5 Appropriate natural hairstyles for the workplace
As naturals, we understand that wash day can be quite daunting. Forget squeezing in any other plans, your hair care regimen will take all day. There’s a lot to consider, give or take a few steps: wash, condition, dry, add moisture, style - it’s a very lengthy process. Deciding on a particular look can make your routine all the more stressful, especially if it has to be work appropriate. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of HR friendly hairstyles. To note, our definition of work appropriate does not mean the absence of kinks, merely the omission of any wild colors and accessories.
Wash ‘n’ Go
A wash ‘n’ go can be very difficult to master but garners beautiful results when done correctly. Of this list, wash ‘n’ gos are the most simple to achieve. Combs and other tools aren’t necessary (unless you use them to shingle), just your product of choice and a dryer (depending on how much time you have before you need to go!). As with any other styles, curl pattern should be accessed when choosing products. For instance, many 3c curlies opt for gel and a light leave-in conditioner to set their hair. Those with more coily textures may prefer a slightly heavier product and a different technique altogether. Hair Rules offers a Curly Whip that seriously works for all textures. Owner of Hair Rules salon, Anthony Dickey advises naturals to completely soak their hair in water before applying a liberal amount of Curly Whip, then shaking your head to define the pattern. You’ll want to get under a hooded dryer immediately to freeze this definition in place. The results are amazing.
Approach with extreme caution, this style can be finicky. Bomb twist outs are hard to duplicate, even when using the same technique. Still, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances. First, make sure your hair is clean. Product build up prevents your styler from penetrating your strands and doing its job to mold your hair. This is especially true for kinkier textures which may use heavier creams or butter. So before you do anything else, make sure you clarify your hair with an appropriate cleanser. After conditioning, you should dry as needed. Some naturals get the best results from wet hair, others from damp or completely dried. Do whatever works best for you. Section your hair and twist as desired. Consider what kinds of twists you want to use as they offer different patterns. Three strands, two strands, and flat twists all have their advantages, it all depends on what look you’re going for. Once complete, you’ll want to sit under a dryer to lock in the pattern and prevent swelling. To note, you should use a (satin or silk) scarf to keep your hair from getting too dry from the heat. It also lays down flyaways and those edges.
You might need to take a trip to the BSS (Beauty Supply Store) for this one. First, find rollers that you and your hair like. Some naturals prefer flexi rods to foam rollers and mesh rollers to curlformers, so on and so forth (no one likes perm rods). Your hands need to be comfortable with the curler. This is so important because if you don’t wrap the hair tight enough, it won’t set properly and the curls will be atrocious. So please keep ease of use in mind.
Next thing on the list is setting lotion which does exactly as the name suggests. Lastly, depending on your choice of curler, you should get endpapers.
Once you have everything you need, you’ll want to follow some of the steps outlined above. Make sure your hair is clean, conditioned and moisturized. Then you can section and add your setting lotion as needed. For smooth results, you should sit under a hooded dryer. If you don’t have one, add a bonnet attachment to that BSS list.
Depending on your level of expertise, you might want to go to a professional stylist for this one. Silk pressing natural hair is no joke. To attempt at home, you’ll want to start on clean and conditioned hair. Proceed to section and blow dry. Use a paddle brush or your preferred tool while blow drying in a downward motion. Those who prefer not to use (direct) heat can try alternative methods such as stretching with braids or roller set.
Section, flat iron (use one with ceramic plates for minimal damage) and trim if your ends look raggedy.
From here, you can wrap your hair, cover with saran wrap and sit under a hooded dryer. It’s not necessary but allows for a sleeker look.
If you are a master braider, stock up on Kanekalon hair and do your best. Those who need assistance with this style will need to do lots of research. You want to find a stylist who yes, does amazing work but also is concerned with the health of your hair. You don’t want anyone who’s impatient combing your strands; you also don’t want tight braiders (just google “traction alopecia”). Read reviews to get a feel for your salon and stylist of choice. Once you find someone who aligns with your goals, make sure you ask a lot of questions. If you have short hair, ask if the style can be accomplished without any adjustments. If your hair is long, see if there are any additional fees. You don’t want to be surprised the day of your appointment - make sure to send a picture of your desired style (and own hair) beforehand. Communicate with your stylist throughout the entire process. Hopefully, you’ll leave with your desired look.
Though we have our definition of work appropriate hairstyles, you should take our advice with a grain of salt. Gauge the atmosphere of your office and check your employee handbook to confirm you’re in accordance with office rules. When considering braids for example, if you know your office has a problem with individual braids or box braids, it would be best to style in an updo. We chose the styles above because they allow for a certain amount of creativity without being distracting. They can be adapted to suit your needs so you should use your best judgment.