Curly haired women are consistently told that straightening for work is a good move. In some professions, even, curly hair is seen as unkempt and unprofessional. Fortunately, though, instead of straightening, you can stay true to your natural ways by trying out these top 10 curly professional hairstyles. You never know, you may be only the beginning of a workplace-wide natural transitioning movement! Do you have a professional hairstyle that's tried and true? Let us know in the comments!
1. Curly Bob
Keeping it short!
A curly bob is a great way to show off your curls while also giving them a more professional and controlled look. Because maintaining a bob cut will require more frequent visits to your stylist, your hair will be healthier and show it. Tighter, shinier curls will prove your boss’s image of ratty, tangled, damaged curly hair to be just down right wrong!
Curly bobs are not for everyone, though. Square, oval and long face shapes are well suited for the shorter cuts, while heart and round shaped faces will not be flattered.
Also, pay attention to your hair type. Short cuts will increase your curl. If this is something you want to avoid, a bob is not for you.
As with all hairstyles, finding great products to help keep shape and promote definition is ideal. Try products designed specifically for short cuts, especially products designed specifically for both shorter cuts and curly hair.
Simple, but smart.
Braids are always a great way to dress up any look and keep curly locks in their place and out of your face. For women with longer hair, a side braid is both stylish as well as easy-going and makes for a good work look. This look will work best if you also have long layers, as the front, loose strands are key to creating casual, but professional hairstyles.
When braiding, start close to the nape of your neck, keeping the braid loose, but tight enough to contain the curl.
Women with tighter curls and shorter cuts can opt for creating smaller, tighter and close to the scalp braids. These type of braids, also known as cornrows, are extremely versatile and can last for an extended period of time, helping to quicken your morning routine.
Be sure that if you opt for cornrows, you stick with common styles and patterns. While new and different patterns can be exciting and even creative, in the workplace, you want to make sure that your coworkers see you rather than your hair. Remember, because cornrows last longer than a side braid, you want to make sure that the look is versatile enough for both work and play.
For both styles, a styling cream such as As I Am Smoothing Gel will help to whisk back fly-aways within the braid(s) and give hair a fresh and professional look.
3. High Ponytail/Bun
Out of your hair and off your mind.
More and more women, and designers, are opting for high ponytails and buns. These trendy professional hairstyles are easy to recreate and perfect for those days when you sleep through the alarm.
For women with longer, looser waves, a high ponytail is best. To achieve an optimal look, pull hair up and away from the face, placing the ponytail at the top ridge of your head. The ponytail should be resting on a short, flat area, right above the rounding of your skull.
To turn day-old locks in to fresh, sweeping curls, pull out a curling iron. Be sure that the iron is on the lowest heat setting to avoid any heat damage and then curl the entire ponytail. Hairspray will keep the look in place. Finish everything off with a shining product like Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Weightless Shine Mist to give a glowing look.
For women with shorter styles and tighter curls, use a silk headband or scarf to gather curls on tops of your head, or where the curls naturally fall. You can either use the headband or scarf as a hair tie, creating a traditional bun, or simply let hair rest behind the scarf or headband, creating a bun look.
Bobby pins will help to keep the scarf in place, if you so choose. Finish your curls with a pomade such as Curlisto Finishing Pomade to hold definition and create shine throughout the day.
4. All Down
Au naturale, and loving it.
Okay, it's true, we admit it: curly hair left to its own devices can sometimes go a little haywire, but that doesn’t mean you can’t flaunt your natural ways.
While hair gel and mousse can help to promote volume and body, pomade will create definition and strike down all frizz. Using your finger, twist curls individually, coating each with a dab of pomade from root to tip. The process may seem rigorous, but hey, at least you don’t have to straighten!
Finish your mane off with a finishing shine spray followed by hairspray to hold the curls in place. If necessary, throw some bobby pins in that purse of yours in case a quick pullback is needed later in the day.
Remember to keep your hands off! Excessive manipulation of curly locks during the day can transfer oils that break down curl pattern and create frizz.
Using strong hold pomade will make sure your mind never needs to wander back to your hair. Try something like Wen Sweet Almond Texture Balm.
5. Half Up, Half Down
Indecision turns decision
While not a style all hair lengths and textures can pull off, it is definitely one to keep in your repertoire. Even those with shorter cuts and tighter curls can benefit from letting a few pieces hang down to frame the face.
No matter how much curly hair you decide to put in the up 'do and how much you leave down, remember to style wisely. Half up, half down professional hairstyles are not your average 8th grade throwback.
Strands left down should frame the face and be frizz free. Pieces that are pulled up should lie as flat as possible to give the look of a sleek, well-maintained upper layer. This layer should not be greasy.
The overall style doesn’t need to look like a quick fix to an alarm mishap. Spend some time perfecting the style before you make it a professional look.
6. Hair Accessories
Add some dazzle to your 'do.
You name it and curly hair looks good in it. Now, while certain workplace protocols might restrict some hair accessories such as hats, other accessories such as headbands, decorative bobby pins and even fun hair ties can dress up most professional hairstyles in a matter of minutes.
Drugstores offer an array of styles for these products, but spending a little extra for nicer, more professional looking products is a good idea. Try scoping out your favorite stores for small accessories and remember, all scarves can be turned in to a hair piece..
Beware, though, of trying to tie in recent trends. Your headband shouldn’t have a huge feather on it, but it is okay to get a little creative as long as it isn’t distracting.
Elegant and easy!
While just a couple years ago straighties mastered the front strand braid, curlies have been using twists since, nearly, the beginning of time.
Twists are easy and quick, get hair out of your face, and provide a polished look.
Twists can be on a single side, or on both. To accomplish the look, grab the section of hair you want pulled back, and twist. Be sure to hold the twist tightly throughout the twisting process as the style a tendency to loosen up near the end.
Secure the twist with crossing bobbing pins or invisible hair ties. The end of the twist should disappear in to the rest of your hair.
To combat fly-aways, use a combination of pomade or Shea butter and hairspray.
Get more for your buck!
Curly bangs can be a challenge, but if worn correctly, can make for nice “grown-up,” professional hairstyles.
Be sure, always, that the bangs never cover your eyes. Especially in a work environment, you don’t want your hair to be a distraction to either you or others.
When going for the cut, be sure that your stylist makes the chop on dry hair. Cutting curly bangs wet will create shorter than wanted locks.
Once the cut is in place, use pomade or Shea butter to definite each curl. Curly bangs should never be frizzy.
Go ahead and use a curling iron or rollers to set the look before you add products.
Women whose hair naturally creates an afro-like effect are well suited for curly bangs. Parts can create a confusing curly look and seemingly chop the hair up in sections.
Those with looser curls and prominent parts can opt for an up ‘do, letting their bangs frame their face.
9. French Twist
The classic style makes a comeback.
Straight-stranded gals have been using this trick for centuries and there is no reason curlies can’t take a page from their book. French twists create classic and iconic professional hairstyles that gives off a polished and professional look.
In addition, a French twist can be worn tightly or more loosely, allowing strands of curls to frame the face and reducing scalp stress.
To create a French twist, follow the instructions below.
- Put your hair in a ponytail, fixing it on your head with a hair tie.
- Make a firm twist, like you would to create a single twist, and continuing twisting all the way to your ends.
- Lay the twist straight up the back of your head. Continue twisting if needed. Begin pinning hair starting from the bottom and hiding pins inward where you cannot see them.
- Give the middle roll a pinch to open up just enough to place your ends inside.
- Take hair pins or a hair comband slide in the upper section, grabbing just a bit of hair in the twist and sliding it in and under, into the roll. Do the same for the lower section.To keep the up ‘do in place, apply hairspray where needed.
The good kind!
Now, don’t start getting any dirty ideas! A pin-up hairstyle works great for all lengths and textures of curly hair and it gets hair out of your face, off your neck and, best of all, gives extra volume and curl.
First, pin up the top half of your hair to get it out of the way. Then, get creative with the bottom half. Using bobby pins, twist curls up and secure.
Once you are finished with the bottom half, move to the top and begin again.
Once all pieces are firmly secured on your head, apply hairspray. If needed, use a curling iron to curl ends that are sticking out.
When your 'do looks as though you just received a perm and a pixie cut, you'll know you have it right.