Curl Talk Q & A: Naturally Professional?
by Ebony Clark-Bomani
Q: I start my new job in a corporate environment next week, and my hair is stuck in that dreaded "in between stage." There's not really much I can do to it, other than wear an afro or two strand twists, but my twists are so short that I'm not ready to wear them as a style yet. I'm not sure it would be professional anyway. I don't want to cut my hair into a style either. I also feel that I need to "fit in" so maybe I should get my hair pressed??? I wore a straight wig to my interview initially, so they might be really thrown off if I walk in with an afro. What can I do? Please HELP! -AO-
A: First, congratulations on meeting a milestone in your natural hair journey. Once you're in that "in between stage" you've crossed over into a new set of hair challenges. LOL! I kid, I kid. Not to worry, though. You'll be just fine! Now is the time to experiment with styles that make you feel and look YOUR personal best. It's the same as when your hair was relaxed. You have to just find what works for you at every stage. As with many people, your anxiety probably comes from having created a false persona based on how YOU think society, in general, views you---when in actuality, all you have to do is be unapologetically you. You didn't have to interview in a wig. The only time that ANY hair is unprofessional, in my opinion, is when it's unclean and not groomed. However, I guess the definition of professional is relative to the situation. Every other race of people wear their hair the way it grows out of their scalps. So can we!
Now, I can't lie and say that your colleagues may not be a little intimidated, or even curious about your hair. There is truly a climate in every office, in which you may need to dress/act accordingly. By that, I mean there could definitely be parameters on how wild you wear your hair or how extreme your hair color can be. OK, it's time to get shampooed and conditioned so you can practice your new style for next week. The style: a perm rod set! Here's what you'll do: You'll use three different rod sizes to create a tapered, curly 'fro. Starting in the back and part of the sides (closest to the ears), set your hair on the smallest of the three rods with your favorite setting product. In the crown and the rest of the sides moving upward, roll your hair using the next size. At the top, use the largest of the three sizes. Allow your hair to dry completely, remove the rods, separate each curl and add a light oil for nourishment and shine. Voila! You're done. For extra volume, use a pick to lift the roots only! The faux tapered curly 'fro was one of my favorite go-to styles when I was in the in between stage. It's classy, beautiful, and VERY much "professional." Good luck on your new job!
Have you faced any challenges regarding your hair in Corporate America? We'd love to hear about your experience. Join the discussion below.