Locs and Professionalism
Your hair “should not” be the determining factor of becoming employed or getting opportunties. If anything, it should show that you have character. Your hair should not outshine your knowledge and experience—in the workplace, professional network…just general business. As I last recall, there isn’t a law stating that an employer could turn you down because of your hair—well—in a restaurant setting maybe. However, I think that employers tiptoe around this hair thing because they do not want to cross the line t0 offending someone’s culture and such. Plus, an employer would be crazy to hire someone who has another hairstyle with minimal to no skills compared to an applicant that has extensive know-how and experience who just happens to have locs.
Although it is almost easy to just have your locs as is, it is not always the best option. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, WHATEVER, just because you are among your own kind does NOT give you an excuse to wear you locs as is in a professional environment. I’ve been in work environments where the majority is African-Americans (and I was just starting my locs) and predominately Caucasian offices as well. Now, you know I work in Mental Health so I HAVE TO BE PRESENTABLE AT ALL TIMES.
My recent employer, who was a White woman, had a very deep conversation with me regarding my locs. You know, to get over the awkwardness she asked how they (locs) are started and how they stay locked. I explained all of this and cleared up any misconceptions. I got her opinion directly on my hair as well. This counts especially since this employer is nationally known! So she says that my locs are very nice and neat (Yay!). She also said that she did not have any problems with my locs whatsoever and never knew they could be styled in the ways I have used. So I was curious about what she deemed as unacceptable, so I asked her. These were some of her common peeves:
- Dirty or locs that appear dirty.
- Weird hairstyles.
- Weird colors (will be explained).
- Untwisted locs.
- When locs look bulky or unkept.
Look, you don’t want to scare your employer or destroy your chance for potential opporutnities. On top of that, especially if you work in human services, you do not want to put a gap between you and others. In another words, they should be looking more at your face than your hair. If you notice that people’s eyes are darting between your eyes and your hair, something needs to be done…now.
Some things I’ve picked up on to make sure my hair is presentable:
- You need to have little to no frizz. It makes a huge difference, love. Make sure you’re sleeping in a satin head cap/scarf or with satin pillows. Even so, check for frizz before you leave the bathroom and wrap stray hairs around the loc it belongs to in the morning. Use a little twist-and-lock gel or something non-flaking to keep it there. Mousse works well, too!
- You see them itty-bitty hairs on the hairline around your face. Yeah, tame them. Take a little gel or mousse and slick them jokers down (see video below). Don’t overdo it! You don’t want caked up gel around your face. It will look like dandruff later in the day. A little goes a long way. Also, it would be great if you could do it the night before and use a scarf to make the hairs lay down. Guys, get that good edge up!
- No strange hairstyles, please. You shouldn’t have your locs sticking straight up like street lights. If you’re Black working in a predominately White or other environments, you WILL get “those” looks (lol).
- No multicolored locs. Don’t get me wrong, highlights and colors (burgundy, blondes and golden tones, et cetera) within the same palette are great! However, this bright red and orange, florescent blue or pink locs AT work are not going TO work.
- It doesn’t have to be always, but being able to see your scalp makes your locs look twisted and clean even if you haven’t. This is highly favorable in the work place.
- Moisturize them locs! Ashy locs are not a good look! Stop being lazy and oil up those cotton-picking locs.
- Freeform locs can cause problems in the workplace if they are not maintained. I know it’s possible to keep them looking great. I’ve seen women on sites such as Nappturality that have done so. Not an excuse.
Come to work with a fresh face. Women, make that makeup work for you. No drama queen stuff either,make it look natural and chic. Men, again, get the edge up and the facial hairs cleaned up pronto. If you’re not going to get it edged up, at least have those itty-bitty hairs twisted into a loc. (There is a video below about edging up your locs)
- Please, please, PLEASE dress appropriately. It brings everything together. You’re already doing that? You’re on point!
- Curls, buns, and pinned locs look very professional. Wearing your locs straight are fine, but make sure they don’t pull any stunts like sticking out in strange angles.
- Men look very nice with short, close to scalp (and laid flat) or shoulder length locs in the work place. Men with longer locs look very nice when they pull them back. I’ve seen men who killed the look with each length.
Have questions about locs? Email me at: email@example.com