The Web is all abuzz about Rihanna … again.
But this time it’s not about any outrageous Instagram antics or Twitter beefs. It’s all about her hair—a Doobie, pin-accessorized, bed-time look many minorities are quite familiar with—and would probably shrug about— but others raise an eyebrow and might even call the next new “trend.”
Growing up, the style Rihanna rocked for the AMAs would have been one that my Granny would’ve scolded me for if worn in public. It would have been a violation likened to wearing bed shoes to walk to the corner store or smacking on gum during church. Typically, you’d take the pins out and let your new Doobie rock with the wind in its full, voluminous glory.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Rihanna because she always pushes the limit. She’s a young boss who makes her own rules and sets her own standards. (I don’t agree with every move she makes, but I can’t knock a confident young woman stacking her own coin and pushing boundaries, despite major challenges. Plus, she’s from the Caribbean, so there’s a bit of love from that as well.)
She’s an entertainer, so when it comes to wearing Doobie pins to a red-carpet event, she can do that.
But all the hoopla about her style choice leads me to the next thought: Hair faux pas I’ve witnessed in public or at offices that any power woman in the working world should just avoid:
Bedroom headgear as part of your ensemble: Stop it. Du-rags, raggedy strips of cloth or satin bonnets are just tacky when worn in public. I love a good turbin or Erykah Badu headpiece for leisure-wear, so I’m not referring to those. And yes, I’ve seen this violation in places of business. I won’t name any names, but if you’re having a bad hair day, maybe try a wig or Quick Weave or slick your hair back into a nice bun or ponytail.
Combs/picks as accessories: I’m not referring to fashionable ponytail combs. I’m talking about the pick or comb just stuck in the hair as if one forgot it was there. Again, violation. Also, in some offices, overload of hair jewels, clips and bows can be a major don’t. If you work in a conservative environment, try accessories that blend with your hair color, and err on the side of less is more.
Weaves and wigs that don’t match natural texture: I’m a big fan of hair extensions and wigs. I own dozens, and I love changing my look weekly, if not daily. (I was even a hairstylist as a side hustle during my college days and come from a family of beauticians.) However, it’s never a good look when the extensions don’t blend well with your hairline or texture or when the wig is matted or disheveled. Consult with a stylist or wig specialist to find out which textures and styles work best with your natural hair. Don’t leave in extensions too long, and if you don’t have savvy to do your own hair to tighten your weave frequently, invest in a style that best suits your budget and lifestyle. Also, Youtube is an awesome resource for researching natural hairstyles, extensions and do-it-yourself style options. Veterans such as MsChanda or Naptural85 offer tutorials and information that are not so difficult to follow and replicate.
Outrageous colors and cuts: In some creative industries, this isn’t an issue. But again, if that red, blue, purple or blonde style is going to totally distract clients or prospective partners who could ensure your coin, maybe you should rethink your choice. Use discretion when choosing your hair-color or cut to ensure your perception is a truthful one, especially if you’re job seeking. One trick I’ve used in the past—I’ve had almost every style and color on Earth, and again, I love changing it up—is to wear a conservative and well-made wig. You can keep your creativity and get the job done without any problems.
Five different styles on one head: I’m sorry ladies, but this looks a hot mess. Cornrows, fingerwaves, curls, braids and baby hair? Really? Again, less is more. Maybe get rid of three of those and make a statement that says chic, not tacky. I don’t know an arena where this would fly except maybe a hair show. In the office, girl, no.
What hair mistakes have you seen women in the office make? #Soundoff and follow me on Twitter @JPHazelwood.