Army Women’s Hair Regulations: The Basics

While the Army has many Soldiers who come from different cultures and lifestyles, it has a long standing policy of keeping things simple, safe and typical. Hair styles have become a highly debatable subject in regards to Army regulations, but the Army has drawn up standards that seem fair for all involved. Men’s hair styles have not been a huge factor, but women’s hair styles have come to the forefront.

In today’s post, we are going to provide the basics on Army women’s hair regulations. It is understandable that women want to look their best, and in many cases, a woman’s hair is her pride and joy, but I do believe that safety should always be the first factor. It is also important that in the Army, there needs to be regulations which keeps all in a typical fashion blend.

I mentioned safety which brings to remembrance a terrible occurrence at a job I worked many years ago. I tell you this just to provide reasoning behind why there needs to be regulations on hair styles. No, this wasn’t in the Army, but it could have been.

I worked at a large manufacturing company. I ran a drill press along side other workers on the graveyard shift. The regulations were that anyone with hair below their shoulder line would have it tied back. One woman was working near me and neglected to tie her hair back. The screams were horrendous as we looked on to a drill that had just ripped over 1/2 of her scalp out. This is why there needs to be rules on hair.

Now that you have a terrible picture in your mind, lets look at the Army women’s hair regulations.

Short Hair

For women who have short hair (no more than 1 inch from the scalp), the regulations are actually similar to a male haircut. Hair cannot be shorter than 1/4 inch from the scalp. Bangs cannot fall below the eyebrows.

Medium Hair

Medium hair length is defined as being more than 1 inch from the scalp but does not fall beyond the lowest edge of the collar. Women with this style of hair can wear it loose. It can be cut in layers, but each length of hair must be approximately the same length. It can be cut in a graduated style, but there can not be more than 1 inch difference. Measuring a bulk of hair from the scalp, it cannot be over 2 inches long.

Long Hair

This is hair that falls below the collar. Just as with the medium hair, the bulk cannot measure over 2 inches. A woman Soldier with long hair must fasten it in an inconspicuous fashion. Pins or ties must be as close to the color of the hair as possible. A bun can extend up to 3 inches from the scalp, and it cannot be wider than the person’s head.


Braids are authorized, but they must follow these regulations:

  • They must be uniform in dimension.

  • They must be tight (no bigger than 1/4 inch).

  • They cannot show more than 1/8 inch of scalp between the braids.

  • Braids cannot have any beads or other materials wove into them.

  • The braid ends must be secured only with inconspicuous rubber bands.

  • Braids close to the scalp must start at the front of the head.

  • If a woman has multiple braids, they must cover the entire head.


A twist is defined as hair that has strands twisted together. No form of this is allowed in the United States Army.


Dreadlocks are defined as locked coils of hair. In many cases, these are made by extensions. The Army states these are not authorized.


Cornrows are simply braids that have the look as a planted field of corn. They are normally tight to the scalp, and they are authorized in the U.S. Army if the rules for braids are followed. This means they must start at the front of the head and must be uniform in dimension. Only one style of cornrow can be wore at a time.

Wigs and Extensions

Both wigs and extensions can be used by women soldiers, but they must follow the guidelines as if they were real hair. They must look natural, matching the woman’s hair color.

Pony Tails

Pony tails can only be used during PT. They must be taken out when traveling to and from PT. The only time they can be used is during physical training.

Final Thoughts

All of these regulations can be found Army Regulation 670-1. The Army has done a great job of trying to appease everyone. They do understand that styles come in many shapes and forms, but keeping the Army in a typical format and safety is of importance.

Do you agree with these regulations? We would like to hear your opinions about the Army’s policies regarding women’s hair styles. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “Army Women’s Hair Regulations: The Basics”

  1. It’s also completely ridiculous and irrational that the armed forces have completely different rules about women’s and men’s hair lengths and styles. Unbelievably, these pointless gender normative rules are in place in 99.9 per cent of the world’s militaries.

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