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Study Finds Black Women More Confident With Hair Than Others

A new survey found that while most black women feel judged for their hairstyles at work, 80% are confident in how they wear their hair. They are more confident than all other women of differing racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Royal Oils from Head & Shoulders and Gold Series from Pantene conducted the Hair at Work survey, measuring black and the general population’s hair biases. More than 3,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 54 and who’ve worked full-time, part-time and internship jobs in the last three years participated in the survey.

Despite feeling the most confident about their hair, about 93% of black women reported experiencing micro-aggressions about their hair at work, and 63% of women having heard the question, “Is that your real hair?” 

Procter and Gamble Multicultural Beauty Brand Director Lela Coffey commented on the study, saying “Regardless of the significant progress Black women have made as we take on more and more leadership roles, our hair continues to be judged in the workplace.” She continued, “For far too long, women of Africa Ancestry have felt that they couldn’t bring their full selves to the professional world, which, unfortunately, still imposes a generic standard of beauty on all women. Regardless, we, as Black women, preserve and find our own confidence to be our true, authentic selves each and every day.”

The survey found black women don’t feel comfortable experimenting with their hair in certain workplace settings, including hospitals and labs. About 23% of black women who wear their hair naturally feel more judged than black women who chemically straighten their hair and about 70% of black women change their hair for their LinkedIn headshots.

The Realist Woman’s take:

Black women have always felt judged for their hair textures and hair styles. Due to traditional or white cultural beauty standards, we have always felt like our hair wasn’t “good” hair or that we would ever live up to those standards. 

While we continue to be judged, black women as of late have been embracing their hair, making no apologies for who we are and how we style our hair. Culturally, things are changing. Hair Love, a movie about a black father styling his daughter’s hair just won an Oscar for Best Animated Short, and a law in California allows students and employees with ethnic hair to sue for discrimination. 

Our culture, the law and the world is beginning to see us for the first time, and hopefully begin to accept us as we are. This survey produced a lot of unfortunate findings about what black women go through at work, but despite it all, black women are confident in how they look, which produces a confidence in how we represent ourselves in the workplace.

 

 

through at work, but despite it all, black women are confident in how they look, which produces a confidence in how we represent ourselves in the workplace.

woman sitting and smiling