Navy OKs Cornrows, Other Hairstyles for Female Enlistees

Navy officials have authorized ponytails and other styles for female sailors in working and service uniforms. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)
Navy officials have authorized ponytails and other styles for female sailors in working and service uniforms. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

Female enlistees in the Navy will soon be allowed to wear hairstyles such as dreadlocks, ponytails and options that fall below the collar in certain uniforms.

The military.com site had reported that some Black female service members had complained about the Navy’s hairstyle regulations, saying they’d resorted to wearing a wig to meet its standards.

The changes, aimed at increasing the inclusiveness of the Navy, were approved this week by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bob Burke. They will also allow hairstyles that hit beneath shirt, dress or jacket collars for dinner-dress uniforms.

Previously, female sailors with hair below the collar were limited to buns, braids or cornrows, and ponytails were allowed only in physical training uniforms, according to Military.com.

Richardson additionally approved a measure last year that allows female sailors wearing ball caps to wear their bun through the hat’s opening rather than beneath it.

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