Black Women Working

Has The Lockdown Changed Black Women’s Hairstyle Choices For Work?

By Evelyn & Ms Hair Team · 22nd September 2020

Lockdown in the UK has no doubt impacted our lives in many ways, particularly in the workplace. The pandemic also brought about closures of hair salons and limited access to our local hair and beauty supply stores. With this in mind, the team at Ms Hair researched 316 Black working women aged between 18 - 64 years old in the UK, to explore how lockdown has changed their hairstyle choices for work and whether it has enabled them to feel more or less comfortable to wear their natural hair.

What Hairstyles Were Black Women Wearing To Work Before Lockdown?

Most Preferred Hairstyles For Work

Most Preferred Hairstyles For Work

Least Preferred Hairstyles For Work

Least Preferred Hairstyles For Work

Out of a total of 14 hairstyles surveyed, wigs and weaves ranked as both the most and least preferred hairstyle for work. Interestingly, Black women either love it or hate.

According to our study, 48% of Black women wore natural hairstyles regularly before lockdown, which is a pretty interesting number! When we asked our participants to rate how comfortable they felt about wearing natural hairstyles at their workplace before lockdown on a scale of 1 to 5 (one being not comfortable and 5 being very comfortable), we discovered that 55% of Black women said they felt “very comfortable”. In particular, Black women aged between 55 and 64 years old were the most comfortable wearing natural hairstyles to work before lockdown. This could imply a correlation between age and comfortability, as older women are more likely to have accomplished a lot more in their professional career and are comfortable wearing their natural hair to work in comparison to younger working Black women

Comfortability RatingComfortability Rating

2020 survey of 316 Black women in the UK aged between 18 and 64

Did The Lockdown Change How Often Black Women Wore Natural Hair?

The short answer is yes. 76% of Black women said that they wore natural hairstyles more often during lockdown which is an increase of 28% compared to before lockdown began, this suggests that lockdown has indeed helped Black women to wear their natural hair more often to work. Providing more insight on this is Consultant Trichologist, Shirley McDonald MIT IAT, she states “the majority of Black women have used ‘lockdown’ to have a rest period giving their hair a break. A few experimented with colour and or braids, others went for the dramatic cut it all off and started again.”

2020 survey of 316 Black women in the UK aged between 18 and 64

Even though more women were wearing natural hairstyles during the lockdown, our survey results showed an overall reduction of 4% in levels of comfortability in wearing natural hairstyles for work in comparison to before lockdown. Shining more light on this is Dr Ingrid Wilson, a specialist Trichologist of Crewe Hair and Skin Clinic. She says, “a few Black women found it very difficult adjusting to wearing their hair naturally, due to a perception of societal and even familial expectations of straight hair being seen as more professional and acceptable. The lockdown experience gave those who usually wear wigs an opportunity to confront hair loss which their wig may have been hiding.” 

Returning To The Workplace After Lockdown

The results are in! 59% of Black women say they are more likely to wear natural hairstyles at their workplace after lockdown. Hence, the lockdown has enabled more Black women to feel more confident with rocking natural hairstyles for work.

2020 survey of 316 Black women in the UK aged between 18 and 64

A leading 32% of women said that the main reason they will wear natural hairstyles at the workplace was due to thinking their hair will be healthier. And they are not wrong! Hair expert and Consultant Trichologist, Nicola Smart shares, “lockdown has allowed women to minimise styling which in turn, is likely to promote length retention as you essentially allow the hair to rest by reducing friction and subsequent breakage. However, when styling is necessary, women should avoid wearing the same style daily. Changing the position of a bun, for example, can help to reduce the likelihood of repetitive stress on the same areas of the head which can lead to complications with hair loss." 

8 Reasons Why Black Women Are Turning To Natural Hairstyles For Work

2020 survey of 316 Black women in the UK aged between 18 and 64

From our research, we can conclude that the UK lockdown has encouraged more Black women to wear natural hairstyles for work. Although some felt comfortable doing so before, the lockdown has given many women the opportunity to experiment with different natural hairstyles. With more conversations surrounding natural hair and its maintenance, over time, such knowledge could significantly improve how comfortable Black women feel wearing natural hairstyles at work, and how frequently they choose that option.

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