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June 14, 2021

USAF revises guidance on female hair grooming standards

The new update to ‘Air Force Instruction 36-2903’ will address differences in hair density and texture.

The US Air Force (USAF) has officially updated its regulations governing hair grooming standards for women, which is set to take effect on 25 June.

The ‘Air Force Instruction 36-2903’ has been revised to cover hair density and texture differences.

In the earlier regulation, hair worn in a bun, braid, ponytail or another similar hairstyle ‘could not extend beyond the width of the head’.

However, the latest guidance allows women’s hair to extend further when it is secured behind the head.

According to the latest Air Force Instruction, women’s hair will be allowed to extend to a total width of 12in, or 6in each side from the centre of the head, and 6in protruding from the point where the hair is gathered.

US Air Force chief staff general CQ Brown said: “Change doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes it takes another iteration to arrive at the best solution.

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“This updated guidance represents meaningful progress. The feedback we received from our airmen highlighted the need to re-evaluate the policy and ultimately, make it more inclusive.”

Changes are based on the feedback received from female airmen since the earlier guidance was originally published.

In the feedback, women raised concerns associated with the difficulty of ‘securing hair in a manner that does not extend beyond the head’.

US Air Force chief master sergeant JoAnne Bass said: “Whether we’re talking about hair, uniforms or forums for sharing ideas, an approach that embraces diversity and fosters an inclusive environment is critical to ensuring our talented, dedicated airmen stay with us on this journey.”

The USAF grooming standards will be applicable to guardians until the US Space Force (USSF) comes up with its own regulation.

USAF stated that additional ideas generated from the airforce uniform board are still under consideration for policy change.

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