This year you might be one of many natural hair professionals working towards a more fulfilling career. Cheers to you! Your career progress is important. Whether it’s entrepreneurship or advancing the fulfillment of your purpose by using your skills and talents in an organization led by someone else. Once you have a vision for what you want to achieve, it is time to hit the ground running. Time to follow-through on the wisdom that will help you get there. Maybe that’s taking classes, positioning yourself for a promotion, doing independent study in areas of weakness, or stepping up your game with time management and organizational skills.

Or maybe, it’s time to step up the way you present yourself. 

The bread and butter of the work that we do is the work. There is no question that what you do matters more than what you look like.  There is also research that shows the clear impact of first impressions. Though, there are some aspects of our appearance that are simply outside of our control – there is so much that is in our power! Most importantly, despite the fact that your style and presentation impacts others, there is also research that says the way we feel about how we look impacts us, first.

So, while you’re on your path to have your personal style and presentation match the quality of the work you produce, there is nothing like having  “bad” hair day at work.  If you have a glorious head of natural-hair and your goal is to walk in to work feeling confident about what you present, here are 7 simple things to keep on-hand at work for hair emergencies:

Bobby Pins

If the style you walked out of the house with has morphed into something unrecognizable, a fresh set of bobby pins has a special way of saving the day.  Just make sure to trash the ones that have tears or rips.

Hair Combs or (Side Combs).

Like bobby bins, quality hair combs can help you transform a style that has lost its way in just a few minutes.

A travel-sized spritz bottle with water and your favorite hair oil.

There is nothing like catching yourself in the mirror at work, only to realize that the new product you’re trying left a visible white film or clumpy build-up. Most likely you can’t completely rinse the product out of your hair. A mix of water and oil can help break down the appearance of residue. Then you can use your fingers, or brush, to smooth and wipe off the excess product and camouflage the build-up.

A slim black multi-band headband.

Updos, buns or pony-puffs can be slightly problematic when they don’t fully dry. Hair that isn’t quite long enough may shrink and pull from the ponytail holder or hair tie you used to secure it. Without sufficient time to use a styling product that will dry your hair in place, a slim multi-band headband can secure hair that is curling or coiling towards your hairline and away from your bun.

A travel-sized no-residue, quick-drying holding spray or pomade.

You might not typically use hair spray, but when humidity threatens to transform your hair into an undesired style, a quick and light spray can maintain your style of choice

A travel-sized bottle of an essential oil that soothes your scalp.

An itchy and irritated scalp is not only uncomfortable, but can tempt your hands to find themselves scratching your scalp when they should be writing, typing or otherwise occupied. Keep a small bottle of your favorite scalp soothing oil to relieve the itchy feeling.

Confidence that your hair is only part of the picture.

This isn’t a product or item, but in spite of the bad hair days, and your ambition to give the world (and yourself) the best presentation possible just remember: the content of your brain is far more important than the hair that crowns it.

Bad hair days come and go, but the skills and talents you bring to your work matter the most.

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Chantal Kamya

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Chantal is a project manager by day, writer/graphic designer by night, and a former business school career coach and career development professor. Through her writing, one-on-one coaching and group classes she strives to give practical, thoughtful and inspiring tips/ideas on communication and personal branding, to encourage purpose-driven women to achieve their professional and personal goals. She is the founder of, a website with everyday products with African-inspired designs. She shares thoughts on life as a Congolese-Ugandan American, with mild obsessions with hair/beauty, family, healthy living, good food and African clothes at and
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