NEW! Dreadlocks are now approved for all female Soldiers!
A summary of Army hair standards:
1) You can wear a single ponytail for PT centered at the back of your head. If you have braids, cornrows, and twists which extend beyond the bottom of the collar, these may be worn in one ponytail.
2) You can have bangs. They cannot fall below your eyebrows. They can extend across your head from temple to temple. Your bangs cannot peek out from under your headgear at the forehead.
3) The shortest hair on your head should not be shorter than .25 inches (unless you have a profile).
4) If the length of your hair does not fall below the bottom of your blouse collar, you are not required to secure. It can just be loose.
5) You can have layered hair.
6) In medium length hair styles (as defined on our Hair Styles page), regarding the collective ends of your hair length (bottom hairline), the difference between the shortest hair length and the longest hair length cannot exceed 1 inch. This means that if you have a graduated bob-cut, the front wings can only be .999 inches longer than the length of the hair in the back of your bob. The bottom hairline of medium length hair is the only place this rule applies. Bangs don't count in this rule. Here is a picture to make this more clear since it seems this rule is not mutually understood across the force.
7) No portion of your hair can stick out more than 2 inches from you scalp. Sorry, Ladies, no Jersey Shore hair bouffants.
8) Hair that extends longer in length beyond the bottom of the collar must be neatly secured- pinned, fastened, tied, etc. The messy bun is never cute in the Army.
9) Your bun can be as wide as your head, but should not protrude more than 3.5 inches from your scalp. This is the only exception to the 2-inch rule in number 7.
10) You can shave your neckline for a neat appearance (recommended for DA Photos), but no other portions of your scalp may be shaved.
11) Your hairstyle should be symmetrical from the center of your head.
12) Hair must fit well with whatever headgear you are required to wear- Helmet, protective mask, soft cap, beret, service cap, etc. Hair cannot distort the appearance and fit of the headgear.
13) Hair styles cannot be faddish. Spiky hair is specified as prohibited by this rule. Also, your hair style should not have severe angles- so try to keep your angles obtuse. This is by far the most subjective rule which will allow your commander to order you to change your hairstyle if she/he perceives it as detracting from the professionalism of the uniform. By definition, faddish is the adjective form of the noun, Fad, which is defined as "something (such as an interest of fashion) that is very popular for a short time." "Fad." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. Keep this in mind if you are ever called out for having a faddish hairstyle. If you are the only one doing it, it does not qualify as a fad given that it complies with all other hair regulations. Always keep in mind that a legal order from your commander is a legal order from your commander and while you can attempt to educate that person, it may affect your reputation and is that really worth it for a hair-do? Sometimes, the answer is yes and sometimes it is no.
14) See Tools and Products for authorized and prohibited hair devices.
15) If your hair is long enough for it, you can wear braids, cornrows, and twists. The following applies when multiple of these are worn. Multiple is defined as more than 2. The maximum diameter of these is .5 inches. The braids, cornrows, and twists can not be mixed. They must all be one type of style, uniform in size and spacing. They may flow straight back or along the natural flow of the hair when a single straight part is used.
16) You can have hair extensions that look like your own hair.
17) You can wear wigs that look like your own hair, only better. Otherwise don't wear a bad wig. Also, your wig cannot cover hair which does not comply with regulations.
18) You can use dye, tint, and bleach, but your hair color must be on the natural color spectrum. Prohibited colors include: purple, blue, pink, green, orange, bright red, and fluorescent or neon colors.