Women Shouldn't Have To Ruin Their Hair Just To Have A Career

Women Shouldn't Have To Ruin Their Hair Just To Have A Career

It's high time for this corporate tradition to go.

Caroline
Caroline
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"What will you be doing after graduation?"

"I actually accepted a full-time job."

"Wow, congrats! Bet you'll miss your hair though!"

I wish I could say I was surprised that someone would assume I'll be getting a short haircut just because I have accepted a full-time job in corporate America. But ever since I was in high school, older women have been warning me I need to cut my hair to shoulder length or shorter when I get hired. I am not sure where this idea comes from, but I suspect it may partially take its roots from the idea that men are more competent and to be considered competent, women have to look like men. Obviously, the base assumption there is wrong.

Our parents' generation is more the source of the idea that professional women need to have short hair, which means that mercifully, that idea is retiring. Millennials are, in general, more okay with long hair, but they always include the stipulation "as long as it's well-groomed." However, I don't always agree with their definitions of long, which are stuff like "four inches below the shoulder" and "approaching the back bra strap." My hair is usually around 12 inches below the shoulder and that's how I like it.

It is moreover my concern that "well-groomed" entails more than clean and combed and is code for "meticulously polished, uniform, and perfect at all times." But that's not how all human hair behaves, especially hair that is not naturally straight and blonde.

Too many women of color, African American women, in particular, are pressured or feel pressured to soak their hair in chemicals to obtain a more "white" texture. This is sick and wrong. As with all creation, God made African American women's hair and declared it very good. The underlying assumption here may be that white people are more competent and to be considered competent, African Americans must stylistically emulate white people. That assumption is wrong too. Chemical relaxers can be very damaging, and while of course, it is any woman's prerogative to do what she likes with her hair, no woman should ever experience any pressure, implicit or explicit, to use them.

In a similar way, I have felt pressured in the past to highlight my hair. Coloring one's hair and maintaining it is seen as a sign of caring about one's appearance, and to not do so is considered "granola" or "plain", especially if you don't wear makeup, which I don't. I happen to like my natural hair color (a nice, neutral dark brown) and I don't want to create extra work for myself by fixing something that ain't broken and then having to maintain the roots every two weeks just to show I have time, money, and care enough to do so. Not only that, but hair dye is extremely drying and dulling and I find that it makes my hair much more brittle and less shiny. The reality is that almost no women are really blonde, but it seems that blonde hair has become a status symbol, a way of displaying wealth. I would want no part of that even if I could pull off blonde hair, which I can't.

Do I want to schlepp around the workplace with my hair a frizzy, unkempt mess? Of course not. I always get regular trims, cannot stand having dead or split or stringy ends, and use either frizz-taming or curl sculpting cream. However, I am aware that most workplaces would expect me to heat-style my hair daily if I want to keep it this length. Heat-styling my hair is extremely time-consuming, and if that wasn't enough, it is just as damaging as hair dye.

And even if I did, I would still run the risk of appearing high maintenance. It is likely I will just end up wearing my hair in different buns or my go-to high ponytail every day once I start working, not because I agree, but because I want to be successful.

This needs to change. The fact that employers are not okay with all women wearing their hair long, as women have for thousands of years, and refraining from damaging relaxers, dyes, and heat styling is discriminatory, misogynist, and racist (insofar as women of color are concerned.) It is unfair to expect women to spend hundreds of dollars to damage their hair just to look "professional." The assumption that men and white people are competent and women and people of color aren't is flat out wrong.

Yes, women should always keep their hair clean and combed (if applicable) and should maintain their ends, but asking any more than that is asking too much. I hope that we millennials become the generation that finally started evaluating women's competence based on their job performance, intelligence, and skills, not based on how willing they were to ruin their hair.

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I Went Tanning For Seven Days And Here's What Happened

An indoor tanning experiment.
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The summer is two-thirds done and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the beach, or been in the sun at all for that matter. I work every day and my legs are so pale that they're actually reflective on the rare occasions I do go outside during the day. I'm contemplating this when along comes the desire to look like I spend eight hours a day sun bathing, never burning, and becoming as close to a "bronzed beach babe" as I can get. So what do I do? I call up my best friend, find some coupons online, and drive down to my local tanning salon.

Before

Day 1

My friend and I had decided on tanning beds because we wanted something a bit more permanent than spray on. Upon arrival at the salon we filled out a form noting how often we go out in the sun and how easily we burn. For me the answers are rarely and easily. The salon attendant explains to us the difference between different tiers of tanning beds. We walked in with intentions of going in the beds designed for a base tan however after being explained the difference between reddening (UVB) and bronzing (UVA) bulbs we decide on purchasing a platinum tan, a two-tier upgrade. We have a coupon so that we pay for our first session and six more days free. I pay 20-something dollars for the tan and an additional $7 for a packet of red-reducing lotion. The attendant explains that we can only tan for a maximum number of minutes (depending on the bed) every 14 hours and tells us not to worry because it goes fast. She also explains that if you feels your skin burning that means you're getting red and to turn the bed off.

I tan for seven minutes in an "even tanning" bed which is what the salon attendant suggests. There's a timer that gives you six minutes to get undressed and apply lotion. I make sure to apply extra lotion to the areas around my tattoos failing to realize this cream actually has no protective properties and is actually a total marketing ploy. I lay in the bed and cover my eyes with the tiny goggles I was supplied. Whatever you do don't take these off, trust me, your eyes will burn and you'll develop a massive migraine. A minute or so before my time is up I start to feel like I'm burning but I stick it out. After the longest seven minutes of my life I get out and immediately regret not getting a towel from the front desk, I'm very sweaty. I get dressed and my friend and I leave. We both already have noticed more freckles on our bodies.

I don't have any tan lines because I tanned nude however I realized later on that my entire lower back, butt and bikini area were all burnt.

Day 2

Before my appointment I stop at Walmart for a store brand tanning bed lotion and an after tan lotion which prolongs the tan. My friend and I each try different beds than yesterday. I wear underwear today to protect my butt from burning anymore. It just burns worse around the edges of my panties. I really enjoy the tan line though, it's not something I see on myself often. I notice the only parts of be burning badly are the parts making contact with the bed (shoulder blades, butt, lower back).

Day 3

My butt and lower abdomen are so badly burnt that I actually sort of want to die. My friend is in the same boat and we agree to take a day off.

Day 4

Beauty is pain so we go back to the salon for more. I talk to the salon attendant about my options regarding the burning. She suggests either laying on a towel of trying the stand up bed. I opt for the stand up bed. Standing inside I liked better how all of my sides were tanning (as opposed to how the bed kind of misses one side) but disliked how bored I felt. I kept moving around. I didn't burn, however, but my feet and hands didn't tan because of how you have to stand in the machine.

Day 5

At this point I'm feeling my confidence skyrocket. I love being tan, however have 12 hours of work and no time to go to the salon.

Day 6

Today I try another new bed, The S-Class, in addition to laying on a towel folded just under my butt. This is my favorite tanning bed. I up the time inside to nine minutes. I'm starting to find the solitude and confinement almost therapeutic. I skip the tanning lotion. I notice I become less tan without using the lotion. I also tried out one of those little palm tree stickers which the salon offers to create tan-art on myself. It doesn't really do anything noticeable.


Day 7

Our last day tanning. I find myself looking forward to getting in the bed and dreading it being my last day. I use The S-Class again, reapply the palm tree sticker in the same spot, and use my lotion. The palm tree is only noticeable to me when I'm done tanning.

I discuss with my friend the probability that I will continue tanning after this, perhaps once a week, as I've noticed an upswing not only in my confidence but also my skin's quality--less body acne and fewer dry skin patches.

After

A photo of my friend and I the day of our last tan.

All in all I would definitely tan again. If you have never tanned indoors than I definitely suggest giving it a shot so long as you follow the recommendations of your salon attendant.

Cover Image Credit: Her Campus

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My Hair Journey After Box Bleaching My Hair

Although it may seem cheap and easy, the reality of box bleaching your hair is disastrous. Professionals, this article is dedicated to you.

nadoty
nadoty
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In 2017, I made the disastrous decision to box bleach my hair that I am still paying for today.

It seemed cheap, easy, and was something fun I could do at midnight. Little did I know, this would be a choice that I would still be regretting to this day. Besides the awful reality of box bleaching your hair, such as the chemicals in store hair dye already being disastrous for your hair, if you don't know what you're doing you not only run the risk of damaging your hair, having your hair fall out, but could also seriously hurting your scalp.

Follow me on my hair journey over the past two years and use this article to look back on if you're ever bored and in need for a change. Wait to go to a salon!

May 23rd, 2017.

Nichole Doty

I like to call this moment the calm before the storm. Back in 2017, I had long dark hair. I loved my hair and was very proud of how long I grew it. This is the longest my hair had ever been at this point in my life, and I absolutely loved it.

July 31st, 2017.

Nichole Doty

This was the day that everything changed. I made the terrible decision to not only box bleach my hair but to add box pink hair dye on the underneath of it. Not only did it look terrible, but it was also an irreversible decision that was made that I would have to live with for the next few years to come.

August 12th, 2017.

Kasey Bauner, (kasey_bauner via instagram), who works at Jay Marie Salon and Spa in Schereville, was able to save my hair in a beautiful way.

Nichole Doty

HALLELUJAH! My hot mess was fixed! Through hours and hundreds of dollars later spent at the salon, they were able to salvage my hair without shaving all of it off!

December 9th, 2017.

Nichole Doty

A few months later, after some length came in, that's when the roots started to appear. After the first glace at the outgrowth, I knew that I would have to keep chopping my hair until the roots fully grew out.

January 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

This was the first big chop I had to do since the box bleach disaster I did to my head. I knew that I didn't want to dye my hair back to its original color, so this began my repetitive cycle of hair growing out, getting a drastic chop, and growing it out again.

July 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

In July, my hair started to show more length since I had to originally chop it. My roots were starting to come in the dark so I had to try and wear hairstyles that would discretely cover how much my hair had grown.

August 31st, 2018.

Another big chop when school started in the fall of 2018. There's something so disappointing about having to keep growing out your hair just to chop it, but unfortunately, that's what I signed up for when I got myself into this mess.

November 29th, 2018.

At this point, my roots looked terrible. From the back of my head, the roots were growing towards the middle. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't see the back of my head so I could gracefully ignore how terrible it looked. Aside from this awful outgrowth I had going on, the color in my hair was starting to settle into a yellow mess.

January 31st, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As if I didn't learn my lesson from the first time, I started to experiment with different colors. I used the L'Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent dye. I will say, though, this really is the most Semi-Permanent dye I have ever used as it would fully wash out in two weeks without any traces of color left behind.

April 25th, 2019.

I felt as though if I added different colors to my hair it would make the roots look more natural. As it did, I do NOT recommend the Kiss Tintation hair dye. This was the most patchy dye I have ever used, although I did love the blue.

May 12th, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As of just a few weeks ago, my hair was a big green mess. The dye would not leave my hair, so I started to panic that I really messed up this time. I could no longer wait at this point as I felt the frantic need to chop my hair.

May 23rd, 2019.

Nichole Doty

Here we have it! At the end of my journey thus far, I have managed to almost have all of my natural colors back! Although there are some green strands still left behind, I am mostly back to a full head of hair being the same color.

Overall, I want this article to serve as a warning to those who are like me and don't think through decisions properly. I'm the type of person when I want something I want it at that exact moment no matter what. My rash decision has led to poor self esteem and issues throughout these past two years. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I'm like you who feels as though your hair is a big part of your identity and who you are as a person. Thank you for following my hair journey and remember: ALWAYS think through big decisions properly and wait to go to a salon to get your hair done!

nadoty
nadoty

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