Curls in the Workforce

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I have a job interview tomorrow - albeit, just at a grocery store - and I'm slightly worried my curls will work against me. While natural hair textures are a bit more acceptable nowadays, I've read stories on some other forums where ladies (and gentlemen) who wore their hair curly were told they should straighten it in order to look more professional and polished. (Why is straight hair considered more acceptable anyway?)

I have a feeling I'm worrying about this more than I should...but I really need a job and would hate for my hair to ruin that for me. I hope that makes sense. In the past, I had always straightened my hair for job interviews. This will be my first one going au naturale.

I guess I'm just asking for reassurance that wearing my hair natural will be okay...
HAIR STATS & ROUTINE
2c/3a--medium porosity--medium density--medium/coarse
Cleansers: SM Shampoo
Conditioners: Suave Naturals, KCKT, SM JBCO Masque
Stylers: AG Re:Coil, KCCC, LALSG.
Finishers: Curls Creme Brule, SM Curl and Style Milk
Oils: Jessicurl Oil Blend for softer hair and/or olive oil.
*I don't use all these things at the same time.*
My youtube:click here.
CG since April 2015

IMO, you should go curly if that's how you'd be wearing your hair everyday at work anyway. Maybe if you wanted to "tone it down" a bit you could wear it half up or in a bun?

I'm new to the natural hair world, but I had no idea that there was the potential for discrimination! My sister has amazing long, curly hair and she just got a great new job. I don't think it's as big an issue as you might think (although I can see why you would think that with your friends' experiences). I'd be interested to know if others feel they've been discriminated against on the basis of their curls.

In the end, I think it's always better to be yourself. You look great in your profile pic; I don't know how anyone could see your hair as anything but beautiful and totally professional!

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AND I just noticed what board you posted this on and I started reading people's experiences with natural hair...feeling enlightened because I had NO IDEA it was even an issue!

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Honestly I don't think for a grocery store it would matter. I have seen all curly haired people working as cashiers plenty of times. I've seen people with visible tats so I don't they'd complained about curly hair as long as it's clean and not matted.


Part of me feels like people make too big of a deal of the curly vs. straight at the job but then I remember different bosses, different professionals can mean different experiences. Well, for me I never straighten and it's not an issue at my job. My job has more of an issue on what they deem to be hair that is too long than hair that is curly so actually shrinkage helps me in that way.
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.
IMO, you should go curly if that's how you'd be wearing your hair everyday at work anyway. Maybe if you wanted to "tone it down" a bit you could wear it half up or in a bun?
Originally Posted by sarajane82
That's what my mom told me and it makes sense. I'll probably do half up or leave it down depending on what second day hair has in store for me. Also, thank you

Now that I'm thinking about it more, I don't think it's really discrimination in the sense that they'd choose someone with straight hair over someone with curls, but just that some people see curls as unprofessional?

Granted, adthomas is right, different people, different bosses etc. I'm sure a lot of bosses really don't care. I'm curious about the "too long of hair" thing. Is it seen as a safety concern? I know when I had classes that involved labs, long haired people were instructed to wear their hair up.
HAIR STATS & ROUTINE
2c/3a--medium porosity--medium density--medium/coarse
Cleansers: SM Shampoo
Conditioners: Suave Naturals, KCKT, SM JBCO Masque
Stylers: AG Re:Coil, KCCC, LALSG.
Finishers: Curls Creme Brule, SM Curl and Style Milk
Oils: Jessicurl Oil Blend for softer hair and/or olive oil.
*I don't use all these things at the same time.*
My youtube:click here.
CG since April 2015

I've had my hair curly for two years now and started wearing it curly just around the time I began my current job. I've never had anyone tell me I looked unprofessional, or come across anyone who was told to straighten their hair. I can't imagine anyone ever being so ridiculous as to suggest such a thing
ExpectoPatronum likes this.
3B. Med porosity. Med thickness. Med density.

LP: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus
Conditioner/CW: Jason Aloe Vera

LI: Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils Quench
Refreshing: TRESemmé Naturals Aloe Vera & Avocado
Gel: Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper
DC:
Aunt Jackie's Soft & Sassy Super Duper Softening Conditioner
Treatments: Coconut oil/Coconut milk

UK curly. CG since Oct 2013.
Growing my hair to WL
Just popping in to say that if your curly style is as pictured in your avatar, your hair is beautiful and I would not think twice about it for your interview. Best of luck and tell us how it goes!
Location: Texas
Type: 3b/3c (i), below shoulder length.
CO wash: A-O GPB LYY, Salon Care Honey Almond, Acure Argan Stem Cell+Argan Oil, Mill Creek Botanicals Keratin Repair
Leave-ins: BWC, KCKT, cno overnight
Styling: BRHG, MGA Sculpting Gel, A-O Mandarin Magic Gel, LOTD AVG, LALSG, CJ Pattern Pusha
DT: Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak, Curl Junkie Deep Fix, Briogeo Don't Despair Repair!, KC Stellar Strands
Just wanted to update...I had my interview and everything was fine. I'm thankful because the second day hair gods were against me :P
HAIR STATS & ROUTINE
2c/3a--medium porosity--medium density--medium/coarse
Cleansers: SM Shampoo
Conditioners: Suave Naturals, KCKT, SM JBCO Masque
Stylers: AG Re:Coil, KCCC, LALSG.
Finishers: Curls Creme Brule, SM Curl and Style Milk
Oils: Jessicurl Oil Blend for softer hair and/or olive oil.
*I don't use all these things at the same time.*
My youtube:click here.
CG since April 2015

Just wanted to update...I had my interview and everything was fine. I'm thankful because the second day hair gods were against me :P
Originally Posted by ExpectoPatronum
Awesome! Crossing my fingers you get it!

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I think if anything, you should tie it back somewhat bc there could be a concern that long strands of hair could find their way into ppl's food or the food cases or the salad bar or whatever.

Your hair looks pretty tho.

I think the whole "unprofessional" BS affects women of color more than White women and especially affects the tighter curl types. Natural, afro, kinky, frizzy, big, "wild" hair on PoC evoke certain fears about the PoC being aggressive, militant, insubordinate and subversive.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 05-29-2015 at 12:29 PM.
IMO, you should go curly if that's how you'd be wearing your hair everyday at work anyway. Maybe if you wanted to "tone it down" a bit you could wear it half up or in a bun?
Originally Posted by sarajane82
That's what my mom told me and it makes sense. I'll probably do half up or leave it down depending on what second day hair has in store for me. Also, thank you

Now that I'm thinking about it more, I don't think it's really discrimination in the sense that they'd choose someone with straight hair over someone with curls, but just that some people see curls as unprofessional?

Granted, adthomas is right, different people, different bosses etc. I'm sure a lot of bosses really don't care. I'm curious about the "too long of hair" thing. Is it seen as a safety concern? I know when I had classes that involved labs, long haired people were instructed to wear their hair up.
Originally Posted by ExpectoPatronum
No. Nothing to do with safety. different professions, different bosses, different opinions.Some professions there are those who feel like long hair is unprofessional and not polished. Probably midback is the most you could get away with. well, maybe and that's no matter if it's curly or straight. I'm sure there are those who disagree with me but I don't equate being asked to change your hair length with being asked to change your hair texture. For example if you are a dude with a pony tail and you want to be an officer or join the military you already know the ponytail has to go. So I feel like if you want hair to your butt certain careers you should avoid.
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.
LOL, well according to THIS article, not only would my curls work against me, so would my hair color.

Bad grooming habits bad work ethic: Australian research says redheads least professional - Prime Minister Julia Gillard has red hair | Daily Mail Online


I'm definitely a "curly" 2c. Sometimes curly and sometimes just wavy upper layer with a ringlety under layer. My hair has been thick and coarse since birth. Strawberry blonde in color that can and does change depending on the type and amount of light.


All in all, I'm happy with my hair type but almost for sure think yours is prettier.
I've had my hair curly for two years now and started wearing it curly just around the time I began my current job. I've never had anyone tell me I looked unprofessional, or come across anyone who was told to straighten their hair. I can't imagine anyone ever being so ridiculous as to suggest such a thing
Originally Posted by BotticelliBrit
In the case of Weili Dai some suggest otherwise....
josephrosenfeld . c o m/weili-dai-a-profile-in-style/
It's really sad how much people are judged based on their hair, especially when it's what they were born with. I have 3a/3b hair that comes down to the middle of my back. I wore my hair down and natural one day at work and was told it was unprofessional for my position. My hair was completely dry, freshly washed, and freshly styled; it's never 100% frizz-free, but it wasn't messy. I work in a conservative field, so it's not that surprising. At the same time, I had previously worn my hair down and styled in big voluminous waves, and nobody told me that was unprofessional.
It's really sad how much people are judged based on their hair, especially when it's what they were born with. I have 3a/3b hair that comes down to the middle of my back. I wore my hair down and natural one day at work and was told it was unprofessional for my position. My hair was completely dry, freshly washed, and freshly styled; it's never 100% frizz-free, but it wasn't messy. I work in a conservative field, so it's not that surprising. At the same time, I had previously worn my hair down and styled in big voluminous waves, and nobody told me that was unprofessional.
Originally Posted by LilieStargazer
Do you think it's the curl or the length they don't like?
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.
It's really sad how much people are judged based on their hair, especially when it's what they were born with. I have 3a/3b hair that comes down to the middle of my back. I wore my hair down and natural one day at work and was told it was unprofessional for my position. My hair was completely dry, freshly washed, and freshly styled; it's never 100% frizz-free, but it wasn't messy. I work in a conservative field, so it's not that surprising. At the same time, I had previously worn my hair down and styled in big voluminous waves, and nobody told me that was unprofessional.
Originally Posted by LilieStargazer
Do you think it's the curl or the length they don't like?
Originally Posted by adthomas
I think it's probably a combination of the type of curl and the length since it wasn't a problem down and styled, and other women have worn their hair down long and straight.
adthomas likes this.
It's really sad how much people are judged based on their hair, especially when it's what they were born with. I have 3a/3b hair that comes down to the middle of my back. I wore my hair down and natural one day at work and was told it was unprofessional for my position. My hair was completely dry, freshly washed, and freshly styled; it's never 100% frizz-free, but it wasn't messy. I work in a conservative field, so it's not that surprising. At the same time, I had previously worn my hair down and styled in big voluminous waves, and nobody told me that was unprofessional.
Originally Posted by LilieStargazer
Do you think it's the curl or the length they don't like?
Originally Posted by adthomas
I think it's probably a combination of the type of curl and the length since it wasn't a problem down and styled, and other women have worn their hair down long and straight.
Originally Posted by LilieStargazer
was this person a superior. does this person have the ability to hire/fire. If not, press the ignore button. The other day I had on some new earrings and my boss complimented them. His second in command was standing next to him and said she wasn't sure if they were appropriate because of the size. I said 'I like big earrings." (They were big but not huge. Didnt' touch my shoulder) then later my boss walked by my desk and told me he thought the earrings looked fine. opinions are like you know whats.
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.
I kind of disagree that the "curly hair is unprofessional or bad" insult only affects black women. I'm a frizzy/curly blue-eyed white woman and people are always assuming I have a perm/am wild and crazy/should "do something" about my hair as if it's not right for a white woman not to have straight hair. I sometimes envy black women because society assumes that their hair is "natural" and "normal". I've always been treated as if my hair is abnormal, wrong, and ugly.
I kind of disagree that the "curly hair is unprofessional or bad" insult only affects black women.
Originally Posted by Ellen1837
I don't believe anyone said it affects only Black women.

I sometimes envy black women because society assumes that their hair is "natural" and "normal". I've always been treated as if my hair is abnormal, wrong, and ugly.
Originally Posted by Ellen1837
No, society really isn't used to seeing natural hair on Black women. .. and often assumes it should appear more like straight, White hair.

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3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I kind of disagree that the "curly hair is unprofessional or bad" insult only affects black women. I'm a frizzy/curly blue-eyed white woman and people are always assuming I have a perm/am wild and crazy/should "do something" about my hair as if it's not right for a white woman not to have straight hair. I sometimes envy black women because society assumes that their hair is "natural" and "normal". I've always been treated as if my hair is abnormal, wrong, and ugly.
Originally Posted by Ellen1837
I definitely think non black women are affected. I don't know where you live but many places it is considered ugly and unpresentable for a black woman or girl not to have hair that is either straightend or maybe braids depending on the situation. Do you realize that in the US it is very common for a black woman not to know what her natural hair looks like because she started getting chemical treatments earlier than she can recall. I was one myself. Before chemicals my mom used pressing combs which is extremely common practice on black women's hair. My great grandma did it and my cousin does it to her daughters today. Forgive me but I don't know many nonblack women whose moms were flat ironing let alone chemically altering their daughter's hair at 5, 6 years old the way many black moms tend to do.
Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it.

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