Complying With the Standards

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE -- For military members new to the Air Force or supervisors unfamiliar with grooming standards of their troops of the opposite sex, here’s a primer on Air Force grooming and appearance standards from Air Force Instruction 36-2903. The best rule of thumb in any situation pertaining to uniform, hair, or general military appearance is, when in doubt, seek about. If you’re not sure check the AFI. Male and female hair styles should be clean, groomed, professional in appearance, and natural to the eye. Therefore, excessive amounts of gel, pomade, mousse, or moisturizing lotion for comb overs or other forms of excessive hair manipulation is unacceptable. “Minimum length (of female hair) is one inch, unless approved by the commander upon recommendation from a military treatment facility for medical reasons, to a maximum bulk of three inches from scalp.” according to AFI 36-2903 other female hair guidelines include that the hair must be but are not limited to: --Wigs/ Hairpieces/Extensions are acceptable as long as they comply with the natural hair guidelines listed in the AFI --Hair Nets, worn for safety or health reasons must be conservative in color --Braids and cornrows are authorized but must look natural in color and similar to individual’s hair color --Braids should be uniform in dimension and small in diameter, not to exceed 1 ¼ inch in bulk --Heavily matted coils of hair formed by themselves, eventually fused together to form a single dread; or unkempt, twisted, matted individual parts of hair, shaved head, flat-tops and military high-and-tight cuts are not authorized hairstyles for female Airmen. Both genders hair must be natural in color if dyed, bleached, or tinted, according to the AFI. Male hair guidelines include but are not limited to: --No hair extensions --Sideburns cannot extend past the bottom of the ear orifice, and should be straight and not flared --Mustache should not extend downward past the top lip Complying With the Standards --Beards are not authorized without a medical waiver --Block cuts are acceptable with tapered appearance --A tapered appearance is one that when viewed from any angle outlines the member’s hair so that it conforms to the shape of the head, curving inward to the natural termination point without eccentric directional flow, twists or spiking. No one wants to be singled out, so remember, it is never a good idea to wait until one is in duty status to check the regulations.