More than a year after the Pentagon released a statement outlining revised regulations for female soldiers, the Marine Corps Uniform Board has also announced new set of guidelines for female marines’ hair that is inclusive of natural hairstyles.
The U.S. Military faced heavy criticism in early 2014 after images from a then recently released handbook showed that most natural hairstyles were explicitly outlawed for women serving the military. The images also demonstrated the approval of straightened hair, wigs, weaves, and other styles that can often be expensive and labor-intensive for female soldiers.
According to the new guidelines,
Only braids and twists may be “secured” to the scalp (hair is continually added to the braid or twist as it continues to the hairline at the nape of the neck). This must follow the contour of the head from front to nape in one direction. Individual braids, twists, and locks can be no more than 3/8-inch apart, cannot be more than 3/8-inch in diameter, and must remain tightly interlaced/twisted. New growth, which is defined as hair that naturally grows from the scalp and has not yet been braided, twisted or locked, cannot exceed ½-inch at any time.
Locks, multiple braids, and multiple twist hairstyles must encompass the whole head (with the exception of bangs. Mixing of styles is not allowed, and foreign material cannot be incorporated into or attached onto the hair.
The new announcement makes the Marine Corps the first branch of the U.S. Military to allow locs. These new guidelines will be officially added to the Marine Corps Uniform Board’s website next month.