I chopped it up via email with Dani from New Zealand about curly hair in the professional world. Believe it or not there are people who still discriminate against curly hair as not professional in the work place (I know – crazy right?) and it’s time we open up the discussion and ask why. To do this I am talking to many women from different regions and backgrounds about their curly hair experiences in work related settings, interviews, meetings, conferences you name it! I love to hear positive experiences too as many businesses are pro curls and pro be yourself! As they should be. Let’s get straight to it!
Who are you and what do you do?
“My name is Dani, I’m 25, and I’m a retail assistant.”
Has anyone ever criticized your natural hair in or out of the workplace?
“Ohhhh yeah. One of my coworkers frequently likes to tell me how messy my hair is, how I should brush it, and that it looks better straight. I’ve also been told by customers that I should brush, and outside of work I have been told by strangers on the street 😂 one of the “big bosses” for the company I work for also tells me I need to “tidy up my pony tail”
When did you decide to embrace your natural locks and why? “I stopped straight ING my hair every day around 3 years ago, but only within the last year have I really been trying to focus on getting my curls in good health and not using non-approved products. I decided I wanted to grow my hair out and with constant straightening that just wasn’t gonna happen, that and I dye my hair frequently and wanted to do less damage so cutting the heat really helped.”
How have people traditionally reacted to your natural hair?
“People want to touch it, haha! They either tell me how bad/messy/fluffy it looks or they want to touch it. No. Touchy.”
No judgement, have you ever thought straight hair was more professional?
“Not at all. I don’t understand why people get shit for the way their hair looks in general.”
Why do you think some people consider straight hair to be a more professional style?
“I guess because curly hair can be a little wild, whereas straight hair doesn’t. But in saying that, a lot of people I know with straight hair still straighten their hair because it takes the frizz and fly aways for them too. In a professional setting, I guess some people want to look sleek and smooth and not like they stuck their finger in an electrical socket (me daily).”
Because we all want to know, what is your hair type and routine?
“My hair type is 2B… I think… Its definitely changing the more I get into the method so who knows, I could be a 3A by next year haha
My routine at the moment is really simple.
I wash and condition twice a week with approved products (am still trying to find stuff that works for me so I don’t have set products yet) and apply essano coconut milk leave in on wet hair, and air dry cause I’m lazy. Sometimes I apply a curl cream but it’s not approved so it’s a secret haha.”
Who is your curly hair crush? (Mine is @Alyssarxs I wish I had her length! )
“Maria Brink! Her length and her natural curls are to die for. Even her styled curls, I’d sell my soul for!”
Do you ever straighten your hair?
“Sometimes. Only if I KNOW the “big boss” is visiting or its a special occasion and I want to do something different.”
People should be able to wear their hair how they like, though, there are styles for occasions. What’s your business meeting go-to curly hairstyle?
“I’ve never been in a business meeting, but I usually will just pull the front back so it’s off my face if I’m going to a special event or a work function.”
Do you follow the curly girl method, if not completely, why not?
“Not completely, just because I’m still learning and I do like to straighten my hair occasionally. Its really hard to find approved products where I live and within my budget as well but my goal is to be fully CG by the end of the year.”
Parents, children, and society have beliefs about hair. Those beliefs are delivered at a very early age. I was taught my curls were beautiful by my family although society still made me feel they were not as beautiful as straight hair. Did society, friends, family, or anyone in your life ever affect the way you feel about your hair?
“My aunty had the most beautiful curls when I was growing up. Waist length ringlets so tight they looked like she could bungee jump with them 😂 she still rocks them every day, I’ve only ever seen her straighten her hair twice in my life. She taught me how to scrunch and embrace my curls when I was little and I still adore her hair so much.”
Have you ever went on a curly girl rant? You know, someone comes up to you and says how much they love your hair and all of a sudden you are 6 minutes into explaining what CGM is and why adding product to wet hair is beneficial!
“No, but I’ve had people do it to me haha! That’s how I found out about the method.”
The CROWN act which bans discrimination against hair in the workplace and schools in California has finally passed! What type of protection does New Zealand, if any, provide to people with different hair types? “I honestly don’t think we have anything like that. People are still being told they can’t wear certain styles and whatnot to school. I once heard about a girl with braids who was told she couldn’t wear them to school because they “weren’t natural” totally unfair.”
Last question, what is your response to people who feel curly hair is not as professional as straight or wavy hair?
“If I can say it here. Get fucked 😂 Otherwise, my hair does not and should not define my work ethic or ability to work in any environment. No hair style is more or less professional than another.”
There you have it! Thank you Dani for sharing your curly hair experiences and answering all my questions above. I would love to learn about your curly hair experiences or someone you know! Email me below or follow me on Instagram at @Strawbs_girl to follow my curly hair journey!