Professional, Maintainable Hair

What is the Best Professional Hairstyle? | CorporetteWhich are the best professional hairstyles or cuts?  How should you upgrade your hair as you climb the corporate ladder?  Reader M wonders:

After a lifetime of basically ignoring my hair (I’ve either kept it quite short or in a ponytail), my career is really taking off and I need to have a more ‘corporate’ look. (I work in technology, almost entirely with men, but am moving into a position where I need to represent our team to C-levels.) Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start, or how to find a cut/style that will be professional but not require oodles of time. Any tips would be much appreciated.

Great question! If you’re comfortable with short hair, you may want to keep it there — it’s hard for me to think of a short haircut that would be unprofessional, so long as it’s maintained well and styled neatly.  That said, here are a few more tips:

- Work with what your hair wants to do if at all possible — for example, get a cut especially for curly hair.

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How to Schedule Appointments When You’re Very Busy

how to make appointmentsHow do you stay on top of hair cuts and other personal care appointments when you’re a busy professional? Reader S, who is about to start as a summer associate, wonders…

I’m in law school, about to start as a summer associate at a firm in NYC, and I was wondering if you had any advice on scheduling appointments while working at a firm. I know that as a summer, I probably won’t have the same workload as I would as a junior associate, so this is mostly a question for the future. When you were in BigLaw, how did you stay on top of things like hair cuts and waxing appointments? It just seem like the hours you need to be working and in the office would make it really hard to schedule things in advance or take the time off to get in with your favorite person.

Great question, S — for my $.02, the answer is to make friends with your calendar system. Let me explain:

- Schedule appointments at the first or last appointment of the day. Doctors, hairstylists, it doesn’t matter — everyone who is appointment-based falls behind. Another option: take advantage of weekend appointments where offered.

- Schedule WELL in advance. The first or last appointment of the day (or the weekend appointment) can be really hard to get, which is why you should try to schedule everything ahead of time, when you can afford to wait a few weeks or months. [Read more...]

Work-Appropriate Braids

braids-for-workYes, yes, the braids trend has been around for-ever now… and I’ve been meaning to write a post forever!  It shows no sign of stopping, I think in large part because braided looks are easy and fun hair styles that can be adapted for fancy looks (weddings, galas) to every day looks (like work) — and because they’re just braids they’re pretty weather-proof as well.  I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite braid tutorials for you guys, and start the discussion — do you like to change up your hairstyle for work?  Do you think braids are professional enough to wear to work often?

For my $.02, I think some kinds of braids are a hard sell after you reach a certain age (e.g., milkmaid braids, the braided-halo look, etc), which means that in general those looks should probably stay away from the office.  Either you’re too old to wear them, or you’re emphasizing that you are young enough to wear them.  That said, my favorite grown-up way to do braids is to do a few braided strands as part of an otherwise normal look for you, whether it’s down, a bun, a ponytail, or a half-updo.  I’m putting Maria Menounos’s look front and center because a) I think she normally has a good professional hairstyle, and b) the YouTube video actually does a good job of showing you where to take bigger sections of hair and so forth.  I think she looks “new and now” (as they joke at the end of the video), but that she doesn’t lose any credibility points in doing so.  I can see this also being a nice update to a pulled-back look such as a messy bun or a low ponytail.  Here’s a similar take from Real Simple.  I actually always think of this as being a Lauren Conrad braid but could not for the life of me find a tutorial on her site, The Beauty Department — maybe it’s just too simple. [Read more...]

Is Ombre Hair Professional?

ombre-hair-for-workIs ombre hair appropriate for the office? When does any hair color become “unprofessional”? Reader P wrote in with a great question, and perhaps might lead us to an interesting discussion of when hair dyes and colors cross the line:

I was wondering if you could do a post on whether ombre hair is professional. I graduated from law school last May and am currently interviewing for positions. I have this “fellowship” through my school for now (used for rankings), but am looking for a full time real job. I have long black hair and am thinking about getting the ombre look with either medium to dark brown on the ends or perhaps auburn. What do you think of this look? Is it acceptable in the professional setting or does it seem to casual? Here are some images of what I’m thinking of: here and here.

Every time I think we’ve covered hair as completely as it can be covered, another question comes up.  We’ve talked about platinum blond hair at the office, as well as gray hair at the office, but not other hair dyes and colors.  So let’s discuss. [Read more...]

What Is the Best “Professional” Haircut?

professional-hairHere’s a question we haven’t talked about in a while: what is the best professional haircut for women? I can remember, years ago, that Angela Merkel’s short, almost mannish cut was THE cut to have. Not just for women of a certain age, but for a lot of women who were coming up the ranks. But I wonder: what do you think of as the most “professional” haircut? If it were right for your hair, which CEO, anchor person, or world leader would you be taking pictures of to your salon, saying “if you want to be taken seriously, you have to have serious hair.”  (Bonus points for any reader who can find me a video link to Working Girl where she says that — in the meantime, here’s the trailer.)

So who do you look to today for the best professional hair?  Sheryl Sandberg?  Marissa Mayer?  What changes to your own hair have you made to make it more “professional”?  Or do you think we’ve reached an age where “whatever works for you” IS the best professional haircut?

How Does Your Beauty Routine Change With the Seasons?

Chilly, originally uploaded to Flickr by CrowcombeAl.I’ve been unpacking some of my fall/winter clothes as the days get chillier, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about how our beauty routines change with the seasons, too.  For me, it’s a few things:

  • I give up on airdrying my hair, and as I use the blow dryer more I’m switching my hair products back to the “keep my hair straight and frizz free” side of the bathroom cabinet (such as this) and putting away my “enhance my curls” side of things.  (We’ll see how that goes this winter.  If, unlike me, you’d like to rock your curls all winter, check out this post on how to do be curly when it gets colder.)
  • I stop using bronzer (because it’s ok to be pale)!
  • I start using a more moisturizing face wash (I like St. Ives Olive Scrub, which I discovered while pregnant)

How about you guys? What changes about your beauty routine when the seasons change?

(Pictured: Chilly, originally uploaded to Flickr by CrowcombeAl.)