When it comes to getting a haircut for work, unprofessional hairstyles can be bad for your career. Business professional men are expected to dress and look a certain way in a corporate setting that can be old-fashioned and outdated. While some industries like tech and fashion are more open-minded, several companies still have rigid corporate dress codes that may discriminate against styles that are considered inappropriate. Whether you need a work-appropriate cut for an interview or a trendy new look for the office, there are some unprofessional haircuts to avoid.
Some men will need to cut their long hair at conservative companies, while others may have to stop getting fashion-forward styles like the mohawk. Although your success should be solely based on your experience and performance, looking the part can help you get hired and promoted.
With so many cool and modern haircut styles, it can be a challenge knowing which men’s hairstyles may not be acceptable at the office. To inspire you with ideas, we’ve compiled a list of unprofessional hairstyles for men. From bleached to messy hair, explore these inappropriate styles for work to find haircuts to avoid in corporate America.
The mohawk features harshly shaved sides and longer hair on top for a sharply contrasting look that won’t look good at work. This style represents rebellion, non-conformity and self-expression, which may not be the ideal workplace hairstyle. The mohawk cut looks punk and casually cool, and can be intimidating for most business settings. Although it wouldn’t appear out of place in a tattoo shop or club, the daring mohawk is unlikely to be the right look for Wall Street. Professional guys in need of a stylish cut for a corporate environment shouldn’t get a mohawk.
Hair designs can be extremely unique and are an excellent choice for guys looking to get an edgy haircut. This style incorporates shaved lines and designs into a fade haircut, resulting in eye-catching shapes and patterns. You can get all kinds of designs, ranging from simple lines and zig-zags to complete images on the sides and back, allowing you to customize your look. While artistic and fun, asking your barber for a design will create an unprofessional look.
Long hair is a cool style that looks effortlessly stylish on most men. While being an impressive look on the streets, longer messy hair doesn’t suit corporate life. Some guys may cut their long hairstyle and maintain a shorter haircut, while others may choose to style it neatly to minimize the look. To abide by company dress codes, you should tie your hair into a low man bun or ponytail. For an even sleeker finish, complete your look with a light-hold hairspray. This slicked back look adds a professional, polished touch that is sure to be appreciated by upper management.
Bleached hairstyles are incredibly striking and edgy but may draw negative attention in a corporate workplace. While bleached hair can make a bold statement, most employers will see this style as a distraction that can reflect poorly on the company during meetings and sales pitches. Bright flamboyant looks aren’t generally accepted in the professional world so avoid colors that deviate too much from the norm. If you want to dye your hair a blonde color, you can choose warmer tones. When styled with finesse, these hues still look impactful. Most platinum and bleached styles are likely to be considered too harsh and unprofessional, especially when darker roots start showing.
While all the rage back in the 1970s and 80s, the mullet isn’t nearly as common these days. Featuring short hair in the front and sides with longer hair at the back, mullet hairstyles are difficult to pull off without looking too country. Some employers may not mind the mullet if styled neatly and well, but most corporate dress codes frown upon long or extreme hairstyles.
Cornrows are a trendy braided hairstyle for guys who want a low-maintenance and fashionable look. Although cornrows are culturally important and look amazing on Afro-textured hair, this braid style may be considered unprofessional in some office settings. While braids have been around for decades and continue to be cool, Corporate America has been slow to adapt and accept the look. With increased workplace education and diversity, conservative environments will eventually be more open-minded.
Braided hairstyles are generally considered inappropriate for men to wear at work. From Viking styles to box braids, this look can make textured and coarse hair much easier to manage. While there are many different types of braided styles, it is best to avoid these designs in the corporate world.
Frosted tips are not a good hairstyle for modern gentlemen. Defined as short spiky hair with bleached tips for contrast, this style was the hottest men’s hair trend of the 1990s. Although you may get away with very subtle frosted tips at the workplace, overly bold and contrasting cuts are usually out of the question. The style tends to look too laidback on most guys and rarely pairs well with a sharp suit. Therefore, frosted tips should be left in the past to avoid any unwanted attention at business meetings.
Blowout Taper Fade
The blowout taper fade is one of the most popular hairstyles for teenage guys and young men. Managing to look suave and on-trend with almost any outfit, it’s a stylish haircut that relies on plenty of volume up top and a pronounced taper fade around the back and sides. The blowout taper is a great look when going to a club or bar, but guys shouldn’t style their hair this way for the office.
Long Shaggy Hairstyle
A long shaggy hairstyle is surprisingly low-maintenance and is perfect for men who love to rock a casual look. Also known as the shag haircut, this style relies on volume, long layers and texture. Hair is purposefully cut to fall messily and the finished product oozes masculinity. Although you may feel like a rockstar when wearing your hair in this long shaggy style, your employers will probably spurn this edgy cut. As it’s naturally scruffy, it’s considered too informal for most professional settings. It’s possible to style the shaggy haircut in a way that looks less rebellious, but it’s best to stick to shorter styles or less layered cuts that allow you to slick hair back when required.
As one of the worst haircuts for men, the skullet is a very unprofessional style that should be avoided at all costs. This hairstyle is a balance between a clean-shaven skull and mullet, creating a rebellious dimension that stands out. This unique look is usually reserved for bold individuals who want a creative way to showcase head tattoos or prominent scars. Wear this style to work and your boss will question your judgment or sanity, and you may see yourself quickly escorted out of all but the most forward-thinking workplaces.
Although many men deem the top knot a polished and professional way to style longer hair, this hairstyle is considered too hipster for the corporate world. Understandably, men with long hair will want to keep their locks out of their eyes. In these instances, a low man bun may be more appropriate. Keeping your hair low-key and nicely groomed is crucial to maintaining a professional appearance at work.
Whether you style it messy or neat, the ponytail is a modern style that looks amazing on healthy hair. This longer hairstyle can range from the classic low ponytail to the half-up-half-down version. With so many styling options, the look is versatile and easy to do. Although this style can look neat, the ponytail doesn’t look polished enough for professional dress codes, even when you use a firm-hold hairspray.
While this 90s-inspired hairstyle has made a small comeback, bowl cuts are not work-appropriate styles worth asking for at the barbershop. Also known as a mushroom haircut, this style features bluntly cut bangs all around the head that are brushed forward for a dramatic look. Some guys prefer a shorter fringe, but most bowl haircuts feature heavy bangs that cover the forehead. The longer length may seem weird and over-the-top for some employers and may be seen as an unprofessional choice. Constantly touching and adjusting your hair in the workplace won’t be taken lightly either, so this look is unlikely to be a success in the office.
The faux hawk is a cool men’s hairstyle that bears a striking resemblance to the mohawk. With a fade or undercut on the sides, the longer hair on top is spiked up and pushed towards the middle of the head. While casually stylish and modern, this style looks great on teenage boys and young men as it projects a youthful and edgy vibe. The faux hawk can easily be toned down, but not enough to be appropriate for the office. You can style a faux hawk fade in your personal life, but you should comb over or slick back your hair for a business professional look at work.
A simple headband can be a godsend for keeping unruly hair off the face. You can purchase practical sports headbands or subtle wiry bands that look more discreet. When it comes to the office though, these accessories shouldn’t be worn. They’re generally accepted for women but look far too casual on men to be acceptable. To keep unruly hair at bay, invest in some excellent styling products.
A rat tail is characterized by a long, thick strand of hair that falls down the back of the neck. This hairstyle doesn’t have much styling potential and never looks good. Extremely relaxed and too eccentric when styled, it’s not appropriate for the workplace.
Asymmetrical haircuts can enhance your features and offer some interesting styling options. Asymmetrical cuts require more volume on top than some other styles. With this comes a casual look if the hair isn’t painstakingly styled each day. Despite being a great cut for framing the face and drawing attention away from insecurities, it’s not a suitable cut for the office as it requires longer hair that cannot be easily pulled back.
Bright, colorful hair is one of the easiest ways through which to express your personality. Whether it’s fiery red or regal purple, colored locks set you apart from the crowd. While some colleagues may think your hair looks awesome, having unnaturally colored hair is generally not accepted in the workplace. If you’re looking to make a change without putting your job at risk, you can dye your hair a natural color. Blonde guys can go brunette and dark-haired guys can pick lighter colors.
From short and kept to longer and groomed, there are many professional-looking beard styles to choose from for guys that want a ruggedly handsome look. To be office-appropriate, your facial hair must be cleaned, trimmed and styled regularly to ensure it is well-maintained. Although some employers may emphasize a clean-shaven look, most companies will allow nice facial hair. When grooming, make sure your beard length is just 1 to 2 inches long. You’ll need to avoid growing out your facial hair too long, resulting in a poor look.