Revisions to the U.S. Army’s grooming and appearance standards went into effect Wednesday that will loosen up hairstyle regulations and allow for earrings to be worn.
The new rules are proof “that the force is evolving and making a concerted effort to make everyone feel included,” Master Sgt. Quintana Mitchell, the uniform policy NCO for G-1, said in unveiling the changes last month.
Soldiers will now be allowed to have highlights in their hair as long as it appears natural.
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Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders, senior enlisted leader of Army G-1’s uniform policy branch, said that the Army “cannot assume that a Soldier’s hair should be a specific color” based on their complexion.
Neon colors and other bright pigments such as pink and green are still not allowed.
Hair can also be less than 1/4 inches and soldiers are allowed to wear multiple hairstyles at once under the new regulations.
Ponytails will also be allowed for female soldiers with medium-length hair “if the individual’s hair length or texture prevents them from securing it into a tight bun.”
Female soldiers can now wear earrings with their Army Combat Uniform, but not in the field or in combat. Certain types of nail polish and lipstick will also be permitted.
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A panel of 15 female soldiers and two male soldiers proposed the changes after examining them for seven months.
“This is one of the many facets of putting our people first and recognizing who they are as human beings,” Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders, senior enlisted leader of Army G-1’s uniform policy branch, said last month. “Their identity and diverse backgrounds are what makes the Army an ultimate fighting force.”