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Headquarters Marine Corps

Headquarters Marine Corps News
Uniform board seeks Marine feedback on female hairstyles

By Cpl. Samuel Ellis | Headquarters Marine Corps | August 11, 2014

WASHINGTON -- The Marine Corps Uniform Board released a special uniform survey Aug. 11 to gather Marine opinions concerning two female hairstyles — locks (dreadlocks) and twists.

Earlier this year, the DoD mandated all services review their female hairstyle regulations.

The uniform board held a special working group to review female hairstyle regulations May 30, 2014. The working group determined the existing regulations to be non-discriminatory and allow for maximum individuality while maintaining a professional military appearance. The uniform board is seeking input from Marines along with the findings of the working group before submitting a formal recommendation to the final decision maker, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos.

The brief survey contains two recommendations with an option to “Concur” or “Nonconcur.”

The first recommendation is, “Continue to prohibit the wear of lock (dreadlock) hairstyles.”

Current regulations prohibit the wear of dreadlock hairstyles. A dreadlock is one tress of hair twisted at the root to the end of the hair. The working group considered this hairstyle and recommended it continue to be prohibited. 

The second recommendation is, “Authorize the wear of the twist hairstyles in uniform, as long as they conform with the regulations as detailed below.”

A twist is two portions or strands of hair wound or interwoven together. Current regulations prohibit twists, but the working group recommended twist hairstyles be authorized for medium and long hair length, so long as it follows the same basic regulations as detailed for multiple braids.

Although the questions pertain to female hairstyles, the survey is not gender restricted and both active duty and reserve Marines may participate.

The survey about the proposed changes will be live until Aug. 15 and can be taken at https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/application by selecting the Special Marine Corps Uniform Board: Female Hairstyle Regulations Survey.


63 Comments


  • Jay 67 days ago
    I think there are more vital issues that need to be addressed at this time than personal preference.
  • Charlery 71 days ago
    I think like every other hairstyle it works for some and not others. In the case of African American females with their hair a bun or french braid is not always the best choice due to hair health, length, if they have natural or chemically treated hair. Other races can take their hair out everyday and wash it but females of the African American race cannot because their hair will break and fall out. More choices of hairstlyes that accomidate African American hair is needed in the Marine Corps. The way its set up now for most African Amercican females have to chemically treat their hair to conform to the hair regulations in place, when chemically treated they have to go through chemical burns, hair loss it very unhealthy, if you have very corse hair and you want to "go natural" it is very hard and unsightly in the early stages of natural hair growth. Like the bun and french braid if it looks "busted" they should be corrected on that matter because there is always that one with messed up hair.
  • BRITT 71 days ago
    ALLOW TWISTS.
    BUT ONLY IF ALL ETHNICITIES (INCLUDING WHITE) CAN WEAR CORN ROWS AND DOUBLE FRENCH BRAIDS.
  • Gonzalez 72 days ago
    Allow dreads they are healthy and awesome.
  • J 72 days ago
    Chapman.... Do you even know the difference? And what does "clean looking" mean? I agree with Torres, I'd rather see braids, twists and locs rather than busted hair that's trying to fit into Caucasian standards.
  • Lcpl. Lee 72 days ago
    Disallow twists hair style works as a good looking clean hair style thats could easylly pass in the civilan world as presentable
  • PJ 73 days ago
    Do not allow these hairstyles. They are not clean or professional looking.
  • motiv8er 74 days ago
    women should have the exact same regs as men...0 to 3 inches, evenly graduated
  • spacesick 74 days ago
    I believe that Navy Regs look much more professional that the high and tight that we sport in the Marine Corps. But we don’t allow it for various reasons. I don’t write policy, I just enforce policy. But I will question why we can’t have Navy regulation haircuts, but they propose dreads for females. Do we want to promote a homeless man's hair cut for females, but not the hair cut of a fortune 500 business CEO haircut for males? Just asking.
  • Cpl MJ 74 days ago
    1St Concur: Mainly because Locks are linked to culture and being that the Marine Corps have women of different cultures those women will still be able to keep what is sacred to them and still serve their country. Also as an African America women I saw a lot of women with premature alopecia due to the hairstyles that's mandated. Having coarse hair requires a lot of maintance to stay healthy and being able to wear protective styles help. Also a lot of chemicals are required for us to maintain that "standard" look the Marine Corpa require.
    2nd: Concur: It will be nice to wear a protective hair style that will not require any chemicals or harsh maintance.
  • Cpl MJ 74 days ago
    1St Concur: Mainly because Locks are linked to culture and being that the Marine Corps have women of different cultures those women will still be able to keep what is sacred to them and still serve their country. Also as an African America women I saw a lot of women with premature alopecia due to the hairstyles that's mandated. Having coarse hair requires a lot of maintance to stay healthy and being able to wear protective styles help. Also a lot of chemicals are required for us to maintain that "standard" look the Marine Corpa require.
    2nd: Concur: It will be nice to wear a protective hair style that will not require any chemicals or harsh maintance.
  • Cpl MJ 74 days ago
    1St Concur: Mainly because Locks are linked to culture and being that the Marine Corps have women of different cultures those women will still be able to keep what is sacred to them and still serve their country. Also as an African America women I saw a lot of women with premature alopecia due to the hairstyles that's mandated. Having coarse hair requires a lot of maintance to stay healthy and being able to wear protective styles help. Also a lot of chemicals are required for us to maintain that "standard" look the Marine Corpa require.
    2nd: Concur: It will be nice to wear a protective hair style that will not require any chemicals or harsh maintance.
  • Common Sense, Uncommon Virtue 74 days ago
    We as a Corps have a lot of ground to make up concerning diversity since the mishandling of Executive Order 8802. If inclusion and reflecting the face of the nation is truly important, then this should be a no-brainer. Please provide your definition of "military" and "not clean looking". I wonder if these same terms came into play when desegregation was being implemented. Could this have been the rationale behind sending african-american recruits to Montford Point vice Parris Island and establishing an black only battalion of Marines? I'm SURE the issue of uniformity never came up once at all during that time. Claiming that hair styles associated with african-american females is "not military" or "not clean looking" is at worst nothing more than thinly veiled, close-minded bigotry. At best it is merely ignorance.
  • Common Sense, Uncommon Virtue 74 days ago
    We as a Corps have a lot of ground to make up concerning diversity since the mishandling of Executive Order 8802. If inclusion and reflecting the face of the nation is truly important, then this should be a no-brainer. Please provide your definition of "military" and "not clean looking". I wonder if these same terms came into play when desegregation was being implemented. Could this have been the rationale behind sending african-american recruits to Montford Point vice Parris Island and establishing an black only battalion of Marines? I'm SURE the issue of uniformity never came up once at all during that time. Claiming that hair styles associated with african-american females is "not military" or "not clean looking" is at worst nothing more than thinly veiled, close-minded bigotry. At best it is merely ignorance.
  • Gary Lingrel 74 days ago
    I believe, since combat roles were opened to women, hair regulations should be the same as for men for the same reason. The short crop hair was to promote hygiene in the field.
  • Gordon 74 days ago
    They should have to keep hair cut like the males. You want gender equality over every aspect? 1-3 inches, evenly graduated. Or, the males should be able to have long hair. Either, or. Just make it equal.
  • Diego Andrade 74 days ago
    anyone knows Sgt Delamadrid Pablo
    Combat Logistics Battalion 453
    Motor Transport
    who can give me your number to locate please.
  • Diego Andrade 74 days ago
    anyone knows Sgt Delamadrid Pablo
    Combat Logistics Battalion 453
    Motor Transport
    who can give me your number to locate please.
  • Diego Andrade 74 days ago
    anyone knows Sgt Delamadrid Pablo
    Combat Logistics Battalion 453
    Motor Transport who can give me your number to locate please.
  • Smith21 74 days ago
    Any hairstyle that is neat, clean, and does not affect the way your headgear fits should be allowed. There are Twist styles and Dread styles that look neat and professional. African Americans have a different hair type then other ethnicities. Therefore, we wear protective styles to protect our hair. It’s not to be different, but to take the everyday strain off of our hair. Also, I bet half you females are enjoying the white Tips, although we dont need change. Change is happening all around, even putting women into infantry MOS's. Change is going to happen no matter what. So learn to Adapt and overcome Marines!!!
  • Smith21 74 days ago
    Any hairstyle that is neat, clean, and does not affect the way your headgear fits should be allowed. There are Twist styles and Dread styles that look neat and professional. African Americans have a different hair type then other ethnicities. Therefore, we wear protective styles to protect our hair. It’s not to be different, but to take the everyday strain off of our hair. Also, I bet half you females are enjoying the white Tips, although we dont need change. Change is happening all around, even putting women into infantry MOS's. Change is going to happen no matter what. So learn to Adapt and overcome Marines!!!
  • Smith21 74 days ago
    Any hairstyle that is neat, clean, and does not affect the way your headgear fits should be allowed. There are Twist styles and Dread styles that look neat and professional. African Americans have a different hair type then other ethnicities. Therefore, we wear protective styles to protect our hair. It’s not to be different, but to take the everyday strain off of our hair. Also, I bet half you females are enjoying the white Tips, although we dont need change. Change is happening all around, even putting women into infantry MOS's. Change is going to happen no matter what. So learn to Adapt and overcome Marines!!!
  • Smith 74 days ago
    Any hairstyle that is neat, clean, and does not affect the way your headgear fits should be allowed. There are Twist styles and Dread styles that look neat and professional. African Americans have a different hair type then other ethnicities. Therefore, we wear protective styles to protect our hair. It’s not to be different, but to take the everyday strain off of our hair.
  • Haili mcclish 74 days ago
    Twists yes dreds no and allow females to get at least medium regs.
  • Jordan 74 days ago
    Disallow. It would give certian females more options but dreads take time and won't look nice for a few months unless they are fake. Just because there is busted hair in buns does not mean that the twists or locks will look any better.
  • Yatyas 74 days ago
    Females shouldn't be allowed to have buzzed or shaved hair because it is eccentric and non feminine for women which goes against the order..
  • Smitty 74 days ago
    The pictures depicted of the dreads were a horrible choice to use for examples. I have seen both white and black females with dreads who were able to maintain them professionally because they understood how to style them. The picture of the black female in "dreads" actually looked like she was wearing micro braids so it wasn't to bad. I wish the uniform board allowed comments instead of just clicking a decision that they had already made up their minds on. Black females were wearing micros braids and twist for the past 10-15 years and all of a sudden over the past 3 years it has become an issue that borders on discrimination. Black women can't wear their afros, even though this is how their hair naturally grows, so they have developed other ways to deal with what is popular or accepted amongst the majority. In essence it is like telling them that who they are naturally is not accepted and will not be tolerated. That is a horrible place to be in both professionally and while you are fighting for a country that you hold dear to your heart. Can you image going to work everyday having to hide your natural hair under a wig or in braids because it is not considered beautiful, professional, or in keeping with the traditions of the MC? Times change and with those times so should regulations. At the end of the day those of us who elect to wear this uniform will follow and enforce whatever regulation that is written, but I do hope the uniform board considers all of their options before dismissing something so big.
  • Change 74 days ago
    It's about time for a change -- better yet, the change is long overdue. Throughout the regulations it states terms, such as, "faddish," "eccentric," and "exaggerated," and then continues on to talk about braids, twists, and locks -- styles primarily worn by the African-American female Marine. If these styles are placed in a bun, following all other aspects of the regulation (size, diameter, length), why wouldn't they still be considered professional and neat in appearance? These styles have been around for generations and are in no means, "faddish" or "eccentric." The way the order is written, African-American female Marines are not even able to wear their own NATURAL (the hair they were born with) hair if it is short or medium length. The order states no portion of the bulk hair shall extend more than 2 inches from the scalp. African-American hair does not grow down, it grows outward, quickly reaching more than 2 inches. The only way to be within standard is to apply chemical or extreme heat to hair to straighten it to meet these current regulations, or wear a wig.
    The order was written when there was not much diversity within the Corps. Times have changed and it should be updated to reflect that. There are many ways to be "neat and professional in appearance" without taking away all hairstyle options.
  • Change 74 days ago
    It's about time for a change -- better yet, the change is long overdue. Throughout the regulations it states terms, such as, "faddish," "eccentric," and "exaggerated," and then continues on to talk about braids, twists, and locks -- styles primarily worn by the African-American female Marine. If these styles are placed in a bun, following all other aspects of the regulation (size, diameter, length), why wouldn't they still be considered professional and neat in appearance? These styles have been around for generations and are in no means, "faddish" or "eccentric." The way the order is written, African-American female Marines are not even able to wear their own NATURAL (the hair they were born with) hair if it is short or medium length. The order states no portion of the bulk hair shall extend more than 2 inches from the scalp. African-American hair does not grow down, it grows outward, quickly reaching more than 2 inches. The only way to be within standard is to apply chemical or extreme heat to hair to straighten it to meet these current regulations, or wear a wig.
    The order was written when there was not much diversity within the Corps. Times have changed and it should be updated to reflect that. There are many ways to be "neat and professional in appearance" without taking away all hairstyle options.
  • Sgt Mills 74 days ago
    NO!
    What are we becoming another branch of the Army. Walk into the Army base and that is all you see Nastiness.
    Either you have your hair in a bun like they taught you in Boot Camp, Short above your Shoulders(but below your ear lobe). If thats doesn't work for them and they like to have the 1/2 to 3 fade then they need to just abide to the Male regulations of 0 to 3.
  • Josh 74 days ago
    How about the government stop telling the military how to cut their own hair. That would be a good start.
  • Mil Wife 74 days ago
    As a black woman coming from a military family and wife. I say disallow. As others have said this is not a fashion show, most of it to me just looks unruly. I played around with natural hair for a while and honestly I just didn't like it so I went back to straightening my hair. Your hair can be healthy even while using chemicals.
  • adjutant1 74 days ago
    Current hair regulations are not overly strick. There are plenty of options already within current regulations. I have had my hair short before, and it wasn't long enough to make a bun, and I still developed a new way of wearing it to keep it up. I also have extremely curly hair and am able to keep it smooth and slicked back. Recommend keeping regulations as is.
  • SSgt Cissell 75 days ago
    Non-concur. Keep hairstyle as is.
  • smith 75 days ago
    No dreads, no twists
  • Jason 75 days ago
    Keep the restrictions! If you don't like it, then go high n tight!!!!!! WHAT'S FREAKIN NEXT? BEDAZZLING UNIFORMS?!
    JUST FREAKIN BEGIN!!!!
  • bob 75 days ago
    do not allow the twist or dreadlock style. uniformity not individualism.
  • K Rodgers 75 days ago
    Female hair should be limited, in length, to the top of the back of the collar. Also, get rid of the skirts - sexist hold over to days gone by.
  • SSgt A 75 days ago
    1st - concur
    2nd - not concur
    This Shouldn't even be up for debate. Seriously ridiculous. Do the men have options like these? No. We should be grateful we don't have to be 0-3.
  • e. bringas 75 days ago
    That would be a no from me...it does not look well kept at all. They have survived this long...they can continue to wear their hair the way they have been.
  • LMW 75 days ago
    Dreads can get unruly, but twists are organized and can be maintained as well as multiple braids
  • Sgt V 75 days ago
    There hasn't been an issue in the past with the female hair regulation why change them. The male regulation were changed because they were considered eccentric on some types of cuts. I think that the twist, dreads, micro braids whatever you wear are eccentric. When I signed my contract I signed my rights to the USMC to Say I will uphold my contract and orders and regulations that are enforced. As far as hair no need to change it. You signed my contract so you will abide by the rules and regulations that are in place and have been even before you signed. Just my thoughts and opinions
  • mils 75 days ago
    I think people aren't understanding what twists are. They see the word "dreadlocks", the picture Bob Marley and automatically assume that they're nasty and unprofessional. I agree locks are not to be worn in the Marine Corps, but twists should definetly be an option since they're are practically the same as braids (which no one seems to have a problem with), neater and easier to maintain.
  • mils 75 days ago
    Twists not locks. Locks take a while to grow out in order to be put into a bun. Locks are also hard to put into a bun.

    There is no reason twists shouldn't be allowed because they are pretty much braids with two strands. I prefer twist because they're neater, lighter and can be put into a bun much easier than 3 strand braids.
  • Linda (MSgt Ret.) 75 days ago
    Dreadlocks and Twists do not conform to a professional appearance. It is a messy look. Female hairstyles should be perfectly styled. If you are one who had trouble growing or styling your hair, seek a professional who can help.
  • cam 75 days ago
    No twists or braids.
  • cam 75 days ago
    Leave regs as is.
  • Will 75 days ago
    Allow. Twists and locks (or dreads) can be properly maintained and present a professional appearance. Also it is more cost effective and better for overall health of a person’s hair to go with a natural style versus being plastered with chemicals or knotted with braids just to conform. Although we are of the same gun club, we have different make ups and the one size one style fits all is just not feasible in this instance. Good on the Corps for looking into opening up this option.
  • Tara G 75 days ago
    Hello. I suggest these two hairstyles, locs and twists be allowed, both are professional and clean looking. They can be laying flat against the scalp to shoulder length to pulled into a bun style like all the other hair textures of military members, which will not disturb the way a cap is worn.
  • M. Johnson 75 days ago
    Here is how they should wear their hair....Hair will be neat and closely trimmed. The hair may be clipped at the edges of the side and back and will be evenly graduated all the way around the head (blended or faded and not edged as an outline) from zero length at the hairline in the lower portion of the head to the upper portion of the head. Hair will not be over 3 inches in length fully extended (an extended hair, not the style, determines proper length) on the upper portion of the head. The bulk of the hair shall not exceed approximately two inches. Bulk is defined as the distance that the mass of hair protrudes from the scalp when styled. The back and sides of the head below the hairline may be shaved to remove body hair.
  • Castillo 75 days ago
    Idk why women can have a free choice in hair styles but men are subjected to s exist based hair cuts the disallow them from the same hairstyle freedoms as women.
  • mal 75 days ago
    i think we should be allowed to do twists or braids because they help keep hair out of our face. Dreads should definitley not be allowed, they look unprofessional and nasty. A Marine should be allowed to use braids to prevent hair falling in the face.
  • Kat K 75 days ago
    Keep the older regulations- no twists or dreads. The military is not a place to play with your hairdo. Braids are very useful for containing hair when done right, they are all the variety needed in uniform.
  • Amy 75 days ago
    Dreadlocks are a fashion statement. Thus, Daily Marine Life is NOT
    a fashion show.
    On Me, a civilian, and any female of course my hair is beautiful when I buy extensions or do my Bo Derek braids all people look better with more hair. The longer the better. However,
    being a United State Marine is a CHOICE. Do you want hair or do you want to BE A UNITED STATES MARINE?
    All my hair accessories and hair pieces will cause me to Not pay attention. Thus, U. S. Marines Objectives would be 2nd my hair and worrying about my new hair growth coming off and showing my fashion statement would be 1st as a female.
    I would be a terrorist to my unit. My hair would come 1st.
  • JM 75 days ago
    NO! Dread locks will not conform to the clean cut military appearance.
  • Ivlow 75 days ago
    Allow.
  • Chesty Puller 75 days ago
    Neither hairstyle was needed when we made history at the Chosin Reservoir...quit trying to cater to those that think they are special little snowflakes in the name of PC nonsense.

    - Chesty
  • Chesty Puller 75 days ago
    Neither hairstyle was needed when we made history at the Chosin Reservoir...quit trying to cater to those that think they are special little snowflakes in the name of PC nonsense.

    - Chesty
  • D Renar 75 days ago
    Disallow. Should be short for all Marines for sanitary and safety purposes. The Marine Corps is not the place for setting individual fashion statements.
  • Mckee 75 days ago
    No twists or Dreads. If allowed to keep long hair it needs to be pulled completely up and out of the way.
  • Current Active Duty Marine 75 days ago
    Should continue to be disallowed. We have standards for a reason and should not change them just so members can look more fashionable.
  • torres 75 days ago
    It should be allowed because I've seen some busted hair and it would make the females who can wear it have other options because a bun doesn't always work
  • S Chapman 75 days ago
    Disallow twists & dreads. Not military and not clean looking

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