What Does Your Workplace Hairstyle Say About You?

Health & Wellbeing

Your hair can say a lot about you as a person, it can be a reflection and reinforcement of who you are. The famous saying from the 1988 film Working Girl “You wanna be taken seriously, you need serious hair” still applies today, perhaps more than ever in the professional world where first impressions can have a lasting effect.  

So what does your hair say about you?

Curly vs Straight


(Images from cosmopolitan and Getty)

Women with curly hair are seen as risk-takers, women who might go out on a limb and won’t be confined to straightening their wild locks. However, there is a fine line between sending this message and having people perceive your curls as messy and unkempt, making you appear disorganised and scattered. A top tip is to ensure your curls are well coiffed for work, avoiding having them appear frizzy or wild.

Straight hair generally comes across as a tidy choice of style and appropriately suits the workplace due to the well-groomed appearance it gives off.  Straight hair can reflect someone who is organised, serious and in control of their work. It can also mean business and is generally thought of as a more conservative hairstyle especially when compared to curly hair.

Short vs Long


(Images from marieclaire and Getty Images)

Short hair is generally considered the best choice for women in the workplace as it makes them appear intelligent, confident and mature. It takes a lot of self confidence to pull off a short hair style and in the modern day workplace, women are expected to be feminine while still fitting in with men’s norms in the workplace. An interesting observation was made by author Rose Weitz regarding a conversation among successful women at a major corporation: “She said you could look at the [company’s] organizational chart — the tree that shows who’s [in charge] of whom — and you could draw a line: Above that line, no woman’s hair touched her shoulders.”  

Long hair has been linked to negative impacts on credibility in the workplace due to cultural associations of people with long hair seeming “young” and “unprofessional.” However if long hair is well maintained, perhaps pulled back into a long ponytail or chignon, this can give those with long hair a sophisticated appearance and will be positively perceived.

Blonde vs Brunette


(Images from popsugar and hercampus)

Generally, darker hair is considered better for women in the workplace with brunettes being perceived as intelligent, confident and mature. These women are also considered to be organised individuals who take their work very seriously.  

While blonde women are more commonly viewed as bubbly, fun loving individuals that are full of energy, they are not always perceived as overly professional. Blondes have often been negatively stereotyped as unintelligent and can be perceived in the workplace as incompetent and disorganised. However this negative stereotype has been improving over the years with an increasing number of successful blonde business women establishing that hair colour does not determine success.

By wearing a hairstyle that is in line with your personality you will radiate an air of confidence that will give you the ability to excel in your workplace. Remember that just as it is important to dress for the job, styling your hair for the occasion is just as beneficial.   

Gary Gillespie


I manage ARC Hairdressing, a vibrant hair salon in Brisbane. We are unique because we value quality and service over anything else! Our services include haircuts, bridal hair and makeup from trained makeup artists, essential treatments, styling, makeup, permanent colouring, semi-permanent colour gloss, foils and lightening, balayage, colour correction, hair retexturizing, hair extension, hair straightening and more. www.archairdressing.com.au

Comments (3)
Gary Gillespie

Gary Gillespie at

Hi Hitesh, Thanks for your comment! Yes, I think how we present ourselves can have an impact on how we're perceived by our colleagues. If you want to win the rat race, you have to look the part ;)

Hitesh Mohanlal

Hitesh Mohanlal, Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

Gary ... Great article! Many people did not realise that their professional looks have such an impact on others and how much it can affect their business. For you it is hair for others it might be what people wear. Unfortunately we live in an environment where looks matters. But i also believe it is an opportunity for everyone to look more professional

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