U.S. Army loosens grooming restrictions for soldiers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Army has made the executive decision to loosen restrictions on personal grooming and hairstyle rules, particularly for female soldiers.
The regulations, which were changed in part to accommodate women of various ethnicities, include more flexibility for earrings, nail color, hair color and styles. The usual tight bun most women with long hair are used to wearing can now be let down into a ponytail or braid, and tucked into the back of their shirt.
Health and safety were also factors that leaders considered before making the changes. Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders told reporters that tight hair buns can trigger hair loss and scalp problems for some women, and larger buns for those with thick hair can cause combat helmets not to fit properly.
Sgt. Sanders added, "At the end of the day, our women are mothers, they're spouses, they're sisters, they definitely want to be able to maintain their identity and that’s what we want to get after."
The rules are not only exclusive to females.
Male soldiers cannot wear earrings or have facial hair, but they are allotted to wear clear nail polish. Men may also dye their hair, but just like female soldiers, they have to stick to natural colors.
“These aren’t about male and female,” said Sgt. Sanders. “This is about an Army standard and how we move forward with the Army, and being a more diverse, inclusive team.”