Worried what your hair length is saying about you in the workplace? While at the end of the day, your hair shouldn't be a deciding factor in how professional you seem to others — you're not alone in wondering about the message it sends. That's why FGB'ers are taking to the Fairygodboss Community to discuss long hair in the office.
FGB'er Julie Cerbone asks: "Does my longer hair make me look childish? I feel like as I grow older, my really long hair is looking less professional. While I love my long locks and think it's beautiful, I can't help but wonder if it makes me look less competent."
FGB'ers are chiming in with their two cents on the matter. Here's what they have to say about whether long hair in the professional world is appropriate, and how to handle it if you have it.
1. Find styles that are professional for any length.
"As a general rule, yes, it does look less professional for an older woman; however, you can find styles that will allow you to keep your length but sweep your hair back/up or both in various ways to stay as professional as you are during the the day," wrote Ellen L Wright. "Then simply 'let your hair down' both literally and figuratively when you leave work!"
2. Remember that confidence is key.
"The thing that makes you look most competent is confidence; you should do what you want with your hair," adds an anonymous FGB'er.
Confidence seems to be a theme among FGB'ers.
"Confidence always wins!" barb_hansen wrote in agreement. "Own what makes you unique, and makes your feel confident."
Others add that hair doesn't make any difference.
"Hair, whether short or long these days, doesn't play a part on a persons professional appearance," wrote RoseG. "You are fine loving and keeping your long locks, as long as you keep your professionalism with style of clothes and behavior. No worries, for loving your locks is pride, which is beautiful. Be proud and keep it that way."
3. You're not the only one with long hair, after all.
"You can be quite professional at any age with longer hair," wrote Ms.Moon. "This just makes me think back to when I started working for a company only about 20 years ago and women weren't allowed to wear slacks and had to wear pantyhose . Wait, what? YES! What you bring to the table in terms of your skills and the ability to move the company forward with its vision, mission and values is what should ultimately count — NOT the length of your hair. I happen to work in Human Resources and am so proud to say that I work for a company that is promoting diversity of appearance and is encouraging employees to bring the whole self to work."
Others agree that you should do you.
"I think if you love your hair and it makes you feel good, then that's all that should matter," wrote an anonymous FGB'er.
After all, plenty of people in leadership roles have long hair, too.
"It's really up to you what you want to do with your hair — I know plenty of CEOs with long hair, and they're all well-respected and thought of as more than competent," wrote Nina Semczuk.
After all, just think about it...
"JLO whips her long locks every which way and there is no denying the woman is fierce in many ways!" added Lindsey Joe.
4. Just keep your long hair groomed, K?
"I just turned 50 and, in the back of my mind, am wondering the same thing," wrote Gr3tch3n. "I have always had long hair, and the few times I've cut it short were disastrous; the texture of my hair does not lend itself to short dos. I need the extra weight of long hair to keep my style looking neat otherwise it goes out, instead of down. So my answer is that it depends. You know your hair best and, as long as you are neat and clean, the length of your hair is your business."
Other FGB'ers concur that some hairstyles are easier to manage than others.
"I too have long hair — I'm 50, and I've wondered the very same thing but, for me, long hair is easier to maintain and, while I do usually wear it clipped back off my face or in a loose bun for work, I either let it down or put it in a pony tail during my off hours," wrote Kimberly Mc. "I think no matter what length or type of hair you have, as long as it's clean and tidy, it's appropriate no matter what our age is."
As long as you keep long hair groomed, FGB'er tend to agree that you're in the clear.
"I love long hair on myself and have found ways to look completely pulled together and polished without having to cut it short or look severe," wrote Kathleen S. Powell. "As long as you don't allow it to look like a night out with buddies, you should be fine. To be specific — hair in your face or messy curls that scream bedhead are out. A single french braid down the back, a bun, a stylish ponytail... all of these can be fresh and professional with long hair."
5. If you got it, flaunt it.
"There are so many dumb rules for workplace styling and, personally, I think long hair is easier to manage — it all depends on the individual's hair texture, personal comfort level, culture and so much more," wrote Erin @ Chirp Clarit. "I was not blessed with thick hair that grows easily, so I say, when ya got it, flaunt it."