Natural Hair Tips for Beginners Making a Career Jump: A Hair Audit

The Hair Audit: Natural Hair Tips for Beginners Making a Career Jump by Delia Pena-Gay

Imagine getting a call back to interview for your dream job. But you’ve also started your natural hair journey. You’re worried your natural hair won’t look professional, so what do you do? Do you show us as yourself and rock your kinky coily hair, or book an appointment for a silk press and blend in?  

Natural hair is beautiful, and job recruiters aren’t concerned about your hairstyle. If they are, consider if you want to work with that company. Hiring managers are looking for competent candidates with personalities who can show up to work on time. 

If you’re a new naturalista ready to embrace your curls, this blog is for you. In this blog, you’ll learn how the natural hair community evolved, natural hair tips for beginners, and some natural hairstyles for work. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What products should beginners use for natural hair?

How do you start natural hair for beginners?

What is a good hair care routine for natural hair?

What hairstyles are appropriate for work?

Relaxed hair in 2005
Relaxed Hair in 2004

The Story of My Tresses

Culturally, wearing natural hair is deemed ugly and unattractive; you’ve heard stories of hair discrimination at work and school. My love-hate relationship with my tight, kinky hair started as a kid. I’m Afro-Latina and grew up in an era where “good hair” was defined as long and straight. Wash days were traumatic– my hair easily tangled, I was tender-headed, and I was yelled at to sit still while mami styled my hair. 

Getting my hair relaxed for the first time in the third grade for picture day was an answered prayer. I traded in headache-inducing hair sessions for biweekly trips to the hair salon. Wash, set, trim, and quarterly relaxers became my new normal until something changed in 2009. 

My hair transitioned from relaxed to natural in 2010
Transitioning away from relaxer 2010

The Good Hair Stop Feeling Good

When I was 24, my hair started shedding badly. You could find me by the trail of strands I left behind. Thinking something was wrong with me systemically, I spoke to my primary doctor and a hair specialist, and thankfully, they found nothing. I did countless hair treatments at the salon and saw no improvements. 

So, one morning, as I was getting ready for work, I realized the one thing I hadn’t stopped doing was relaxing my hair, and I decided to go natural. I couldn’t take another day staring at my bathroom floor covered with my hair strands or watching them fall onto my shirt-it was embarrassing! I was determined to learn to love and care for my natural hair.

Natural Hair Tips for Beginners

So what do you do when there’s limited information on caring for your natural hair, especially when transitioning out of relaxing and only one hairdresser openly educating folk? You turn to YouTube University! 

Bantu knot out hairstyle for a wedding
Bantu Knot Out for a Wedding using a YouTube concoction

In those days, YouTube was the most prominent online resource where you could find hair influencers like Taren Guy and Naptural85 for hair advice.

The most popular natural hair tips for beginners that women practiced 14 years ago and still use:

  • The big chop
  • Wear protective styles 
  • Avoid heat styling as much as possible 
  • Grow out your relaxed hair and cut it over time
  • Create a wash day routine that consists of pre-poos, co-washing, homemade masks, and hot oil treatments 
  • Use the leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream (L.O.C.) Method 
Perm Rod Set used with Curl Enhancing lotion by PinkRoot Products
Mastering the Perm Rod set using Pink Root Products

Today, the natural hair community has grown exponentially. You can now access curly salons, curly cuts, and organic hair products like Mielle Organics, The Doux, and Innersence Organic Beauty, made without sulfates and parabens.

Beauticians are now educating you on product usage, the health of your scalp, and styling tips based on your lifestyle.

In an article called Nurturing Black Hair – Essential Hair Care Tips for Black Women, you can find more natural hair tips for beginners from 40 other black women of diverse backgrounds. 

Wash Your Damn Hair

In 2016, Aeleise and Aishia, two Chicago-based licensed beauticians, started the 30-DayHairDetox challenge. It’s a challenge for women to go 30 days without using raw coconut oil, castor oil, raw shea butter, eco-styler gel, and everything YouTube said you should use. I participated because I didn’t like how my hairstyles looked following the YouTuber’s advice. In 30 days, I learned that simple hair care is all you need to have healthy hair and create cute hairstyles in and out of the office. Aeleise and Aishia later turned the 30-DayHairDetox into a textbook called “Wash Your Damn Hair,” which I view as the black hair care bible.

Seven of the best natural hair tips for beginners from the Wash You Damn Hair textbook:

  1. Hair care is simple, and it doesn’t matter if your hair is straight or curly. The only hair routine you need is to wash, condition, and style.  
  2. Don’t hold on to damaged hair. Routine trims/cuts are needed. Many black women fear cutting their hair because society believes black hair doesn’t grow, and it does.
  3. Find a hairdresser who will educate you on your hair needs and show you a routine that suits your lifestyle. If you love hitting the gym daily or working outside, your hair has different needs than someone who doesn’t work out as much and has a desk job. 
  4. Products don’t make your hair fabulous. Your technique does. When styling or even washing and conditioning your hair, quality products matter, and knowing what to use for specific hairstyles can make a huge difference.  
  5. A protective style isn’t protective if you’re neglecting the health of your scalp. 
  6. Please consult your primary physician or dermatologist for chronic skin or scalp issues. 
  7. Invest in a water softener if you live in a city with hard water, meaning the water has an abundance of magnesium, iron, and calcium. The long-term effect of hard water leads to brittle, dry hair.  
My review after applying their natural hair tips for beginners
Wash Your Damn Hair book written by two Chicago-based beauticians.

Natural Hair For Work

Now that you have learned the basics of caring for your natural hair, let’s talk styling and what hairstyles are appropriate for work. Since the Crown Act was passed in 20 states, more black women feel liberated to wear their natural hair at work.  

Some suggested styles that are appropriate for work or an interview are:

  • Mini-Twist
  • Flat Twists/Flat Twist Updo 
  • Twist Outs
  • A high curly bun
  • Sleek low ponytail
  • A halo braid 
  • Bantu Knot-Out
  • A wash-and-go
High ponytail at a work interview
High Ponytail Hairstyle for work presentation

Below is a compilation video of quick and easy styles for you to try:

Hair Products Based on Your Style

I mentioned earlier that the best styles are ones you’ve used the proper technique and products for. So, I’ve put together a list of my favorite hair products I’ve used to style my hair for interviews, work, and special events. These products moisturize, smell amazing, and hold styles for up to seven days.  

Perm Rod Sets/ Flexi Rod Sets

  • C.R.E.A.M. Twist and Curl Cream ( The Doux)
  • Mousse Def Texture Foam ( The Doux)
  • Curl Enhancing Lotion ( Pink Root Products)

Twists/Flat Twists

  • Big Poppa Defining Gel ( The Doux) 
  • Curly Magic (Uncle Funky’s Daughter)
  • Can’t Believe It’s Knot Butta (Soultanicals)
  • C.R.E.A.M. Twist and Curl Cream ( The Doux)
  • Pomegranate & Honey Twisting Souffle (Mielle Organics)

Wash and Go

  • Mousse Def Texture Foam (The Doux)
  • Big Poppa Defining Gel (The Doux) 
  • Curly Magic (Uncle Funky’s Daughter)


  • Sucka Free Moisturizing Shampoo (The Doux)
  • Squeaky (Uncle Funky’s Daughter)
  • TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo (TGIN)


  • Fresh Rinse Moisturizing Conditioner (The Doux)
  • One Love Co-wash (The Doux)
  • Honey Miracle Hair Mask (TGIN)

It took me a few attempts to perfect the hairstyles I wear to work, so keep going the first time you try one of the styles, and you’re not immediately happy. Get creative and try again. 

Natural Hair tips for beginners: Try a Simple flat twist updo for your next interview
Flat Twist Updo is worn to an interview using the Doux

The Bottom Line

The best natural hair tip for beginners is to master the basics of healthy hair. Healthy hair is a combination of education, frequency of trims or shaping your hair, frequency of washing your hair, and the way you use hair products. Once you have mastered these key ingredients, the hairstyles you create for work will be appropriate. 

Find what works for you and stick to it! 

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