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Top Professional Hairstyles

Top professional hairstyles for 2020

"Professional" feels a lot different during the coronavirus pandemic. With most of us almost six months into working from home it can be tempting to just roll out of bed and pop open your laptop. But despite the major loungewear trend and the fact that nearly 54% of women have completely stopped wearing makeup, it’s important to keep some semblance of professionalism while working from home. In a virtual world, styling your hair goes a long way when it comes to making a professional impression on your colleagues. Things like constantly moving it out of your eyes, tucking it behind your ear, or wrapping your finger around it can be distracting and send the message that you aren't focused. We’re breaking down the best professional hairstyles and hair looks for every type and texture — including tips for styling and the best hair styling products to use. 

The best professional hairstyles for short hair

Just because traditional updo hairstyles are probably out of the question doesn’t mean you can’t streamline your shorter or shoulder-length strands for a more professional appearance. These are the best professional hairstyles for short hair.

Slicked back

One of the pros of having short hair is the ease of styling it. Use this low-maintenance length to your advantage by slicking it back for a low-key edgy look. Just dampen your strands and slick them down, back, and behind your ears. Use a dollop of molding gel to seal your strands in place. 

Smoothed-out bob

This classic hairdo is a great choice to look professional with an edge (Anna Wintour, anyone?!). Achieving the look all starts with getting the right cut. Ask your stylist for a straight, blunt bob. When it’s time for styling, either blow dry it smooth after washing or touch up your second-day hairstyle with a flat iron.

Add a headband

Adding a headband is one of the easiest ways to look more polished, whether you have straight hair or curly. Brush through your hair and slip a headband over your strands. The headband should sit back against your temples. Leave the ends of your hair loose, or secure them in a low ponytail with a clip or elastic.

Medium length hair chignon Davines

The best professional hairstyles for medium length hair

These are the most professional (and flattering) hairstyles for medium-length hair.


A chignon is feminine, classic, and so simple to do. Start by twisting your hair from the nape of your neck to your ends, and coil it in a counter-clockwise circle. Continue to twist your hair into a bun shape using your index finger to hold it in place. Secure each side with a large bobby pin and loosen the edges until you get your desired shape.

Low Bun

A low bun is a perfect way to keep your hair out of your face while looking put-together. Pull your hair back into a low ponytail and secure it with a scrunchie or elastic. Wrap the length of your hair around the base, and secure it with bobby pins.

Half-up, Half-down

Feeling mixed emotions about wearing your hair up or down? How about...both? Start by sectioning the front of your hair off from your temples forward. Twist the front section into a messy bun and secure it close to your crown. Shake out the back of your hair and finish off with a brushable hairspray or a shine-enhancing hair product.

French braid long hair Davines

The best professional hairstyles for long hair

These are the best professional hairstyles for long hair.

Bubble ponytail

This look is a trendy take on the traditional ponytail. Pull your hair into a high ponytail. Then tie clear hair elastics down the length of your ponytail about two inches apart. Gently tug at each section to create the look of a bubble. Spritz your strands with a hair spray, and voila!

Scarf braid

This look is another amped-up take on a classic hairstyle. Secure a low ponytail with one end of a silk scarf. Split the ponytail into two sections on either side of the remaining tail of the scarf. Braid the scarf with the two sections of hair until you reach the bottom. When about an inch or two of scarf remains, tie it around the hair that’s left.

French braid

The French braid is another way to keep your strands away from your face, but with a little more casual feel — aka perfect for a work-from-home vibe! Not sure how to French braid your own hair? Follow this tutorial:

  • Step 1: Take a bit of hair from each side of your head
  • Step 2: Cross the right over the left
  • Step 3: Transfer the hair to your right hand
  • Step 4: Add some hair from the left
  • Step 5: Cross the left strand and pass it to the right hand
  • Step 6: Add some hair to the right strand
  • Step 7: Continue this until you’re about an inch or two from the ends of your hair
  • Step 8: Secure the braid with an elastic or scrunchie

Davines curly hair ideas

photo by Cassell Ferrere

The best professional hairstyles for curly hair

Styling and caring for curly hair can be a challenge without the right guidance. Nailing new hairstyles on your hair type isn’t the only struggle, either. Curly hair can be hard to tame, and finding the right products can test your patience as well. If your coils need a little extra TLC, check out our previous post on how to fix frizzy hair. Otherwise, these are the best professional hairstyles for curly hair.


The pineapple is a loose, high ponytail on top of your head, that helps to prevent frizz, knots and flattened curls. And those with curly hair know this is the ultimate in quick and easy hairstyles. Simply pile all your curls right on top of your head and secure with a gentle hair tie or a pretty scarf. Not only is this the ultimate curly hairstyle, it’s also the fastest. Just flip your head upside down, gather, secure, and go!

Side braid

A quick and easy side braid will keep your curls calm and give you an instantly polished work look. Start by running a curl cream through your strands. Gather your hair to one side, braid it loosely, and secure the ends. 

Wavy half-up style

The half-up is another style that’s easy to pull together and quickly make you look work-ready. It’s also a way to add a little versatility if you sport a top-knot on the daily. Just gather the top section of your curls and pull them around and over the crown, securing it with a couple bobby pins or a barrette. This is a particularly handy style for dealing with humidity or second day strands.

Nesrin Danan natural curly textured hair

photo by @blackprints

The best professional hairstyles for natural hair

If you have natural hair, these are the best professional hairstyles for you to try.

Halo braid

Perfect for fully-natural or transitioning-haired girls, this easy work hairstyle takes seconds to execute. After a quick detangle, start the braid on one side of your head and continuously braid all the way around your head. Secure the end by tucking it underneath or inside the larger braid with a bobby pin. Not sure how to safely detangle your natural hair without breaking it? Check out our previous post, How to Detangle Your Hair with Ease.

Sleek ponytail

The power of a sleek pony cannot be denied. Start by running an anti-frizz oil through your wet strands, then brush it up to the crown or back to the nape of the neck. Secure with a gentle elastic and smooth down your edges.

Wash and go

A wash and go is a method of cleaning and styling natural hair without the use of heat, protective styling, or any other manipulation techniques — one of the reasons natural girls love their hair is the ease of a wash and go. In a matter of minutes, dry, lifeless curls can be morphed into defined, elongated, and moisturized locks that last for up to seven days. On damp hair, apply a combination of your favorite curl prep products. This can include any combination of curl creams, wave sprays, curl mousses, natural oils, leave-in conditioners, serums, or gels. Make sure that your curls are evenly coated and protected from the root to the tip.

In the new virtual workplace, it can be tempting to roll out of bed, throw your hair in a messy topknot, and work from your pajamas. But it’s important for productivity to keep some semblance of professionalism while working from home. No matter what length of hair you have, the most appropriate professional hairstyles are the ones that make you feel most comfortable and confident. So load up on your haircare essentials and be respectful of your work environment while showing some personality with one of the best professional hairstyles for every type and texture on our list. (Even if you’re doing it in a tie-dyed sweatsuit).

by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

cover photo by @kennakunijo

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