I work at a large corporate law firm and I also happen to have natural hair. We’re talking about one of the largest international law firms with over 3000 attorneys and 32 global offices, including Dubai and Hong Kong. So, they’re pretty huge! I’m happy to say even with all of that, I have never encountered any strange policies or adversary pertaining to my hair, which is completely natural, even though it’s becoming really common to hear of employers having a disdain and concern for natural, big, and their description of “unruly” hair being worn in the workplace. I’ve instead had many people compliment me for both my straight hair and when I wear my hair in a natural style at work.
I joined the firm in 2013 while I was still transitioning my hair into being completely natural, curly, kinky, and nappy! At first, I wore my hair mostly straight for many reasons including I wasn’t interested in committing to a big chop and I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I am now about natural hair. As time moved on, I began wearing several stretched curly styles, such as with the use of curlformers. When I finally became fully natural in 2014, my hair became loud with all of its might! I’ve had days where I came to work with my hair laid and humidity caught wind of it and changed my curls into a storm (literally)⛈ lol 😂. And, unfortunately, meetings aren’t scheduled around good hair days; so through the door first comes my hair followed by an embarrassed faced Nachana in a conference room seated by dozens. Many times on video-conference in front of hundreds of coworkers from offices around the globe 😱😱😱. But no one has ever said anything, at least not in front of my face. I’ve had people stare awkwardly though, or say that they like my hair BEST when it’s straight, but never anything worthwhile of me getting disappointed about. I have co-workers in other departments at the firm who have natural hair also: one with a Caesar style cut, another with a TWA, oh yea a few with dred locs, braids and a Mohawk (she actually works in the HR department).
Now, I definitely don’t recommend going to an interview with your natural hair out without doing your research first. Of course that should go without saying. Research the company’s background, competitors, the work-environment, location, the position, benefits, salary, and don’t forget to include the company’s reviews on policies. Some of this information may be located on Glassdoor.com. After doing your research, stick with the facts by credible sources. Reviews are still other people’s opinions, so it doesn’t mean it’s true. Overall, you should stick to natural hairstyles that are away from your face, like a ponytail or a bun. You don’t want anything to distract the interviewer. Or to distract you even. Imagine your natural hair covering your face during the interview and having to constantly move those curls behind your ear. Even though those curls are defined and super juicy looking, it can cause you more harm than good when you’re trying to look professional and prepared.
I certainly don’t advise to straighten your hair just for the sake of an interview either. Why risk the heat damage for something that may or may not go in your favor?! However, during your interview or during the offer process, you can certainly ask the interviewer the question of what is the policy on important factors such as dress-code and hair policy.
- Is there a hair policy at your workplace? Does it restrict you from wearing your hair in its natural state?
- If no, are you afraid of rocking your natural hair at work?
Every now and then I feel like the elephant in the room when I wear my hair curly at work, but it certainly doesn’t stop me! *flips hair*