The Marine Corps Uniform Board No. 220, has relaxed the hair standards for women while wearing the uniform, and women will be allowed to wear ponytails for the first time.
The Marine Corps is the last service allowing female troops to wear at least half ponytails. The Navy was the first service to allow ponytails back in 2018, the Air Force allowed them last year, and the Army followed suit in May 2022.
The new regulations are effective immediately.
The following illustration from the Marine Corps shows the hairstyles and proper regulations for female Marines’ hair lengths.
Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. Jim Stenger said in a released statement, “These changes are indicative of our disciplined approach to uniformity without sacrificing the health and safety of our female Marines.
“We are grateful for the continued feedback from our Marines in addressing uniform updates and modifications. It’s because of conversations like those that our leadership can make positive change,” he added.
The Corps stated that all hairstyles must lend a “neat and professional” appearance.
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Female Marines are now discouraged from using the former practice of pulling their hair tightly back into a bun. That practice required a lot of alcohol-based hairsprays, damaged hair follicles, and resulted in many women Marines losing their hair in an ailment called traction alopecia, where the hair is literally pulled from its roots.
“In order to minimize potential damage from daily hairstyling, Marines are encouraged to avoid alcohol-based styling products, styling wet hair, and hairstyles that cause undue tension on hair follicles,” the MARADMIN reads. “There is no requirement to have tightly pulled back or slicked back hair at any length.”
CW2 Jessica Brooks, 36, of Bradenton Beach, FL, told Stars and Stripes that she welcomes the changes, as the bun interfered with her weapons marksmanship.
“I’ve shot in the burn before during fire drills, and I used to get in trouble because I would take my hair down so I could kneel down and shoot,” Brooks said.
Wearing their hair in a bun is a safety concern and interferes with female Marines’ marksmanship training. It pushes the Kevlar helmet down and obstructs their vision when kneeling or in the prone position.
Brooks added, “I think overall (what) the Marine Corps is progressing to is more of a safety concern because the Marine Corps has heard our voice and complaints, and this was a safety issue.”
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Regs Separate Hair Into Three Categories
The Marine Corps has divided the regulations into three separate hair categories: short, medium, and long hair length.
Short hair: Short hair length is described as the length of hair no longer than one inch, not including bangs. The hair length may be no shorter than 1/4 of an inch but can be evenly graduated to within two inches of the hairline.
Women with short hair can now wear their hair with twists, something that was previously only allowed for female Marines with medium-length or long hair.
Medium hair: Medium hair is described as hair length that does not extend past the lower edge of the collar of all uniforms and extends no more than one inch from the scalp.
Medium hairstyles are not required to be secured while in uniform, and graduated hairstyles are authorized only if the graduation does not exceed more than one inch in length, from front to back. The medium hairstyle will not exceed more than two inches in length.
Long hair: Long hair is defined as hair extending below the collar’s lowest edge. Long hair must be neatly and inconspicuously pinned, with no visible barrettes. The regulations also state bangs may be worn when hair is pinned up. Visible barrettes and unsecured ponytails are only authorized for physical training. Bangs, for all hair lengths, may not be visible when wearing headgear and must lie neatly against the head.
The new regulation authorizes a wider range of styles for female Marines with long hair.
Steve Balestrieri is a proven military analyst. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for Sandboxx.com, he has written for 19fortyfive.com and SOFREP.com; he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.
Feature Image: U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jason Varnadoe, a native of Lubricity, Ga., and drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., instructs the female poolees of Recruiting Station Detroit during the bi-annual female pool function at the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, Michigan, June 20, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. J.R. Heins/Released)
Jan O'Grady says
When I went into the Army, the Men didn’t have to have a high school diploma or a GED, but the Women did, however, I hate these new female hair regulations, they are sloppy and unkempt, unprofessional.
Also, if a Drill Sergeant or Drill Instructor can’t yell at you during Basic Training or Boot Camp, how is that preparing anyone for War. War is loud and unexpected, so training should be too! WETSU!
Anthony Joseph Pandolfino says
I’m not fixing spelling errors in this.
I’ll give you a regulation and I relax today for the United States Navy recruiter I have-
In the army one that I’m about to see at 4:30- On the website sophia.org
You are able to get a GED which will help you get into the United States Armed Forces in most cases. In all cases this is the only way you can get in with high school or GED diplomacy.—
Years back I got the heavy acceptance to the United States Navy out of a recruitment center close to where I live. Under one condition that I finished my GED work and I would be excepted to go no matter what. When I spoke with my recruiter because I had a hard time finding the actual site due to the list of what came up similar. When he sent me the site and brought me to a college credit course. I paid for the course successfully without any form of general education diploma entered or high school diploma see what so ever. I began working on college credits yet did not finish them and stood back to take care of my mother as she had gotten surgeries. Years passed with the same situation standing with the United States Navy service. I called them today when I thought of this. I asked my petty officer recruiter if he knew anything of me being able to get in to the military on a higher rate of pay with college credits due to the fact I can take them with no GED or diploma. He goes to his supervisors and workers I heard him when I was waiting on the phone. Yo you guys can you get into the military with college credits and no GED or high school diploma- It took him a second and then they realized you can get in if you were becoming an officer do you have skipped the time of a high school diploma you are now in the military as a college graduate with no GED or high school diploma whatsoever- Even with a D minus in the minimal amount of credits you would need to get in.
🇺🇸 Tony Joseph Pandolfino- (Tj/Aj)
Sonam Sharma says