful! Work it!

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 »

Love your sharkfin


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


Omg, sharkfin. xD I love it!

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 more »
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 »

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. 🙂


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.

“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… Read more »

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