The AF is changing the female hair regulation on February 10, 2021. The Army also announced a number of new hair regulations and other changes affecting women in AR 607-1 which will be published on February 25, 2021. And while this is an exciting change for those in the service many do not realize the importance and impact of the change. While I was in the Air Force, I struggled to meet Air Force hair standards. My hair is never without flyaways and I am one of the most inexperienced hair stylists. Even with hair spray, I couldn’t get my hair to stay pinned down. And during training or deployments hair spray wasn’t practical.
I created a video on YouTube to help talk about these changes, check it out here.
To get through basic training I was given the advice to cut my hair. I cut off 10+ inches to ensure I would meet Air Force standards. And not have my hair not extending past my collar. My mentor said, women who did not cut their hair often suffered from headaches, and many had rashes at the end of the training from the hairspray or the lack of dry hair with it always being up.
The Air Force sent out a survey to servicewomen to provide feedback about the AF hair regulations. Over ten thousand women responded and 93% of female Airmen and Guardians agreed the hair policy for females in the Air and Space Force needed to be updated. And of the respondents, 52% referenced headaches and migraines due to hair policies.
An unofficial poll by The Warrior Braids found that 7 out of 10 active-duty women associated migrates with the Air Force standards of wearing a bun every day.
It is clear that changes to the hair policy have more to do with the health of women and not looking a certain way.
So what are the new female hair regulations for the Air Force?
The previous hair standards read as Women must wear hairstyles that present a professional appearance. You may wear plain and conservative pins, combs, headbands, elastic bands, and barrettes similar to the individual’s hair color.
Similar to men, hair may not be worn in an extreme or fad style or violate safety requirements. The haircut cannot extend in length on all sides below an invisible line drawn a parallel to the ground at the bottom edge of the shirt collar at the back of the neck. You may not use ribbons or jeweled pins.
Beginning on February 10, 2021, female Airmen will be able to wear their hair in up to two braids or a single ponytail. The bulk of the hair is not to exceed the width of the head. The length not extending below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam at the underarm through the shoulder blades. In addition, women’s bangs may now touch their eyebrows, but not cover their eyes.
Read the full article with updates here.
Army female hair regulation changes
The first thing was that women’s hair no longer had a minimum hair length, previously it had been 1/4″. One of the reasons this was changed was because with women being in the Combat Arms. Often you need to cut your hair short for hygiene reasons. To ensure it would meet hygiene needs for the time of training women needed to have it shorter than 1/4″.
The next main change is that soldiers will be authorized to wear multiple hairstyles as long as it maintains a neat and professional appearance. The hairstyle cannot impede with the use of head here or other equipment. Currently, soldiers are allowed to braids, twists, lock or cornrow their hair. They are authorized one distinct type of hairstyle at a time. And there are a number of other standard that must be met. The updated standard has removed the constraints have dimensions and requirements. So before you had a lot of rules and regulations about how your hair is done and it had to all be the same. Now they’ve taken those rules away.
Braids and ponytails
The next thing is that soldiers with a medium hair length will have the option to wear a ponytail. With the caveat if the individual hair length or texture prevents them secure from securing into a tight bun. A medium hair length style must extend more than one inch from the scalp and cannot exceed the lower edge of the collar. Medium length ponytails are only authorized for wear on the back of the scalp. They cannot exceed the heads width or interfere with the proper wear of soldiers head gear. This standard will allow females with long hair to have the option to wear a ponytail while wearing their ACU during physical training or while wearing tactical headgear. During tactical training or combat operations, you can take your hair and stick it down your shirt. The Army defines long hair as a length that extends beyond the collar.
Another major change in the Army’s uniform standards is that women will be authorized to wear earrings in their ACUs. You can’t wear them out in the field. But you can wear them on a typical day when you’re in the office and not doing fieldwork. The Army also approved the use of additional colors of lipstick nail polish. It also includes the wear of clear nail polish by male soldiers. Females also have the option to wear an American manicure, which is a two-tone style manicure that maintains a natural appearance.
You can learn more here.