Does the shade of your hair color really matter at work — is there a certain best shade of blonde for being taken seriously at work? We’ve talked about rocking long platinum blonde hair at work before, but not in a while — and reader A, a law student, has a question about whether golden shades of blonde, bright blonde hair, or dirty blonde hair is best for being taken seriously at work. Here’s the question:
I have naturally dirty blonde hair, but highlight it a light golden shade. I’m a young 1L with a young face and frequently get mistaken for an undergrad and occasionally a high school student. Last time I went to get my roots touched up, my stylist turned my hair ashy blonde w/ dark lowlights at the ends. My friend said I should keep it because it was more “professional.” But golden blonde feels more “me.” Am I hurting my reputation and job prospects by keeping my hair bright blonde?
Well. We haven’t done a hair-for-work question like this in a while, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. For my $.02, I think any shade of blonde hair is professional so long as you, yourself, are a professional and act like one. (I’m reminding myself of that “how to get a bikini body” joke that was circulating a year or two ago.) In general, I think that acting older is better than looking older — and as long as you aren’t twirling your hair, playing with it, and keep it well-maintained (roots and ends) there’s no problem. Of course, there’s a heavy component here to knowing your office once you start work, particularly the personalities in your office — if you suspect a senior colleague wouldn’t give you work or take you to client meetings or the like because he or she objects to your appearance, then you may want to consider changing your hair to fit in better at work. This may be perfecting an updo for work or, yes, dying your hair a different shade. I will also note that once you start work you may find that you need to factor in the time needed to maintain your hair — spending hours at the salon on a monthly basis may be prohibitive for your work/life balance.