Army approves ponytails for female soldiers in all uniforms

WASHINGTON — Ponytails are OK for women soldiers.

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The U.S. Army on Thursday updated its grooming policy, allowing female soldiers to wear ponytails in all authorized uniforms. It expands a revised policy on grooming standards announced by Army officials in January, CNN reported.

In late January, the Army announced revised guidance on grooming standards after a review of its policies, officials said in a news release. The new standards, which went into effect in February, were changed after Army officials received feedback from soldiers.

“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,” Army spokesperson Sgt. Maj. Brian C. Sanders, the Army’s top noncommissioned officer for uniform policy, said in a news release. “This change also helps to alleviate hair loss and damage to the scalp.”

According to Army officials, the key changes in the updated policy include:

  • Hair must 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.

The one exception to the revised policy is that a soldier’s hair length cannot “hinder a soldier’s performance or present a safety risk.”

“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 in the news release.