What Hair Colors Are Appropriate for the Work Place?

By Lindsay Haskell

Your hair color could be influencing the way your boss and colleagues perceive you at work, according to ELLE Magazine. Generally, only natural hair colors—blond, brown, black, natural red and gray—are acceptable at most workplaces, but it really depends on the company culture. Office dress code tends to lean conservative, which means pink or blue hair might be a bit much. First impressions are everything in the workplace, says New York colorist Erin Bogart, and unfortunately, your hair color could help or hurt you in a job interview, or when a promotion comes up at your current job.

What Hair Colors Are Appropriate for the Work Place?
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What Hair Colors Are Appropriate for the Work Place?

Brunette

Brunettes are often perceived as grounded and stable. Any hue of natural brown looks professional and serious at the workplace.

Blond

Natural blond colors are perfectly appropriate for any job. But anything dramatic, like bleach blond, shocking highlights or contrasting lowlights might be frowned upon by some employers and HR sticklers. According to ELLE, experts say blonde women are seen as more fun and loose than women with brown hair. Thankfully, this bias has faded in recent years and blondes are taken just as seriously as the next gal (as they should be!).

Red

Redheads tend to stand out, which can cause people to view them as bold, fanatical, passionate or sweet. According to ELLE, red is a trending hair color in fashion. Bogart recommends it in the workplace, as it makes you appear strong and goal-oriented.

Black

Black is another natural and common hair color that's work appropriate. If you have a fair complexion and dyed black hair, it may look bolder, edgier, and less conservative than expected in the typical office setting.

Gray

Women with gray hair can be perceived as being independent thinkers comfortable in their own skin. However, age discrimination can be a thing. Many women in the workplace still feel pressured to appear young and attractive. People tend to perceive men with gray hair as wiser and more experienced, while graying women are more likely perceived as old. But don't let that stop you from embracing your grays—many of today's most powerful women have gray hair.

Inappropriate Colors and Their Exceptions

Since most office dress codes are conservative and moderate, employers may prefer to hire applicants with natural hair colors, according to Work It Daily. In general, dying your hair pink, purple, blue or green before an interview isn't a good idea. That said, some types of jobs are cool with unusual hair colors. Startup culture has made bold looks more acceptable. If you're all about expressing yourself through hair color, look for work with a company that supports that. After all, the employment process is not one-sided—you have a choice in whether you want to work in a conservative setting.