Long Hair on Men in the Workplace

Long hair is increasingly acceptable at work.
Long hair is increasingly acceptable at work. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Long hair on men used to be exclusive to hippies and bikers. Nowadays, gender rules about hair length aren’t as well-defined. Both men and women enjoy various styles. However, long hair can be an issue in the workplace, especially for men. Before committing to a hair-do or a job title, consider whether your personal style fits into a particular profession's workplace.

Types of Industries

Typically, a man's career choice will determine how he will wear his long hair. Business positions prefer clean cuts; if your long hair style is kept in place, however, you may be able to wear your long locks to the office. Keep in mind that in some industries, long hair is not accepted in men or women. These include industrial jobs where hair may be tangled in machinery, as well as restaurant and health care jobs. Jobs in media, entertainment and the arts are often more forgiving of alternative and long hairstyles on men.

Increased Acceptance

As long as your hair can’t interfere with your job, many employers are accepting more hairstyles worn by men. While there is fear that some employers in rural areas are less accepting of long hair on men than city employers, much of this depends on individual companies. Depending on the state you live in, your employer may not have a legal right to oppose your hairstyle unless the company explicitly states its reasons against long hair in its policies.

Modifying Your Style

Some industries prefer that men don’t wear their hair in long styles at work. It is important to clarify with human resources whether this means you can’t wear your hair long at all, or if you’re allowed to modify your style. Modifying long hair styles can be as simple as pulling your hair back into an elastic tie. For the best results, make sure the tie closely matches your hair color. Extremely long hair may need to be tucked behind your shirt collar.

Healthy Hair Tips

Some employers don’t have rules for hair styles as long as your strands look healthy and clean. If your hair has frizz or split ends that decrease your professional appearance, your boss may then have a problem with your long style. One solution is to avoid unhealthy hair in the first place. Wash and condition your hair daily to minimize fly-aways and frizz. If you need extra moisture, consider using a leave-in conditioner to help maintain shine while giving your long hairstyle an overall healthier appearance. Tying your hair back at work may cause breakage overtime, so make sure you let your locks down during after hours.

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