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NEWS | April 6, 2011

"Diamond Compliance Corner" - week of Apr. 8 - Apr. 15

By Master Sgt. Micheal J. Morgan 779th Aeorspace Medicine/Dental Squadrons

Have you ever walked by a female Airman and questioned yourself "Does that hairdo comply with standards?" Many times an Airmen, and especially male Airmen, walk by what is perceived to be a female Airman with non-compliant hair. A majority of the time, because we don't know the standards on women's hair, we do not attempt to correct her because we don't know what the standard is ourselves. We turn a blind eye to a perceived fad or hairstyle that violates the Air Force Instruction because we are not informed. This week's compliance corner addresses female hair and how it can and cannot be worn.

Table 1.5 on page 12-13 of AFI 36-2903 addresses women's hair and it states:
Women's hair must have a minimum length of one inch and is not to exceed three inches in bulk. It will not prevent the proper wear of headgear, including a helmet or chemical mask. It will be clean, neat and well groomed and it will not contain excessive amounts of grooming aids. A female's hair will not touch her eyebrows and her hair color, or highlights, will not be faddish.

Exceptions are for women are in which their hair may be visible in front of their flight cap. It must be styled to present a professional appearance and they may use conservative hairpins, combs, headbands, elastic bands and barrettes in their hair. But, hairpins and bands must match hair in color. Long hair will be secured with no loose ends. Pony tails have to be pulled completely through the band and will not extend below the bottom of the collar.

Bangs, if worn, will not touch the eyebrows.

Braids, micro-braids and cornrows are authorized. However, they must be a solid color that is similar to the individual's own hair color and must be conservative and not faddish in style.

Women's hair will not be worn in an extreme or fad style or violate safety requirements.
It will not extend below the bottom edge of the shirt collar regardless of length and will not include hair ornaments such as ribbons, beads, jeweled pins, or hair scrunchies.
Women may also not wear shaved heads, military high-and-tights or flat-top haircuts.
The bottom line: the standard on women's hair is that we don't want female hair to give a negative image of our service or prevent the proper wear of headgear or violate health and safety standards.

Women's hair standard is just like any other standard for Dress and Appearance; it's a standard! As Airmen, it's our responsibility to stay informed and correct violations of standards. It's my hope that after reading this note about women's hair you are better educated to go out and correct those perceived violations you notice.