(KUTV) — Female soldiers in the U.S. Army can let their hair down a little.
The Army announced Thursday that it has updated a policy that permits female soldiers to wear ponytails in all authorized U.S. Army uniforms. They will be allowed to be worn in the center of the back of all uniforms but no longer than the bottom of shoulder blades.
“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,” said Sgt. Maj. Brian C. Sanders, Army G-1 Uniform Policy Branch Sergeant Major. “This change also helps to alleviate hair loss and damage to the scalp.”
A Department of Defense-mandated review on grooming standards led to a February revision. The Army announced, "Through feedback from the Force resulting in a clear, consolidated policy recommendation from a group of Soldiers, the Army reconsidered and approved the wear of ponytails."
The Army previously approved healthier hairstyle options that include more natural styles in an effort to stop hair damage and hair loss from styles like the bun.
"Grooming and pride in one’s uniform directly impacts discipline and personal readiness, which affects unit readiness," the Army said on its webpage.
The changes state:
- Hair will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or secured in either a bun, single ponytail, two braids or a single braid.
- Multiple locs, braids, twists or cornrows may come together in one or two braids or a single ponytail.
- Braids and singular ponytails may be worn down the center of the back in all uniforms, but length will not extend past the bottom of the shoulder blades while at the position of attention. There is no minimum length for the wear of a ponytail or braid.
- If the hair hinders a soldier's performance or presents a safety risk hair length or style can be an exception change.
“Commanders will analyze the risk of a free hanging ponytail or braid and use commander’s discretion to determine if long hair will be secured or tucked inside the uniform top,” Sanders said.
Changes are available at: armypubs.army.mil/Publications/Administrative/POG/SA.aspx.