The popular opinion regarding hairstyles now is that how a person appears does not determine how professional they are. Yet, hairstyles are still one of the things that aid in creating the first impression. Depending on what kind of impression you want to create, you can choose your preferred hairstyle.
Unprofessional hairstyles may add character to your personality but they are not always appropriate. Contrary to popular opinion, when you are unknown to someone, they are judging you by your appearance. Your haircut plays a huge role in creating a good first impression.
Let’s say you are going to a job interview. You have only a few seconds to make a good impression. This is where tidy, professional hairstyles come in. It is important to know which hairstyles are completely improper and unhelpful for a serious workplace.
Most importantly, avoiding an unprofessional hairstyle will help open the door to many opportunities that you otherwise might miss out on. Therefore, we have created a guide for you as to what hairstyles you should absolutely steer clear of, for your professional career and workplace.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Top 14 Unprofessional Hairstyles NOT for Your Office
Top 14 Unprofessional Hairstyles NOT for Your Office
The hairstyles we are going to discuss as the most unprofessional ones below are opposite to what professionalism demands of you. These styles are edgy, ferocious, and impudent. You want to rock a grounded and bespoke guise to look professional, and these are not it. You want something that would help you blend in and not stand out.
Let’s jump in and explore 14 hairstyles that are unprofessional and should be avoided.
Mohawk hairstyles are cheesy and bold. It oozes freedom on a great level. Being a perfect hairstyle for rockstars, the mohawk has an interesting origin in warrior’s hairstyle as well. But as much as you carry the warrior energy, this style is very unprofessional.
In a workplace, one of the primary goals is to not cause any disruption in concentration. Having a sharp, noticeable hairstyle like a mohawk draws too much attention. When you are trying to blend in, this valiant hairstyle will do the least to keep you subtle and most to make you stand out.
However, if you are not in any obligation to maintain professionalism, be sure to give this hairstyle a try. This fearless style is one of a kind that will not fail to convey your free and energetic nature. But in the case of being an exemplary employee at a corporate workplace, this is off-limits!
Wild Faux Hawks
Faux Hawks might have the “faux” in them, but there is no faux in it being an extravagant hairstyle. Just like its “not-faux” edition Mohawks, faux hawks are also unprofessional in how they look and the energy it carries.
Contrary to the mohawks, faux hawks have some twists to them when it comes to being unprofessional. A mohawk is straightforward and unprofessional because of the extremities it shows. Most of the time it is shaved and too sharp to carry the discretion. On the other hand, faux hawks can be styled into something subtle.
Still confused? Let us elaborate a bit more. A faux hawk can have a comb-over before going into the workplace. This hairstyle is done by trimming your side hair short instead of completely shaving it off. This gives you room to work with.
Although faux hawks are completely unprofessional hairstyles, having a few tricks up your sleeve to acquire your own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not necessarily a bad thing.
Mullet is yet another crazy attention-seeking style that is deemed unprofessional. The 90s hairstyle also has some dogmatism attached to it. The striking style itself and the message it may unintentionally carry push it into the pit of unprofessionalism. The “business in the front, party in the back” may obliterate the business and present you as an all-party in a place where business is at the center.
In itself, the mullet style is so hardcore but has a touch of casualness. How it is received by others depends on how they see it from a subjective point of view. Some people are not bothered by mullet hairstyles. The attention it seeks may be disregarded by these people. On the other hand, about dogmatism, this style has some extreme history.
In a professional sphere, you want to look as cool, calm, and collected. Your low-key presence will not bring attention to yourself. You will let your work make you stand out. Mullets do exactly the opposite. It brings attention and stamps you with a view that may or may not be appropriate. Before you let your work speak for yourself, you get unnecessary focus on yourself.
Skullet hairstyles are some of the battle-ax styles you will ever come across. Their extreme look is reserved only for those who have the heart to absorb this brutal beauty. Unfortunately, it is this extreme nature that makes it a top unprofessional hairstyle for your workplace. To put it more directly, skullets are three times more intense than a mullet hairstyle.
What makes it so intense, you ask? Skullet is a mixture of two hairstyles: clean shaved skull and mullet. The shaved skull is basically where the “business in the front” takes place. Well, it was supposed to take place there but it is gone. It is all a “party in the back” now. Skullet styles are therefore pretty menacing to look at. There is absolutely no way a subtlety can be kept with a skullet style.
As we mentioned earlier, to have a professional outlook in your presence, everything has to be discreet. Skullet destroys that opportunity. You become an attention-magnet, as much as you want to keep it quiet. This is why skullet hairstyles are highly unprofessional and are suggested to be avoided if you are to maintain professionalism in your corporate workplace.
Who doesn’t love rich and bright colors? Well, if your workplace is demanding of you to keep a professional look, perhaps they are against you having artificially vivid, colorful hair. To maintain a flat professional outlook, only a few colors are permitted by workplaces; only those that are usually natural. Black, brown, gray, natural blond, and natural red are those colors.
You can probably already guess why bright colors make your hairstyle unprofessional. In a professional place, the goal is always to not stand out through what you are wearing; be it your clothing selection or hairstyle. Having bright and shiny colors completely flat lines this option. You stand out like a Scarlet Macaw in a flock of Gray Catbirds. Not really an optimum situation that you willingly want to put yourself in.
Worry not, for as the famous saying goes: Where there is a will, there is a way. If you get very, and we mean very, very, light colors applied on your hair, you may be able to maintain borderline professionalism. Choose darker shades for a better outcome. The color may not seem electrifying enough, but it is at the very least not holding you back entirely.
Messy hairstyles. Looks natural and easygoing, but does not work out if you are trying to look professional. Messy styles look greatly unprofessional and are disadvantageous in terms of functionality as well.
First of all, messy hairstyles may give a vibe that you are untidy. To look professional, you must look tidy and well-organized. Second, messy hair has a high possibility of interrupting your work. If you waste minutes on getting your hair out of your face, you will not be productive. Your attention will be disrupted.
Yet, this is another style that you can rock outside your corporate workplace. A messy hairstyle has a lot of opportunities to be styled differently. You can style them in a simple comb-over to create the 80s chiseled Wall Street hairstyle. You can also try another one of those Wall Street hairstyles by side-parting them. This way, you will have your relaxing messy hairstyle for outside-the-office time.
A shipshape look is always necessary if you are looking to avoid unprofessional hairstyles. And messy styles do not offer you that neatness and cleanness.
There are many ways you can use designs on your hair. Designs define your personality based on how extravagant they are. Unfortunately, all of them make your hairstyle unprofessional. The tidiness of your look is troubled when you get a hairstyle with designs.
Designs alone give you many options. From simple lines to complex twisty shapes, you may just get anything. Yet, these are all regarded as unprofessional by the standard of a corporate environment. These designs are highly attention-grabbing. The artistic side of those designs gets overshadowed by the rules your employer wants you to follow.
As much as you want to express your free-flowing bold personality, unprofessional-looking designs are suggested to be avoided. There are some exceptions where you may get very thin lines and patterns in your short hair.
But as we understand, it may not look as intended. Designs are meant to be an expression of your daring and adventurous nature. Sadly, that and the question of maintaining professionalism in your hairstyle walks in different directions.
Are undercut hairstyles unprofessional? There is a division of opinion. It is primarily based on what kind of undercut you are getting. A traditional undercut requires side hair to be trimmed to the extent that they look completely shaved. The other variation is where, instead of close to shaving your sides, they are reasonably trimmed down.
Thus, the difference of opinion can be pointed out pretty easily. The traditional undercut where your sides are almost shaved makes it unprofessional for your office environment.
Now, a subtle undercut is a borderline unprofessional hairstyle too. The complication is in the fact that an undercut hairstyle requires you to have long hair on the top. It becomes obvious because it is easily noticeable.
On the other hand, you may try out an undercut with short hair. It will not be an undercut, per se. Rather, it would be close to a semi-layered haircut which is professional on many levels.
Keep one thing in mind. If you indeed go this route, if your hair is too layered, it will become edgy and you lose the subtlety of this style. In that case, it becomes unprofessional, for a different hairstyle.
Pompadour hairstyles are highly unprofessional. Although it depends on where you work, a typical office environment would require you to not have any hairstyle that sticks out. Pompadours are so shiny and thriving in their look that it is impossible to blend in with a pompadour style.
When this style was the thing to get, some variations perfectly suited the workplace back then. Artists rocked high and shiny pompadours and jobholders wore mini pompadours if you will.
Back then, if you looked around, you could see the majority wearing pompadour styles. As days have changed and this style sticks out pretty effortlessly, it has become a style with unprofessional touch.
However, if you see that your co-workers have mid to long hair and rock a standard layered or comb-over hairstyle, you may get a subtle pompadour for a great look. Otherwise, it is recommended that you avoid this magnificent hairstyle which is now suitable for anything except for a corporate workplace.
Ponytails have a mixed view in the talk of unprofessional hairstyles. For women, a low ponytail is regarded as a professional hairstyle. For men, this is totally the opposite. This is another artistic and breezy hairstyle that usually does not go with a corporate environment. A well-done low ponytail may turn out to be subtle, but it still gives off more a casual feeling rather than a professional formal one.
To some extent, ponytails and messy hairstyles fall into the same category. It may denote that you are untidy. It shows that you are careless about your hair. The reason is that a clean hairstyle shows your neat self in a professional workplace. It shows that you are an ordered person and trouble-free.
Ponytails go against this view. It may show you as a careless person who has trouble managing time so he ties a ponytail and goes to work. In a professional setting, you are to give the least bit of information about your own self (directly or indirectly) and get integrated seamlessly.
Ponytails thus may be a good hairstyle in general, but it is better if kept outside your professional workplace.
Long Loose Waves
Generally speaking, long hair is not considered unprofessional. It is down to how your long hair is styled. However, long and loose wavy hair is deemed unprofessional for a few reasons. In a corporate setting, you will hardly find anyone who has long hair.
By default, long hair draws attention when it is a place where other people do not have long hair. And it is one of the mantras of having a professional appearance that you do not stick out among your peers. It is preferable that you seamlessly blend in.
What makes long loose waves unprofessional when it does not even seem too much? This is where messy hairstyles come in again. Long loose waves give a vibe of untidiness. It may give a message that you just go with whatever condition your hair is in. You do not take care of your hair and just let it grow. Hence, besides drawing attention to long hair, the messiness of it is why it is regarded as unprofessional.
However, you can have medium waves and keep them tidy. This way, a professional mood is there, and you don’t have to trim your hair to a short hairstyle.
Let’s say you are meeting with a client at your workplace. You step in with a wet hairstyle. The first and biggest impression you would give to your client is that you have just had a shower and did not have enough time to dry your hair. This is what makes wet hairstyles completely unprofessional. It also draws unnecessary attention to yourself.
When you are dealing with your bosses and colleagues in your office, a discussion should be only about something that you are discussing. Wet hairstyles break attention and may hamper the depth of your discussion.
Besides, these hairstyles also demand extra work. You may need to use some products on your hair to keep the style intact. So, even if you do not want to, your attention while working would not be fully on your work.
Wet hairstyles are perfect for any situation outside your workplace. You can easily wear your wet hairstyle outside of your work and maintain a drier hairstyle for your professional circumstances.
A traditional short or medium spiky hairstyle is a good professional hairstyle. But if it has big spikes and a colorful one at that, this style is extremely unprofessional. The color itself brings too much attention while the bigger the spikes are, the stronger the attention-magnet is. You absolutely want to avoid this in your business environment.
Moderate spikes in general are so good as office hairstyles. You can rock a Harvey Specter look from Suits. Your debonair appearance is highly appreciated in corporate workplaces.
However, going over the top with huge spikes and vibrant colors is where the line is drawn. It then becomes unnecessarily striking in a circumstance where you are trying to blend in but looks confident and charming. The charismatic look then becomes sassy and cheeky.
As a good hairstyle, we recommend spikes on a reasonable level. Going excessive is what will ruin it and make your hairstyle unprofessional. Keep it low and steady, and enjoy the glamorous confidence it brings.
We are in the “should-absolutely-avoid” territory again for our last unprofessional hairstyles. A half-shaved style falls into the same category as the skullet. These are unarguably unprofessional and exceedingly extreme hairstyles. Half-shaved styles are also known as Skrillex hairstyles.
If you shave off all of your hair and rock a clean-shaven look, it is a perfect professional style. Half-shaved styles are on the opposite side of the spectrum. They are too audacious and impudent to be allowed in a corporate setting. This is a style for those who want to get a very expressive haircut for their outspoken and bold personality. But your business workplace would not appreciate it.
If you are obligated to maintain a certain kind of professionalism, half-shaved hairstyles should be avoided at any cost. The vibe of intense rebelliousness and defiance that this style gives off is detrimental to the clean and calm appearance you are supposed to carry.
If you are working in a place where the demand for professionalism in your outlook is loosened up, you should get this style. But a standard corporate environment does not go with this type of bold hairstyle and thus, this style is considered unprofessional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
After discussing everything related to unprofessional hairstyles, we understand that you may still have some questions. We went ahead and picked some of the most asked questions and answered those in advance so that you do not have to go elsewhere to find this information.
What makes a hairstyle unprofessional?
If your hairstyle is edgy, stands out too much, and looks out of place, it is considered unprofessional. Some offices have different rules regarding the criteria for looking professional. Therefore, the factors may still vary.
Is a curly hairstyle unprofessional?
A natural curly hairstyle is considered professional. You may have to keep it neat and clean to keep the professionalism going. However, an artificial curly hairstyle is highly discouraged in a corporate setting.
Can I wear a bandana to hide my extreme hairstyle in my workplace?
It is discouraged to wear a bandana in your workplace as it may make you stand out. Showing a natural look is encouraged in a professional environment. A bandana is an extension that hampers your original look.
Is wearing a wig unprofessional?
No, it is not unprofessional to wear a wig in your office. However, if you do it occasionally then it may be sided with the aspect of seeking attention and deemed unprofessional. On a regular basis, it is fine.
Hairstyles are important in our everyday lives. A perfectly chosen hairstyle will echo your personality. If a calm person wears an energetic hairstyle, it may seem out of place. Similarly, if a person with a bold personality does not wear a dauntless hairstyle, it does not carry the message that you are bold and fearless.
Be that as it may, professional environments follow some rules to keep everything in order. They want their employees to look in a certain way so that their appearances should not draw any extra attention to themselves. Their work should speak for themselves, and that is how they should stand out and not through how they look.
We produced this guide to help you with the styles you should avoid for your professional workplace. Some styles are suitable for both your casual life and professional circumstances. We encourage you to get those styles so that everything does not seem too flat. You may wear natural and clean hairstyles but look confident and charming at the same time.
Be mindful and let your choice define you!