What Changed in Army Grooming Standards?
There are few occupations with grooming and appearance regulations as stringent as those the various branches of the military have. The army grooming standards change on February 24th marks a push to “promote diversity and inclusion.” The new standards will supersede those outlined in the grooming and appearance chapter of Army Regulation 670-1 until the next scheduled revision.
These updates started with a 17-soldier panel, which while diverse in rank, unit, age, background, career field, and race, was comprised mainly of women. A few subject matter experts were a part of the process as well and included Army dermatologists, an Army psychologist, and an Army equal opportunity (EO) advisor.
So, what are the new Army Grooming Standards? Here is an overview of the most notable changes:
- Minimum hair length – minimum hair length requirements have been removed all together. Any soldier can have hair as short as they’d like. This allows men to shave their heads shorter than ¼” and, of course, allows women to shave their heads to begin with.
- Multiple hairstyles – the basic rule of thumb will be that all hairstyles must maintain a neat and professional appearance and cannot impede the use of headgear or other equipment. The lifting of restrictions on width and spacing of braids, cornrows, twists, and locks will provide some flexibility for soldiers opting for these styles.
- Ponytails – ponytails will be allowed as an alternative to a tight bun.
- Highlights – highlights will be permitted, as long as they are not in an unauthorized color such as blue or orange.
- Earrings – female soldiers can now wear small earrings with their ACU.
- Nail polish – additional pigments have been added to the list of permitted nail polish colors, and males will be allowed to wear clear polish, if desired.
On top of the updated standards, the Army has taken steps to replace potentially offensive and subjective language within the written grooming regulations. Words such as Fu Manchu, dreadlock, eccentric, and faddish will no longer be a part of the official army grooming standards.
Additional descriptions of revised Army Grooming Standards can be found here.