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Ask Belle: Hairstyles for Interviews

Hi Belle,

I love your blog and I know you’re the perfect person to answer my question: What hairstyle is best for a job interview?  I have below the shoulder hair with some wave to it and everyone tells me I need to put it up for an interview.  Is that true?  Please answer my e-mail, please!


This is a common question, and I have a simple-ish answer.  You do not have to wear your hair up.  Here’s my advice on how you should style your hair for interviews.

Clean and Styled.  Showing up with wet hair, unwashed hair, or hair that you didn’t do anything to is a bad idea.

What do I mean by styled?  If I look at you and can honestly say that you put effort into your hair, I’m satisfied.  It need not be a salon-quality blow-out or up-do.  I just want to be able to look at your all-over appearance and see that you took time to look your best.

Have curly hair? If your coif is still lightly damp, that’s not an issue for me, since I know curly hair is more of a challenge.  But it might be a problem for other interviewers.  Just remember that there’s a different between lightly damp and drenched.

Don’t wash your hair every day? I recommend a spritz of dry shampoo on the roots to clean up any lingering oil.  Pssst is my old stand-by, but I also like Dry Bar Detox.  And if you’re a curly-haired girl, try DevaCurl No-Poo Quick Cleanser.

Comfortable and Natural.  Do you touch your hair when you’re nervous?  Is the weather wet or blustery?  This is the time for an up-do.  Otherwise, I think wearing your hair how you normally do is the best option.  It’s how you’re comfortable and it doesn’t create an unrealistic expectation for later.

The day of a job interview is not the time to experiment with a new hair style.  If you want to try a new updo, give it a test run.  If I’m working out a new style, I’ll wear it to the grocery store to see how it moves and lives.  Does it need more bobby pins?  Is it comfortable?  Does it feel like me or like I’m trying too hard?

Looking for a New Style? The age of the Internet has made learning how to do your hair in new ways so easy.  There are great YouTube channels and blogs that can teach you.


Kate at The Small Things Blog has the best hair tutorials on the Internet.  I was up-do challenged, but thanks to her tutorials, I’ve learned a lot of cute styles.  This “easier than it looks” tutorial lives up to its name.  And her basic “chic updo” was the first one I learned to do on my own.  Once you get the hang of it, it goes up in a flash.

Other hair styles to consider?  This sleek, low ponytail from Lulu’s is a nice option.  I also like this knotted side bun and this shockingly easy chignon.

Want to wear your hair down?  Fake a blowout with a large-barrel curling iron, or copy Kate Middleton’s chic half-up/half-down style.



  1. Another Caroline says:

    I don’t think any of this advice is good for curly hair. My hair looks neatest and most professional if I haven’t washed it in a week and I’ve barely touched it the day of the interview. Mine’s long and I wear it half up when trying to look professional. Full updos are too risky (they usually fall out because the hair is too thick and heavy), but I’ll be tempted to play with my hair if it’s all down, so half up is a good compromise.

    February 17, 2015/Reply
    • Belle says:

      You know if your hair looks clean or dirty. If it looks best to you with a few days without washing, great. I’m talking more to the ladies who walk into early morning interviews with oily hair. I’ve seen that more times than I can count.

      February 17, 2015/Reply
  2. Liz says:

    For interviews I have always worn my hair half back in either a gold or tortoise shell barrett – for me this keeps my hair from falling in my face and me from needing to constantly tuck behind my ears (generally I am far more comfortable with my hair down than up, I feel that it’s more flattering for my face shape – all up I always feel like my head looks like a beach ball, having hair down seems to lengthen)

    February 17, 2015/Reply
  3. Meg says:

    I do something similar to Kate’s Chic Up-do every time I need a formal style (prob need to try some new ones by now). I found the Gibson Tuck to work especially well on my thick hair, which is oftentimes difficult to style with bobbypins. https://www.freckled-fox.com/2012/08/hair-tutorial-gibson-tuck.html

    February 17, 2015/Reply
  4. Cait says:

    How do you feel about someone wearing a braid? I have long hair that I prefer to keep neatly french braided (similar to this: https://www.twistmepretty.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/french-braids.jpg), but I don’t often see other people wearing a braid to work. If the braid is neat, simple, and clean (not multiple braids or anything too pinterest-y), is it ok?

    February 18, 2015/Reply
    • Anon says:

      No. A braid is too little girl for an interview.

      February 19, 2015/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I agree, no braid for an interview.

      February 20, 2015/Reply