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NightingaleLHC
April 23rd, 2011, 09:33 PM
After blowdrying and flat ironing my curly hair all through middle school, high school and the beginning of college, I wholeheartedly embraced LHC my junior year. I air dried, stopped using cones, regularly oiled and hennaed, and started micro trims. My hair grew from shoulder length to mid back. Then I started law school. When it came time for law firm interviews, I decided that I needed to look professional (and we all know that long hair isn't professional :rolleyes:). I chopped everything off to between chin and shoulder length, started blowdrying/ironing again, and am back on cones. Needless to say, my hair has suffered. I've started taking little steps back in the right direction--I'm doing CWC again and letting my hair go curly on the weekends.

I feel conflicted--on the one hand, I want my hair to be healthy, and I know that blowdrying is terrible for my hair. On the other hand, I am graduating soon, starting a career in corporate law, and I know that there is a dress code, which includes hair. Having both long and curly hair is like two strikes against me.

I guess this post is really about two separate (but for me, intertwined) issues--falling off the wagon of a good hair care routine (whatever that may mean to different people) and also succumbing to the pressures of societal expectations about a professional image.

Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences to share, or advice?

Slinks
April 23rd, 2011, 09:39 PM
really, seriously who says long is not proffessional !! hmmmm ?? curly and long hair are against the law ?? :shrug: so sue me .. lol

akuamoonmaui
April 23rd, 2011, 09:41 PM
Well first of all, congratulations on graduating law school!

You can always baby your hair no matter what the style. Maybe you just have to put off longer hair until you're established? Or, what about updo's? A low bun at the nape of your neck is always classy and conservative.

skydancer7
April 23rd, 2011, 09:43 PM
Long hair can look very professional in an updo. There are tons to choose from...

HintOfMint
April 23rd, 2011, 09:45 PM
I am in law school too, just finishing my first year, so I definitely feel your pain. Fortunately, I'm on good terms with the partners at the firm at which I'm interning, and they're pretty relaxed about dress code (I can wear sneakers in the office as long as a client isn't there). One of the partners has even seen me with my hair down (not during the interview) and he still hired me.

However, this may be an issue for me in the future. I'm hoping to get around it by wearing my hair up all the time (french twists, buns, chignons and the like). I'll be watching this thread with interest, it's like you're posting this for the both of us.

As for straightening your hair, what about rollers or wrapping to loosen the curl, so that you can nix the heatstyling? I think at 2c/3a, your curl is just loose enough so that it takes manipulation well, but I could be wrong.

Best of luck!

NightingaleLHC
April 23rd, 2011, 09:59 PM
really, seriously who says long is not proffessional !! hmmmm ?? curly and long hair are against the law ?? :shrug: so sue me .. lol

As silly as this sounds, I think it is against the unwritten law! I think because corporate professions were once exclusively the province of men there is an almost slavish adherence to a rigid professional image (at least at the bottom of the totem pole where I am starting).


Well first of all, congratulations on graduating law school!

You can always baby your hair no matter what the style. Maybe you just have to put off longer hair until you're established? Or, what about updo's? A low bun at the nape of your neck is always classy and conservative.

Thank you!

It is true that I could stick to buns, and that would look professional. The thing is that I know that I look more put together and, in my mind more attractive, with straight hair, even if it is straightened and then just pulled back. This probably sounds silly to most people.

Lianna
April 23rd, 2011, 10:03 PM
I'm in law school too, but where I live long hair isn't unprofessional per se (at least not mid-back or waist). I guess it's a cultural thing since long hair on women is very praised and lots of them have it. As long it isn't frizzy and uniform (no crazy waves or curls going everywhere), even down is okay. Like others said, I think a bun would suffice, I'm wearing my hair in a bun since I could do a sock bun at chin length. People actually noticed my hair is always up and wanted to see it down! *sigh* Just make the bun very neat (http://www.stylehop.com/fashion-blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Keep-It-Neat.jpeg). I think you can look gorgeous like that! :)

louisemg82
April 23rd, 2011, 11:01 PM
I too used to work for a company that considered long hair something to be hidden away. Seriously, we had a dress code that said you couldn't wear a ponytail if it was longer than 9 inches!! I didn't cut it at the time, I just used to hide it. I found it easy to hide in a bun using a sock or donut. Yes the bun looked big but that could easily be mistaken for a donut/sock. No-one knew how long my hair was until they saw me out of work. Now I've moved on to french and dutch braiding, I would suggest trying that. French/dutch braid and put the braid up in a bun or folding the braid twice to shorten the length of it.

Pierre
April 23rd, 2011, 11:11 PM
It is true that I could stick to buns, and that would look professional. The thing is that I know that I look more put together and, in my mind more attractive, with straight hair, even if it is straightened and then just pulled back. This probably sounds silly to most people.
As a fellow curlywurly, it sounds absurd to me. My best styles (I go by feel, but my sister saw me last December, when I switched to braids because my hair had gotten too long for what I was doing) consist of a braid on each side, then put up somehow. I sleep with the braids so that the hairs align their curls to the braids. Try it.

Slinks
April 23rd, 2011, 11:48 PM
As silly as this sounds, I think it is against the unwritten law! I think because corporate professions were once exclusively the province of men there is an almost slavish adherence to a rigid professional image (at least at the bottom of the totem pole where I am starting).
.


ah BUT didn't these guys once wear long & curly wigs and powder :-) lol .. where do you win even the judge wears a wig and powder ..

rapunzhell13
April 24th, 2011, 12:09 AM
It seems to me that if you want really long hair then you have to become best friends forever with updos. Some updos are very professional looking, moreso than short to medium hair a lot of the time. It all depends on the styles and accessories you choose. A sleek french twist with a plain Ficcare (silver, gold, black, any neutral colour that goes with your hair colour and outfit) would suit a lawyer. I can't imagine any firm having a problem with that, although I'm not a lawyer myself. Any simple bun with a plain hairstick should do fine as well. Updos also protect your hair, so you'd really be hitting two birds with one stone. :)

jojo
April 24th, 2011, 12:16 AM
Well it goes without saying long hair is for hippies but hippie lawyers may catch on ;)

Maybe allow hair to dry 70% and use your hair dryer on a warm setting, remember to move it around and keep it at least 6" away from your hair, use protection (we don't want no baby splits popping up!) and try and stretch these to maybe one or 2 a week, air dry the rest of the time.

Mesmerise
April 24th, 2011, 01:08 AM
There are many very professional looking updos, I think! As long as hair looks sleek and tidy, I don't think length should be a hindrance at all.

I have worked in places where I'd wear my hair in a French twist or something, with the hair all neatly put away. There are many natural products you can use for sticking down any stray hairs so you don't need to resort to sprays and gels.

A sleek updo will look tidier than many short styles, so there's absolutely no reason to fear that you'll look unprofessional just because your hair is long!

Also doing updos every day will protect your hair, and you won't be forced to blow dry or straighten it each day!

Firefox7275
April 24th, 2011, 05:19 AM
I have curls and it worries me how they can look neat for work. I've had to accept them because badly damaged hair does not look any more professional. :shrug: Even if you want to continue straight you don't have to heat style and use cones - you might try the coconut oil shampoo method or conditioner only. Shea butter gives a lovely sheen, so perhaps Nightblooming Panacea could replace cones or Triple Nutrition conditioner as it is high in palm oil. For styling you could wrap your hair overnight, make a bun or French twist whilst still damp. I know it is just a TV show but didn't Portia de Rossi have very long hair in Ally McBeal? I remember the colour being less pro than the styles. You might study her up-dos and see which you feel cut it. There are plenty of hairtoys and styling aids that are invisible or super subtle. :)

julliams
April 24th, 2011, 06:49 AM
I would have thought a low tight bun would be totally professional looking. I have long wavy hair and I find that with an updo you cannot tell I have wavy hair and it always looks totally professional (in my opinion). If fact, if I imagine a female lawyer in my head, I would think of a Portia De Rossi looking lady with a low blonde bun and make up. Yes, I did watch Ally McBeal too much!!

Edited to add that the post above me mentions Portia too so I'm not alone - lol! I hadn't read through the thread before I posted here.

30isthenewblack
April 24th, 2011, 06:58 AM
really, seriously who says long is not proffessional !! hmmmm ?? curly and long hair are against the law ?? :shrug: so sue me .. lol

Hahaha .... good one! Interesting perspective on curls. As others have said, you can have curly hair and still look professional. If you want to straighten your hair, then do it.

Mesmerise
April 24th, 2011, 07:23 AM
I would have thought a low tight bun would be totally professional looking. I have long wavy hair and I find that with an updo you cannot tell I have wavy hair and it always looks totally professional (in my opinion). If fact, if I imagine a female lawyer in my head, I would think of a Portia De Rossi looking lady with a low blonde bun and make up. Yes, I did watch Ally McBeal too much!!

Edited to add that the post above me mentions Portia too so I'm not alone - lol! I hadn't read through the thread before I posted here.

LOL I didn't mention Portia De Rossi in my post, but that's exactly what I was thinking of too when I imagined a female lawyer, and I couldn't see why on earth long hair would be unacceptable ;).

I also agree about the wavy hair. when my hair is in an updo (and I start from damp hair), it really pulls out the waves. Maybe it wouldn't if I had really curly hair, but honestly, the top of my hair looks really smooth and straight when it dries and it's up!

julliams
April 24th, 2011, 07:30 AM
We are so on the same wavelength - no pun intended :hifive:

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 09:37 AM
As a fellow curlywurly, it sounds absurd to me. My best styles (I go by feel, but my sister saw me last December, when I switched to braids because my hair had gotten too long for what I was doing) consist of a braid on each side, then put up somehow. I sleep with the braids so that the hairs align their curls to the braids. Try it.

Unfortunately, as much as I love braids on others (especially on LHC!), I don't think that I could wear a braid to work. My hair is rather fine so the end looks scraggly and then there are pieces that stick up in the front :rolleyes:


Well it goes without saying long hair is for hippies but hippie lawyers may catch on ;)

Maybe allow hair to dry 70% and use your hair dryer on a warm setting, remember to move it around and keep it at least 6" away from your hair, use protection (we don't want no baby splits popping up!) and try and stretch these to maybe one or 2 a week, air dry the rest of the time.

I think I will probably do this. And you all are right that updos can be very professional and will keep my hair protected. I think if I just blowdry my bangs and the top layer of my hair then it will look nice and neat.


If fact, if I imagine a female lawyer in my head, I would think of a Portia De Rossi looking lady with a low blonde bun and make up. Yes, I did watch Ally McBeal too much!!

Ally McBeal is also the show where Calista Flockhart wears impossibly short skirts! NOT a good show for taking cues for professional image ;)

EdG
April 24th, 2011, 10:28 AM
On blow-drying, the thing you want to avoid is high temperature. If the air feels only warm to the skin, it won't be too warm for your hair. I recommend putting enough distance from the blow dryer so that the air reaching your hair is only warm.

I too think updos are a good solution to the "professional" problem. :)
Ed

Aaroo
April 24th, 2011, 10:40 AM
You can have healthy hair even if you need to use heat to straighten it. I read somewhere in LHC that Cones are specially useful for the hair which is heat-treated. So I guess using a Cone+ product can protect your hair and keep it healthy.

Sooze
April 24th, 2011, 10:46 AM
You need to do what feels best for you, ultimately, BUT I work for a prestigious law firm as a Senior Recoveries Manager in corporate law. My hair is rather "unruly" and I don't always wearit up in a formal "do". My colleagues don't judge me on it. I would try not to stress too much - so long as you don't combine it with low cut tops and short skirts/killer heels you can still retain a sense of the professional without losing credibility.

jaine
April 24th, 2011, 10:50 AM
I also have a job where I need to look professional, so I can relate. I've had my hair at pixie length and it was so much easier to command respect at that length - frustrating but true.

I see a lot of people saying that you should be able to wear your hair however you want at work - but to me the key word there is "should." In reality I get more respect with neat-looking hair (although I still get a minimum amount of respect either way just from being good at what I do.... getting a lot of respect is better than getting the minimum)

My hair is shoulder length now and I dry it in a bun with gel to smooth and straighten it without heat. The front & bangs look very smooth and straight and soft with this method - the back is still a bit wonky but if it's in an updo that doesn't matter. A silk sleeping bonnet also helps, so that my front pieces will stay smooth for multiple days and I don't have to restyle it every day.
I can dry it at night if I need to with a soft bonnet hair dryer, and then wear it in an updo the next day.

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 11:21 AM
I also have a job where I need to look professional, so I can relate. I've had my hair at pixie length and it was so much easier to command respect at that length - frustrating but true.

I see a lot of people saying that you should be able to wear your hair however you want at work - but to me the key word there is "should." In reality I get more respect with neat-looking hair (although I still get a minimum amount of respect either way just from being good at what I do.... getting a lot of respect is better than getting the minimum)

My hair is shoulder length now and I dry it in a bun with gel to smooth and straighten it without heat. The front & bangs look very smooth and straight and soft with this method - the back is still a bit wonky but if it's in an updo that doesn't matter. A silk sleeping bonnet also helps, so that my front pieces will stay smooth for multiple days and I don't have to restyle it every day.
I can dry it at night if I need to with a soft bonnet hair dryer, and then wear it in an updo the next day.

I think you're right that in an ideal world we "should" be able to wear our hair how we want--but that in real life things are more complicated.

It seems like your hair is similar to my hair type so thanks for sharing your tricks with me--I think I will try something similar.

lacefrost
April 24th, 2011, 11:46 AM
I grew up in legal offices pretty much. My father was a judge, then a lawyer; my mother is a legal secretary and her 2nd husband is also a lawyer. Every summer job I've ever had was in a law office. So having grown up from baby years to adult years with lawyers and around law offices more often than not, I can tell you with certainty that there is no rule, unspoken or not about the length of your hair or the curliness of your hair.

That you think long hair or curly hair may be unprofessional is something that you've come up with. It's how you perceive professionalism and what it looks like. All that lawyers require is that your hair is neat. They want you to look like when you woke up in the morning, you washed and dressed with care. Because you're on LHC, I know you can do those things.

If women can wear afros as lawyers, judges, newscasters, etc, then you can definitely wear your hair in a cute updo for work.

Capybara
April 24th, 2011, 11:58 AM
Have you ever seen the movie "Convicted?" The main character's best friend, Abra Rice, is an attorney, and has both long and curly hair - yet looks (IMO) very professional. Just some inspiration for you :) Abra Rice (http://www.movieaddicts.com.au/images/Conviction-AbraRice.jpg)

RitaPG
April 24th, 2011, 12:30 PM
The only time I ever thought long hair could be unprofessional, was knee length, because I thought it would be impossible to style that amount of hair. And Cinnamon proved me wrong with her video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCNHoS5erfw she can do anything really.. If she can do a French twist with that much hair, anyone can :D How much more professional can it get?

Anyways, it seems you are a bit conflicted.
But the thing that matters most right now (I believe) is whether or not you are comfortable with your shorter length, And I hope you are :)
You are aware that abusing it is not the right thing to do, so that's a good place to start. I'm not a curly and I don't blowdry, but EdG has a point, you want to avoid high temperatures.

I think it's important that you are focusing on your career, and if having shorter hair right now makes you more confident, than there's nothing wrong with it, again, as long as you enjoy that length :)
If at some point you do decide to grow your hair back, then it's all a matter of styling. A cinnamon bun with a nice, clean clip... A braided bun, a French Twist and even a sock bun, are relatively easy to do, and seem pretty sleek for the workplace.

Don't feel too bad about all this, as many have said before, it's just hair
Congratulations on graduating law school :flowers:

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 12:33 PM
I grew up in legal offices pretty much. My father was a judge, then a lawyer; my mother is a legal secretary and her 2nd husband is also a lawyer. Every summer job I've ever had was in a law office. So having grown up from baby years to adult years with lawyers and around law offices more often than not, I can tell you with certainty that there is no rule, unspoken or not about the length of your hair or the curliness of your hair.

That you think long hair or curly hair may be unprofessional is something that you've come up with. It's how you perceive professionalism and what it looks like. All that lawyers require is that your hair is neat. They want you to look like when you woke up in the morning, you washed and dressed with care. Because you're on LHC, I know you can do those things.

If women can wear afros as lawyers, judges, newscasters, etc, then you can definitely wear your hair in a cute updo for work.

I do think that to some extent there are regional differences. I've heard that NYC (where I will be working) is a lot more uptight than other parts of the country.

Also, probably as a judge you can do whatever you want :D
I think it would also matter what area of law and what kind of office (e.g., family law v. M&A or boutique v. biglaw).

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 12:33 PM
Have you ever seen the movie "Convicted?" The main character's best friend, Abra Rice, is an attorney, and has both long and curly hair - yet looks (IMO) very professional. Just some inspiration for you :) Abra Rice (http://www.movieaddicts.com.au/images/Conviction-AbraRice.jpg)

Ah her hair does look nice :)

Roseate
April 24th, 2011, 12:49 PM
I feel for you! Corporate law really has one of the most rigid "image requirements" out there.

I'm not in a corporate environment now, but I've found it easier to maintain a "professional" appearance with either very short (pixie) or longer-than-shoulder hair (updos). I am too lazy to keep up with the styling and trims required by midlengths!

I treat my hair similarly to jaine when I want a smooth appearance: pulling it back while damp keeps the front smooth and relaxes the wave overall, and sleeping in a cap keeps frizz down.

30isthenewblack
April 24th, 2011, 04:22 PM
I grew up in legal offices pretty much. My father was a judge, then a lawyer; my mother is a legal secretary and her 2nd husband is also a lawyer. Every summer job I've ever had was in a law office. So having grown up from baby years to adult years with lawyers and around law offices more often than not, I can tell you with certainty that there is no rule, unspoken or not about the length of your hair or the curliness of your hair.

That you think long hair or curly hair may be unprofessional is something that you've come up with. It's how you perceive professionalism and what it looks like. All that lawyers require is that your hair is neat. They want you to look like when you woke up in the morning, you washed and dressed with care. Because you're on LHC, I know you can do those things.

If women can wear afros as lawyers, judges, newscasters, etc, then you can definitely wear your hair in a cute updo for work.

I agree with this. I think you create your own reality in life and it's up to you whether you want to be a leader or a follower in life. From what I can tell from your initial post, you prefer having straight hair and you are also creating the perception it is unprofessional. If you want to blow dry your hair straight, then do it. You don't need our validation.

I like my hair curly and I have never actually straightened my hair and I certainly wouldn't for a job role. I've had jobs where I've been forced to conform or look or act a certain way but not only did I leave those jobs, I left that industry. We only have one life to live. I'm not going to spend mine pleasing others.

xxaimsxx
April 24th, 2011, 04:48 PM
When it came time for law firm interviews, I decided that I needed to look professional (and we all know that long hair isn't professional :rolleyes:). I chopped everything off to between chin and shoulder length, started blowdrying/ironing again, and am back on cones.

You could of always put it in a high bun. They look very classy and sophisticated? Instead of cutting?
I would of thought a tattoo isnt professional.. but not long hair.

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 07:37 PM
I agree with this. I think you create your own reality in life and it's up to you whether you want to be a leader or a follower in life. From what I can tell from your initial post, you prefer having straight hair and you are also creating the perception it is unprofessional. If you want to blow dry your hair straight, then do it. You don't need our validation.

I like my hair curly and I have never actually straightened my hair and I certainly wouldn't for a job role. I've had jobs where I've been forced to conform or look or act a certain way but not only did I leave those jobs, I left that industry. We only have one life to live. I'm not going to spend mine pleasing others.

Well the problem is that it's more complicated than simply "creating my own reality in life" and "being a leader." You are fortunate that you had the option to leave a job that you felt didn't allow you to be yourself. The reality of my situation is that I have massive amounts of student loan debt and I have been *extremely* fortunate to have been offered a high paying job in a corporate law office. I cannot leave this job and certainly am not going to leave the legal industry because there is a dress code. It is true that some regions of the country and some areas of law are less rigid than others. Maybe in the future I can work at an office that is more lax with their dress code (I read that Denver is business casual!). Right now I can't, so I was hoping that someone at LHC who has been through this situation could give me advice on dealing with hair in a strict professional environment. I didn't mean to insult curly hair or say that you look unprofessional. I would love it if someone with curly hair who works in a corporate environment would respond to this thread and tell me how they styled their hair for the office!

rogue_psyche
April 24th, 2011, 08:20 PM
Let's play a game! Pick the hairstyle that looks more professional:

1: A) http://i56.tinypic.com/j08nso.jpg or B) http://i52.tinypic.com/24qrczb.jpg

2: A) http://i55.tinypic.com/30k3i9k.jpg or B) http://i55.tinypic.com/muuclw.jpg

3: A) http://i51.tinypic.com/atm73l.jpg or B) http://i56.tinypic.com/126728n.jpg

4: A) http://i54.tinypic.com/1zfsapj.jpg or B) http://sites.google.com/site/blondeart83/updo-medium.jpg

30isthenewblack
April 24th, 2011, 08:28 PM
Well the problem is that it's more complicated than simply "creating my own reality in life" and "being a leader." You are fortunate that you had the option to leave a job that you felt didn't allow you to be yourself. The reality of my situation is that I have massive amounts of student loan debt and I have been *extremely* fortunate to have been offered a high paying job in a corporate law office. I cannot leave this job and certainly am not going to leave the legal industry because there is a dress code. It is true that some regions of the country and some areas of law are less rigid than others. Maybe in the future I can work at an office that is more lax with their dress code (I read that Denver is business casual!). Right now I can't, so I was hoping that someone at LHC who has been through this situation could give me advice on dealing with hair in a strict professional environment. I didn't mean to insult curly hair or say that you look unprofessional. I would love it if someone with curly hair who works in a corporate environment would respond to this thread and tell me how they styled their hair for the office!

We all make choices in life and you have made your choice. I would never work in a job or industry that made me compromise the person I am in return for a high salary. Mind you, I work from home and have a good salary so it is possible to have the best of both worlds. Here are a few examples of professional updos - http://www.google.com.au/search?um=1&hl=en&biw=1003&bih=537&site=search&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=curly+hair+updos&aq=f&aqi=g5g-s1g4&aql=&oq=

GRU
April 24th, 2011, 08:36 PM
I think that any updo that doesn't look like a "half-pulled-through ponytail" looks professional.

I'm going to nursing school right now, and I just toss it up into a bun with a hairstick and nobody's ever looked twice at it. And that's in a profession where you're only allowed to have one earring per ear and no other piercings or tattoos visible.

NightingaleLHC
April 24th, 2011, 08:49 PM
Let's play a game! Pick the hairstyle that looks more professional:

1: A) http://i56.tinypic.com/j08nso.jpg or B) http://i52.tinypic.com/24qrczb.jpg

2: A) http://i55.tinypic.com/30k3i9k.jpg or B) http://i55.tinypic.com/muuclw.jpg

3: A) http://i51.tinypic.com/atm73l.jpg or B) http://i56.tinypic.com/126728n.jpg

4: A) http://i54.tinypic.com/1zfsapj.jpg or B) http://sites.google.com/site/blondeart83/updo-medium.jpg

Well I'm not sure what you're getting at since all of the photo's you've posted are of celebrities, models, and wedding updos.


We all make choices in life and you have made your choice. I would never work in a job or industry that made me compromise the person I am in return for a high salary. Mind you, I work from home and have a good salary so it is possible to have the best of both worlds. Here are a few examples of professional updos - http://www.google.com.au/search?um=1&hl=en&biw=1003&bih=537&site=search&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=curly+hair+updos&aq=f&aqi=g5g-s1g4&aql=&oq=

Judging by your reaction, I have offended you. I apologize, as that was not my intention. You have also linked to photos of celebrities at award shows.

If you look at the top women CEO's--

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2010/womenceos/

--only 3 have hair longer than shoulder length and none have curly hair. This is a reality. Maybe it's not how it should be, and maybe it's not fair, and certainly there have been threads on LHC about how the majority perception is that older women can't have long hair. I am asking for advice about how to deal with that perception. I am not saying that is how it should be, and I am certainly not faulting anyone for not wanting to operate under those rules.

jaine
April 24th, 2011, 09:00 PM
I think it's interesting to observe that the people on this thread who seem opposed to straightening are mostly in the 3b+ or higher range. 2c's and below don't seem to be as bothered by it.

I don't feel like I'm compromising on anything if I straighten my hair ... I'm just drying my hair in one of the many configurations that it can be dried in. It's just a property of my hair: it dries curly or straight depending on whether I scrunch it or damp bun it. Maybe this is why wavies aren't as bothered by straightening and curlies are - straightening is just something that wavy hair can do without much effort. So it still feels like "me."

Plus, damp-bunning is the fastest way for me to get ready in the morning with totally frizz-free, undamaged, professional-looking hair that's out of my face while it dries.

elbow chic
April 24th, 2011, 09:03 PM
You sound like you've made up your mind, ("professional hair"=WASP stick-straight) so what's anyone even talking about here anymore?

I guess if you wanted to, you could probably figure out ways to acheive a semi-straightened look without flat-ironing (damp bunning, blow drying just the front parts of the hair on a lowish setting, and pulling the rest back tight, etc.)

But if what you really want to do is use a flat-iron, who here is going to dissuade you from it?

ibleedlipstick
April 24th, 2011, 09:07 PM
I don't have curly hair, but I have worked in an ultra-professional setting.

First off, I think you should do whatever you like with your hair. It grows back, and if straightening it makes you feel happy and confident, do it!

I believe that a sleek updo can look extremely professional, honestly. Almost more so than short hair, but that is only because I worked in Seattle the rain meant that no matter how fabulous my hair looked straightened, it was a frizzy mess by the time I got to the office.

Do what makes you feel confident. It sounds like an amazing job opportunity. Really, is having hair in perfect condition worth losing out on such a great thing? Law school is a long process, and it seems like you have put too much effort in to spend too much time worrying about your hair. :)

rogue_psyche
April 24th, 2011, 09:21 PM
Well I'm not sure what you're getting at since all of the photo's you've posted are of celebrities, models, and wedding updos.

I did not want to choose pictures of 'real people' because I do not have their permission. Since they are all celebrities or models, they are on equal footing for comparison. The point is not to tell you what I find more professional but for you to decide for yourself what looks more professional to you.

Now that I've read further through this thread, I'm not sure what you're getting at, either. Many people have told you how professional they find updos can be. Others told you that long hair is accepted at their law firms. Others told you that professionalism has to do with behavior more so than appearance. It seems to me that you are ignoring anyone who is trying to encourage you.

So why are you even asking what we think, if you don't care about what we say? Why don't you just ask your employer what they think of you growing out your curly hair, as long as it is in an updo? (BTW: NYC is home to rather large Jewish and Italian populations. Guess what hairtype is typical of these ethnicities.)

HintOfMint
April 24th, 2011, 09:26 PM
I think everyone is being unnecessarily harsh on the OP here. She's right, while we can talk about "creating our own realities," but I don't think a lot of us understand the environment she's joining. I'm guessing she's going to a BigLaw firm, and as a new graduate, and as a woman, in this economy, in NYC, she needs to play by the rules. In a high octane environment, the rules can be so much more rigid than any of us are used to. I'm interning at a small firm this summer, where I know the rules are going to be very different and I'm not imagining for a second that I'm going to be under the same pressure and rules as the OP.

To the OP, you may have a loose enough curl that you can straighten it using rollers or wrapping, before putting it into some sort of bun. You could also experiment with blowdrying on cool, I haven't tried it, but I've heard good things.

Best of luck, and report back from the trenches!

xoerincolleen
April 24th, 2011, 09:39 PM
I think everyone is being unnecessarily harsh on the OP here. She's right, while we can talk about "creating our own realities," but I don't think a lot of us understand the environment she's joining. I'm guessing she's going to a BigLaw firm, and as a new graduate, and as a woman, in this economy, in NYC, she needs to play by the rules. In a high octane environment, the rules can be so much more rigid than any of us are used to. I'm interning at a small firm this summer, where I know the rules are going to be very different and I'm not imagining for a second that I'm going to be under the same pressure and rules as the OP.

To the OP, you may have a loose enough curl that you can straighten it using rollers or wrapping, before putting it into some sort of bun. You could also experiment with blowdrying on cool, I haven't tried it, but I've heard good things.

Best of luck, and report back from the trenches!

^this.

I don't think any of us are going to be able to understand the pressures and the environment that OP is going into, unless we're professional lawyers ourselves. I imagine it would be hard as a woman to break into what is very much still a man's profession. Look at Legally Blonde- our society portrays it as funny and ridiculous that a beautiful sorority girl could be an intelligent lawyer as well. The other girl in the movie, who dates Elle's boyfriend, has a short, very un-feminine bob while Elle has long blonde hair. This just shows how (maybe subconsciously) our culture is male-dominated. A successful, smart woman must be shown as frumpy and decidedly not feminine. Now, I'm sure there are counter examples to that, but I can sympathize with the OP based on this.
Curly hair is definitely harder to tame and harder to smooth than straight hair, and as a result, can look messier (read:unprofessional). My advice echoes HintOfMint- I'd say try wrapping to smooth it out if you're looking for a way to make it straighter without heat. From there, you can pull it into a variety of different buns and professional-looking updos that are appropriate for your profession. If that doesn't work, go for the straightener- no one here is going to stop you! Use heat protectant spray to minimize the damage and work that updo :)

jaine
April 24th, 2011, 09:49 PM
I also sense some unnecessary harshness towards the OP. :(

On a side note here are some pictures of the styling method I mentioned a few pages back... this is what it looks like when I "straighten" it by drying it in a bun with gel, and then put it in an updo:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=6736&pictureid=95866

and for comparison this is what my hair looks like if I scrunch it with gel:
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=6736&pictureid=91472

Both of those are 100% air-dried with no heat and no damage to my hair, which is why I don't feel like I'm "compromising" on anything... I'm just air-drying my hair :p

Mesmerise
April 24th, 2011, 10:01 PM
I didn't sense a lot of harshness to the OP (maybe I haven't read all the posts), but a lot of people have made good suggestions about wearing updos etc.

I don't have really curly hair, but it is super frizzy and if I just leave it go it will be a frizzy, wavy, wurly mess. BUT when I wear and updo, and I do my hair while it's still damp, it looks smooth and sleek, particularly if I put in something to help with the sleekness. It doesn't LOOK curly, wavy, or wurly at all. Now I'm not exactly sure what type of hair the OP has, but I still imagine that if she pulled her hair back while it was damp, added a bit of product, then her hair would look sleek and professional.

It's certainly easier doing that than taming shorter hair by straightening it every day, IMHO! It takes me a short time to pull my hair into a tidy updo, but much longer to dry it and straighten it, and hope it stays straight, neat and tidy!

I'm not personally anti-straightening...not at all... the only reason I've stopped doing it is heat damage. If I didn't care about that, or wasn't trying to grow my hair, I'd straighten it more often.

One thing I wouldn't do is cut my hair for a job. ANY job. I'd compromise by making my hair as sleek and professional as possible though, even if I couldn't show it off in its natural state.

Aliped
April 24th, 2011, 10:09 PM
Ally McBeal is also the show where Calista Flockhart wears impossibly short skirts! NOT a good show for taking cues for professional image ;)
Ha ha, that's EXACTLY what I thought!

Aliped
April 24th, 2011, 10:19 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences to share, or advice?

I think a neat low bun, held with a plain two pronged fork or stick is very professional. I particularly like a Celtic knot bun for this.;)

Here's mine (I do have straight hair, but damp bunning would give similar sleekness)
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/album.php?albumid=5630&pictureid=88158

GRU
April 24th, 2011, 10:49 PM
Also, small amounts of oil and a Tangle Teezer will make my hair unbelievably sleek-looking in an updo. If *my* hair can be smoothed down enough for a bun without heat, I'm guessing that any head of hair with 3-or-lower curls can as well.

30isthenewblack
April 25th, 2011, 12:58 AM
Judging by your reaction, I have offended you. I apologize, as that was not my intention. You have also linked to photos of celebrities at award shows.

If you look at the top women CEO's--

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2010/womenceos/

--only 3 have hair longer than shoulder length and none have curly hair. This is a reality. Maybe it's not how it should be, and maybe it's not fair, and certainly there have been threads on LHC about how the majority perception is that older women can't have long hair. I am asking for advice about how to deal with that perception. I am not saying that is how it should be, and I am certainly not faulting anyone for not wanting to operate under those rules.

I'm not offended. It's a forum and meant to spark debate and I can see this goes far beyond a hair do. I can that you do too when you wrote that the post is about "succumbing to the pressures of societal expectations about a professional image." If I was to simply post pictures of up dos, it doesn't really help you and help you resolve the dilemma you are facing. In what other ways are you prepared to compromise?

What I'm saying to you is that it's your choice to conform. If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem and you're also reinforcing these sterotypes. I just want you to understand that. You have chosen to work for a rigid law firm in return for a high salary and equally so, you could have chosen to work for another firm which doesn't enforce these archaic rules.

I guess I look at the world in a very different way to others and my hair is very symbolic of the person that I am. I'm not the type of person who says this is the way the world should be and live within those confines. I spent ten years of my life working in public relations which is also very image driven and I survived on talent. As Gandhi says, be the change you want to see in this world.

NightingaleLHC
April 25th, 2011, 08:18 AM
I also sense some unnecessary harshness towards the OP. :(

On a side note here are some pictures of the styling method I mentioned a few pages back... this is what it looks like when I "straighten" it by drying it in a bun with gel, and then put it in an updo:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=6736&pictureid=95866

and for comparison this is what my hair looks like if I scrunch it with gel:
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=6736&pictureid=91472

Both of those are 100% air-dried with no heat and no damage to my hair, which is why I don't feel like I'm "compromising" on anything... I'm just air-drying my hair :p

Thank you for posting these pics! Your hair is beautiful! The updo does in deed look appropriate for a professional setting. How do you get your hair to not look plastered to your head and how do you keep the front pieces straight without heat drying? I find that when I let my hair dry in a bun my hair is very flat and the front pieces start frizzing and wurling all over the place. Also, how do you get your curls so shiny and smooth?


Also, small amounts of oil and a Tangle Teezer will make my hair unbelievably sleek-looking in an updo. If *my* hair can be smoothed down enough for a bun without heat, I'm guessing that any head of hair with 3-or-lower curls can as well.

Thanks for the suggestion! One reason I am afraid to wear my hair curly to work is that it gets so frizzy. What is a Tangle Teezer?

GRU
April 25th, 2011, 08:25 AM
Thanks for the suggestion! One reason I am afraid to wear my hair curly to work is that it gets so frizzy. What is a Tangle Teezer?


My hair just adores sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. If you mix either of them with aloe vera gel, you might be amazed at how smooth your hair becomes.

Another biggie for me is CO-washing and leaving conditioner in afterward. I have another few years to go before all my old damage is gone, but the top six or so inches of my hair (since I've been CO-washing) are soooo much silkier than my bottom length.


You can learn about the Tangle Teezer in these threads:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=9334

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=68615

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=68706

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=61702

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=69809

wackyredtangles
April 25th, 2011, 08:58 AM
I just entered a mainly male dominated field myself. I work at a university in a research lab, and if I don't wear my tag I'm continually asked if I'm a student. Not as strict as a lawyer, but I think I know where you're coming from. :)

I bought some ficcares, and I mostly keep my hair in a low bun. I use Paul Mitchells gloss drops (really, that stuff is gold!) over the top to smooth down my hair. I need to wash more frequently to keep the frizzies down, but that's ok. I also keep a bit of a hair kit in my desk. A bristle brush, fine tooth comb, and a small spray bottle with an LHC recipe for spray gel. I can't remember what its called, but its basically water with a bit of aloe gel and/or glycerin/oil. The ficcare keeps my hair very contained in a way that pins just can't manage, and it stays smooth with the gloss drops with the occasional touch up.

Good luck!

Lianna
April 25th, 2011, 08:59 AM
I know it is just a TV show but didn't Portia de Rossi have very long hair in Ally McBeal? I remember the colour being less pro than the styles. You might study her up-dos and see which you feel cut it.

She also did a scene on how to look unprofessional in which she took her hair down.


I would love it if someone with curly hair who works in a corporate environment would respond to this thread and tell me how they styled their hair for the office!



how do you keep the front pieces straight without heat drying?

My hair is 2c/3a but it's more like back 2b and bangs 3b. I make a sock bun, a twisty bun or a french twist while damp every morning. My main problem are the bangs, like I said, very curly and can barely fit inside the updo. I comb it back, make the bun, add hard hold gel over the bang area, smooth with hands, VERY LIGHTLY touch a BBB to be extra smooth and so the bangs don't fall out (you don't need to do this if you don't want). So my natural 3b bangs looks like this:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=7001&pictureid=97830

I'd take a picture of my buns, but it's really just a regular bun (not high or low). But if you want, I'd be happy to.


I think it's interesting to observe that the people on this thread who seem opposed to straightening are mostly in the 3b+ or higher range. 2c's and below don't seem to be as bothered by it.

I don't feel like I'm compromising on anything if I straighten my hair ... I'm just drying my hair in one of the many configurations that it can be dried in.

My thoughts too, I used to use heat a lot, I'm glad with the way I dry now. It would actually be more trouble for me to "create perfect waves/curls" for the professional setting. I don't like gel on all my hair, it doesn't feel nice.


You have chosen to work for a rigid law firm in return for a high salary and equally so, you could have chosen to work for another firm which doesn't enforce these archaic rules.

It's not something imposed by the FIRM. She would have to have somewhat professional looking hair no matter where she worked (that would be neat, not necessarily straight). In my country is something written by the law (jurists' dress code).

selderon
April 25th, 2011, 10:57 AM
NightingaleLHC, it seems to me that you lack some critical information (or perhaps simply haven't expressed it in your posts): what IS the dress code for corporate law in your area? It might be helpful for you to contact your law professors, friends in the field and law offices of the sort you'd like to work for and find out what constitutes "professional hair". Pay special attention to women in the field who have hair similar to your natural type and length (or longer, I suppose). Ask what kind of feedback they get about their hair.

NightingaleLHC
April 25th, 2011, 11:21 AM
My hair just adores sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. If you mix either of them with aloe vera gel, you might be amazed at how smooth your hair becomes.

Another biggie for me is CO-washing and leaving conditioner in afterward. I have another few years to go before all my old damage is gone, but the top six or so inches of my hair (since I've been CO-washing) are soooo much silkier than my bottom length.


You can learn about the Tangle Teezer in these threads:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=9334

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=68615

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=68706

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=61702

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=69809

Thank you, GRU, I'm excited to try this!

NightingaleLHC
April 25th, 2011, 11:23 AM
She also did a scene on how to look unprofessional in which she took her hair down.






My hair is 2c/3a but it's more like back 2b and bangs 3b. I make a sock bun, a twisty bun or a french twist while damp every morning. My main problem are the bangs, like I said, very curly and can barely fit inside the updo. I comb it back, make the bun, add hard hold gel over the bang area, smooth with hands, VERY LIGHTLY touch a BBB to be extra smooth and so the bangs don't fall out (you don't need to do this if you don't want). So my natural 3b bangs looks like this:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=7001&pictureid=97830

I'd take a picture of my buns, but it's really just a regular bun (not high or low). But if you want, I'd be happy to.

Thanks for the bang info--I will try this. After the bangs are dry, can you take them down and brush them to the side? I like to wear a side part.

Lianna
April 25th, 2011, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the bang info--I will try this. After the bangs are dry, can you take them down and brush them to the side? I like to wear a side part.

Yep. This technique made me put away my flat iron for good (I was just doing bangs for a while).

NightingaleLHC
April 25th, 2011, 01:06 PM
Yep. This technique made me put away my flat iron for good (I was just doing bangs for a while).

Excellent! I never knew!

principessa1984
April 25th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Great post. Soon, I'll be in a similar position. I'm in school now, so I can wear my hair as I please. But, once I start job hunting in the private sector (in a HEAVILY male dominated field), I'm not sure a "Kim Kardashian-esq" rollerset will be viewed favorably. I've decided to go with updos in the future. I WILL NOT throw away my progress b/c of corporate "rules". Also, since you're a curly, play with your length. I'm almost waist length, and with enough work, I can scrunch my hair to (shorter than) APL. Do a half-up/half-down at that length and no one can claim you look unprofessional. Good luck to you, and keep us posted!

principessa1984
April 25th, 2011, 02:30 PM
Oh, I just saw your post with the CEOs. One thing to keep in mind is their age. Make sure you find out how the really good, younger ones are wearing their hair. My BFF went to Harvard law, works for a top, corporate firm in NYC and wears her hair natural/coily. I've never seen her colleagues, but her hair hasn't (so far) been a problem for her. She's been working there for about 2-3 years.

NightingaleLHC
April 25th, 2011, 09:04 PM
Oh, I just saw your post with the CEOs. One thing to keep in mind is their age. Make sure you find out how the really good, younger ones are wearing their hair. My BFF went to Harvard law, works for a top, corporate firm in NYC and wears her hair natural/coily. I've never seen her colleagues, but her hair hasn't (so far) been a problem for her. She's been working there for about 2-3 years.

That's a good point re: the CEOs. You're right that I need to keep my eyes open and see how the younger women in the office are wearing their hair. Good to know about your friend! How long is her hair? Does she wear it up? I worry too that even if it doesn't ostensibly affect me at work, that I will be less respected (as jaine pointed out in an earlier post). But as others have mentioned, I can easily wear my hair in an updo, so really I can have whatever length I want as long as I keep it neat and tidy. I think I will probably keep my hair up and either blow dry the front pieces or try the method suggested above with the gel.

Good luck in your future job search!

racrane
April 25th, 2011, 11:30 PM
It always drives me crazy to read that these stereotypes are still alive and well: long hair is for the woman wanting to attract a mate, short hair is needed for a job otherwise not successful. I'm not blaming you, more this society. I didn't read this whole thread, so forgive me if this was covered before. I'm just expressing my amazement. I suppose at 20 I'm still young and naive enough. But I do feel your pain at needing a particular hairstyle. I'm a major in musical theater and long hair is frowned upon - hard to style OR difficult to put in a wig. But I love long hair and am going to go for it anyways! I say do the same and find hairstyles that fit your work environment.

principessa1984
April 28th, 2011, 10:05 AM
That's a good point re: the CEOs. You're right that I need to keep my eyes open and see how the younger women in the office are wearing their hair. Good to know about your friend! How long is her hair? Does she wear it up? I worry too that even if it doesn't ostensibly affect me at work, that I will be less respected (as jaine pointed out in an earlier post). But as others have mentioned, I can easily wear my hair in an updo, so really I can have whatever length I want as long as I keep it neat and tidy. I think I will probably keep my hair up and either blow dry the front pieces or try the method suggested above with the gel.

Good luck in your future job search!

Sorry for the late reply. She actually wears her hair short (by our standards)- shoulder length. She wears it both up and down (up MUCH more frequently). I think, for her, the risk was wearing her hair natural. I tend to think that some employers are rigid about hair length AND texture. While her length was acceptable, I wasn't sure her texture/styling would be. But, I've been pleasantly surprised to see that this firm doesn't care. I also have two acquaintances who come to mind; one is naturally wavy and MBL, the other is coily and natural. Wavy girl is corporate law and coily girl is Wall Street. I really think it's a safe bet if you bun/chignon/faux-bob it up. Good luck w/ that!