Choosing Office-Appropriate Hair Colors

Both men and women can tire of their regular ‘do, and changing the color is a great way to mix things up. As much as 75 percent of women dye their hair in some manner because they say it makes them feel more powerful and attractive.

Quite a few people change their hair color several times a year, perhaps rotating their look to match the seasons. Having to maintain a professional appearance at an office may limit hair color options for most of us, so choosing an office-appropriate color for your locks — especially if you’d like to cycle through several options throughout the year — can become a major challenge.

Varies by Profession

The right hair color might potentially make or break one’s career for some women. An attorney with bright pink hair, for example, won’t be taken seriously by a judge, and probably not by almost anyone else in the courtroom.

An incorrect color can damage your credibility and possibly even cost you your job. This is especially true if you’re aiming to climb the corporate ladder. It’s hard to make a positive impression if you don’t have a relatively natural and professional appearance.

On the other hand, if you work at a laid-back firm such as Google, your employer likely imposes very few hair restrictions. The same goes for a creative position, such as hair stylist, graphic designer, or interior designer.

Creative clients often prefer to see that their hired professionals aren’t afraid to explore and expand their personal style, which intimates that you embody a more inventive and open-minded sensibility.

Beautiful Naturals

Natural hair colors are the safest choice, obviously. About 84 percent of the U.S. population has natural black, 11 percent features brown, 3 percent are blondes, and 2 percent can boast of red hair. Hair dye in these basic colors typically won’t be contested when they turn up in a workplace.

Greens, blues, pinks, clownish reds, and other fun but lavish colors could cause problems at work, though. The same goes for using such colors for thick highlights or ombré styles.

Bold Tips

People who are prepared to test the limits of professionalism in their workplace could try dying just the tips of their hair. For example, jet black hair could be tipped with a deep, royal-blue and might not distract from a generally professional appearance.

Experimenters should use colors that blend well with their natural hair color to avoid committing a significant error.

Ombré Styles

Whether you can make these work depends on how modern your workplace is. Ombré hair colors might not fly in the more staid setting of a law firm, government agency, or executive-level corporate office. But they can offer a workable compromise for those who want a trendy hairstyle, yet don’t wish to risk their industry standing.

If you’re in a more creative environment, you might try more startling color combinations in ombré style. Otherwise, both men and women should stick with combinations of natural colors, such as black and brown, blonde and brown, or various shades of blonde.

Highlighting for Depth

Highlights can make an outdated look more trendy, and increase your hair’s apparent thickness. Most highlights are regarded as acceptable in an office setting these days, but if you’re concerned about pushing the envelope, you should stick with babylights: a popular way of highlighting hair so it looks extremely natural, as if it was highlighted by sunshine.

Be wary of bright, unnatural colors that don’t quite work with the conservative style of your workplace.

Hidden or Discreet Colors

The fun-at-heart don’t let professional guidelines dictate their color choices. Instead, they hide colors or employ them discreetly.

Many stylists offer the trendy option of highlighting just the bottom layers with a bright color. When your hair is down or styled in a loose, professional bun, the vibrant color(s) underneath mostly disappear.

There’s also the possibility of highlighting that uses discreet colors such as silver, lavender, light pink, or red. If you go this route, better select a color that will blend quietly and readily with your natural hair color.

Purchase Extensions

A professional job might demand a strictly professional appearance with only natural hair colors, but people can do whatever we want once we step outside of work. High-quality hair extensions are available in vibrant hair colors and can be clipped into one’s hair at any time once you’re off the clock.

This may not be practical or tactically wise for people who are regularly in the public eye, but the everyday worker could derive a lot of satisfaction from wearing colorful extensions.

Subtle Colors

Individuals who have platinum blonde hair can get away with a lot. Because their skin tone is typically lighter, they can apply pale lavender, pink, or other colors woven into their already-light hair.

The effect can be so subtle that many won’t notice, but it creates a beautiful point of interest. The same can be said for redheads who employ raspberry highlights or brunettes turning to red. The more subtle the change, the less chance you’ll encounter problems with it at work.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.