Style Lives in Female Ranks

We all know that men joining the military must have their hair cut very short,  but women have some options for haircuts. Each branch of the military has their own guidelines:

Photograph of two female american soldiers.
Image via Wikipedia


Extreme, eccentric, trendy haircuts/hairstyles are not authorized; dyes, tints, or bleaches must result in natural tones for hair color.

You may wear braids and cornrows as long as the braided style is conservative and cornrows lie snugly on the head. Dreadlocks are not allowed while on duty.

Hair cannot fall over the eyebrows or extend below the bottom edge of the collar.Long hair that falls below the bottom edge of the collar must be fastened or pinned, so no free-hanging hair is visible.

Extensions, weaves, wigs and hairpieces are authorized as long as they conform to the standards.

You may wear small, plain scrunchies, barrettes, combs, pins, clips, rubber bands, and hair bands as long as they are plain and as close to the hair color as possible or clear.


The same rules apply as for Army, with the exception of braids – they must be small (1/4”) in diameter. Beads, decorative items cannot be braided into hair. Short hair can be braided in corn rows.

Jumper uniforms allow the hair to extend 1-1/2 below the top of the jumper collar.

You are limited to 2 small barrettes, combs, or clips that are similar in color. Elastic fabric bands are not allowed. Hair ornaments must not present a safety hazard.


Can’t wear excessive amounts of grooming products. Hair can’t touch the eyebrows and must not be visible below the front band of headgear. Hair may be visible in front of a women’s flight cap.

Hair nets may be worn for safety – made of cotton or synthetic material of a conservative or solid color similar to your hair color and must contain no metal fasteners.

Hair must not extend in length on all sides below an invisible line drawn parallel to the ground at the bottom of the shirt collar – must not exceed 3” in bulk.


During physical training and not in the utility uniform, you may wear your hair naturally. To break down the rules:

Long hair is fine, as long as it is neat, pulled up, and not touching the collar.

Short is fine, as long as it is not cut extreme (GI Jane) and does not touch the collar.

No hairstyle may prevent proper wear of headgear.

Military women don’t have to have boring clone-hair, and aren’t limited to styles that don’t fit the shape of their faces. Consult your stylist for a style that conforms to military norms, and also compliments your appearance.

Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City. Out of town appointments welcome.