Anonymous Royal Navy recruits

Navy changes rules on hairstyles for female personnel

Anonymous Royal Navy recruits

The Second Sea Lord has announced female personnel in the Royal Navy can now wear their hair in a ponytail or plait while in working rig – job-specific dress worn at sea and ashore.

Vice Admiral Nick Hine made the announcement on Twitter, saying: "Great to be able to say that our servicewomen can now wear their hair in a ponytail or plait whilst in working rig."

Until now, Royal Navy female uniform regulations have stated ratings with long hair may only wear it in a 'ponytail' "secured with a non-synthetic (ie. not manmade fibre) tie when forming part of an emergency party so that breathing apparatus can be donned quickly without the need to remove hairgrips".

The regulation continues: "This relaxation also extends to ratings off duty in their mess decks."

There are, however, some exceptions on religious or cultural grounds.

Otherwise, the rules stated long hair should be "worn up and properly secured in a neat and tidy fashion using grips, hairpins, nets and conservative scrunchies (in both size and colour) where appropriate".

Corn braids/corn rows, should be "simple in design without beads or other adornments".

It is noted that female Rastafarian hair is to follow the same rules for other female personnel and Muslim women "may wear a hijab except when operational or health and safety considerations dictate otherwise".

In October 2019, the Royal Air Force allowed its personnel to grow beards for the first time under new rules in an effort to broaden its recruitment pool and promote inclusivity but insisted personnel should maintain high standards of appearance.

Cover image: Royal Navy.

Related topics

Join Our Newsletter


Military readiness tested in large earthquake simulation in Cyprus

Indian air force joins the RAF's BIGGEST exercise for first time

UK Challenger 2s plough through blizzards during testing training