Royal Marines and US Marines executed tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel in Iceland 2022
The changes saw the expectation that women wear their hair slicked back removed, with personnel also allowed to wear their hair loose at a longer length than before (Picture: Royal Navy).
USA

US Marine Corps relaxes hair policy for women

Royal Marines and US Marines executed tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel in Iceland 2022
The changes saw the expectation that women wear their hair slicked back removed, with personnel also allowed to wear their hair loose at a longer length than before (Picture: Royal Navy).

The US Marine Corps has partially relaxed its hair rules for women in the service.

The changes mean women no longer have to have their hair slicked back and are allowed to wear it loose at a longer length than before.

According to the new rules, hair twists are now allowed for short hair, while long hair must be secured up, with no hair "left to fall naturally" or be left "unsecured or with exposed ends".

The only exception to this rule is when personnel are authorised to let their hair down during non-combat physical training.

The changes also see medium and long hair allowed to be worn in an "unsecured full ponytail or unsecured braid during non-combat physical training only".

Personnel with medium-length hair are allowed to wear it down, but it must not "extend more than two inches below the bottom of the base of the collar" or obscure the collar rank insignia.

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Another change sees personnel allowed to wear "inconspicuous hairpins and bobby pins".

"Barrettes, combs, etc. are authorized, if consistent with the hair color and concealed by the hair," the Marine Corps guidance outlined.

"Ponytail holders will be consistent with the hair color and need not be concealed, but should be inconspicuous. 

"Conspicuous hair securing devices (e.g. headbands, scrunchies, alligator clips, bows) are not authorized."

Previously, the Marine Corps was the only military branch not to allow women to wear ponytails or braids in uniform.

In November 2021, changes to hair standards for women were discussed at the Marine Corps uniform board, but it was decided there would be no changes.

Before the most recent changes, women with long hair, described as hair that fell below the uniform collar's edge, had to have it "inconspicuously fastened or pinned" – with personnel almost universally fixing their hair into a tight bun.

Women with short hair, less than one inch from the scalp, or medium hair, longer than one inch but shorter than the collar, were previously allowed to wear their hair unsecured.