Army Updates Women’s Hair Policy, Will Now Allow Ponytails and Braids
It’s a sign of the times, as the military looks to update some rules and regulations regarding female grooming policies. Looks like they’re now allowing ponytails or braids regardless of whether a female soldier is in uniform or not.
It's called the ALARACT 040/21, and its passing will now allow women in the U.S. Army to wear their hair in a ponytail or with one braid or two braids fastened together.
The pervious policy required women to wear their hair in a bun, which they acknowledged was leading to hair loss. Plus, many women complained it was hard to wear a helmet while training with a bun.
The pervious policy also banned shaved heads and required hair be at 1/4 inch length. That policy has also been eliminated.
According to an article on NPR, the new policy still requires women to keep their hair no longer than shoulder blade length and also will allow for superiors to request women to tuck their hair in their shirt when safety becomes an issue.
Army G-1 Uniform Policy Branch, Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders said, “This new modification is more practical for our female soldiers. It allows them flexibility in a tactical environment, while maintaining a professional appearance in garrison. This change also helps to alleviate hair loss and damage to the scalp.”
In other changes, The U.S. Army is also allowing hair highlights in natural colors, women can also wear lipstick and nail polish but only in "non-extreme" colors plus women in combat uniforms can also wear earrings. Men are also allowed to wear clear nail polish.
The Army says "professionalism" is important to how a soldier appears.
Maj. Terri Taylor from Fort Stewart in Georgia, says being professional isn't limited to one hairstyle. "Who's to say that a ponytail is not professional in appearance? Who's to say that locks are not professional in appearance? As long as you can properly wear your headgear and look professional in your uniform, I think that's what matters at the end of the day."