Natural Hair Discrimination in Army Has Been Reviewed. Check out the Changes!

Great news!!  According to an article I read on ArmyTimes there have been some policy changes made to recent change in the Army Regulations as it relates to Hair.  Didn’t know about the Army regulation changes?  Spend a few minutes here informing yourself.

 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “Dreadlocks, cornrows, twisted braids and other hairstyles popular among African American women will be more accepted across the military after a forcewide review of hairstyle policies prompted several changes.  

Here’s an overview of the service-specific changes:


■ Increased the size of authorized braids, cornrows and twists and eliminated the spacing requirement.

■ Authorized temporary two-strand braids.

■ Authorized a ponytail during physical training.

■ Eliminated the terms “matted and unkempt” from grooming policy.


■ Authorized two-strand twists.

■ Authorized multiple braids to hang freely if they remain above the collar and encompass the whole head.

Air Force

■ Authorized two-strand twists, French twists and Dutch braids.

■ Changed the term “dreadlocks” to “locs.”

■ Eliminated the terms “matted and unkempt” from grooming policy.

Marine Corps

■ Will convene a special uniform board this summer to consider expanding authorized hair styles.

This is definitely a move in the right direction.  Our voices are being heard curl friends.

Were you personally effected by the changes in the army regulations?  Are you happy with the outcome?  What other changes are you interested in seeing? 

There are 12 comments

Add yours
  1. beenaturale

    That’s definitely progress, although the military seemed more eager to accommodate sexual orientation than our hair. A crying shame!

    • queenbee9

      I disagree. It took the military over 150 years to allow sexual orientation issues to change policy and that was not done by the military but was forced on them by LAW and an act of Congress.

      It has been less than 40 years since women were allowed to actively serve alongside men in the miltary.

      Natural hair is not new. Men have had it forever and as the only group in the military for decades, ,no one told black males they could not wear their natural hair. Women have been in active military for less than 40 years and this issue came up recently.

      This hair issue is actually the FASTEST turn around in Military policy that has EVER occurred in this country and whereas sexual orientation and gender issues both required acts of Congress, Supreme Court rulings and changes in law to cause a change,; this issue only took those affected standing up and discrediting the policy.

      This is a coup for blacks in that on some level what we think and feel on this issue must have been valued and of the 3 issues (black hair, sexual orientation, or gender) our hair is the ONLY one which the Military listened to and VOLUNTARILY changed without being forced into it by laws or outside rulings.

      • beenaturale

        As a veteran and an ARMY spouse, my point of view may be different than your point of view to which I’m entitled. Though we see things different and voice our opinions, it’s still progress.

        • queenbee9

          I agree, we both are entitled to our opinions, (wouldn’t ever think of it otherwise ) as a mother of 2 currently career military personnel , a former Airforce brat for over 17 years (I personally never served) and person who comes from a military family and who has been involved on some level with the USAF since 1961: and am still involved ; I have seen many, many changes over the decades. some for the better and some that seem to be very shortsighted.

          My point was not to take away your opinion in any way, sorry if you felt that I did that—- but to state I disagree because the FACT still remains that the military voluntary took a second look at the issue of braids and ethnic hair textures when any second look at racial or sexual issues required Congress forcing a change in policy not the military reacting proactively.

          Personally, I’d rather applaud what is positive than compare the negative. It has been a long road and many other issues still need addressing but it IS progress and is the only time (vs sexual /race and gender discrimination ) when the military has considered a policy change like this without having Congress force that change. I say a big hands up to the military for doing that.

  2. Jacob

    Lets hope this helps with Sikhs trying to join the US armed forces out of religious obligation for their hair and beards.

    • queenbee9

      It probably will NOT help Sikhs because they must keep their hair covered when in public which is why they wear turbans. Most Sikh men have hella long hair and so violate a LOT of US Millitary rules–

      1. their hair is longer than collar length,
      2.they cannot wear a standard hat over their hair,
      3. Their choice of hair style resembles the hair coverings of our present enemy and as such they could endanger their troops OR be mistaken for the enemy and be at risk for fratricide.

      I do not know of many Sikhs who would want to join the military due to the fact that they tend to believe in NONVIOLENCE. but if there are some they most certainly can argue their case– maybe they could wear a chignon to keep their usually waist length hair off their necks–but they will probably NEVER be allowed to wear a hair covering since that is not a hair issue but an ACCESSORY issue.

      It is also a religious issue but the same religion that prevents them from showing their hair in public also has special dietary requirements AND religious requirements.

      There is a difference between rules that challenge what a person wants to do or believe and what a person naturally has. The military CAN And SHOULD keep a standard which caters to the majority BUT cannot tailor rules to specific groups activities or policies.

      Natural hair is not a policy or a rule–it is the natural state of a hair type–when that is targeted it is NOT in the same boat as a choice. Religion is a choice— following it is a choice and when it does not subscribe to the precepts of other CHOICES, then those in a religion can opt to not be in the Military. Natural hair is not a choice it is a natural state–women who have natural hair do not actually CHOOSE to go natural–natural is how they would be no matter what if they did not CHOOSE to use chemicals on their hair.

      The choice is not ever Natural vs chemically treated hair–that is a FALSE choice. ONLY natural hair is natural meaning God given and there no matter what. The CHOICE is to NOT chemically treat hair.

      it is like saying those blacks who do not use bleach to lighten themselves or chemical peels to lighten themselves have CHOSEN to go black. –Naturals and Blacks HONOR their God given state–those who choose chemicals or bleach, want to have/make other choices to change their God given State.

      Religion does not honor a God Given state, Religion is taught not there when a person is born so those who choose a certain religion do so because they also have choices and their “CHOICE” in beliefs may help to dictate what they do or not do. The military is not about “choices” it is about Americans serving based on a sense of HONOR, COMMITMENT and OBLIGATION , none of which has any affect on hair texture.

      Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, etc would not normally join the military in the states not because it simply would expose their hair but because it would be against the beliefs of not taking life.

  3. jen

    Would anyone please be able to help me accurately know my hair type? I am 7 months into my transition & those are my natural curls. Thank you!

    • Taylor

      In my experience, I suggest cutting those ends off, or going fully natural first before you start hair typing. My hair was what I thought a mixture between 3a and 3b while reaching the end of my transition, and it turned out to be 3c/4a-ish. Its sort of hard to tell during transitioning.

    • lilkunta

      how did you add pics to your post ?

      and did you mean to post this here ?
      this is the military discussion post.

  4. YoYo

    It is nice that the military has modified its regulations as it relates to hair. I am not in the military but I am a black woman working in law enforcement and almost 2 years into my final journey back to natural. When I took the job I fully understood that there would be certain restrictions in regards to my hair, as well as, my nails (length, polish colors), and makeup (which I do not wear). From the looks of it, certain police departments are not as restricting as the military. I have been texturized, transitioning, and natural with a short afro all while being an officer. I have worn corn rows, one and two french braids, halo braids, bantu knot outs when my hair was shorter with no problems. I welcomed them to say something challenging my “black girl hair” but they never did because all my hairstyles were within the regulations…off my collar, no hair in my face, and able to wear my department issued hat(s). I do not think the military should have singled out certain hairstyles or hair types in their regulations (that’s opening themselves to trouble). If a person had straight hair, curly hair, long or short, locs, twists, braid extensions, etc. as long as the hair was worn within regulations, what was the problem? Well, I’m glad some people were able to voice their opinions and were obviously heard.

Comments are closed.