For the first time in since March of 2014 , the Army has changed its grooming standards for both males and females.
According to 1st Sgt. April Busald, many of the regulations were updated due to request from the soldiers and medical related reasons.
“It was due to females wanting to have their own sense of identity,” said Busald. “And still be able to be a female and a feminine soldier in a male dominant profession, but we can still do those things professionally.”
Some of the updated regulations for female soldiers now include being able to wear natural color highlights, nude lipsticks or tinted lip-gloss and a pony tail or braids versus the standard low bun. As well, there is no longer a minimum length for female hair requirements and they are allowed to wear earrings.
“You can still be very disciplined with the changes they have implemented and you still can be very professional,” said Busald.
Though nail polish, new hairstyle and colors are authorized, there are still limits on the types of colors for both. The colors are clearly stated in the regulations such as no hot pink, green, purple, ombre, etc. for hair or nail colors allowed.
The standards can also be subject to change based on the commander’s instruction if it may cause danger to the soldier.
The new regulations authorize natural hair highlights and clear nail polish for males. Standards for the male soldiers have not been updated as much as the females, though if enough male soldiers desire revision to their standards that could be obtainable.
“If they had enough request and enough evidence to support their request,” said Busald. “Whether it was medical or whether it was personal in terms of emotional or physically enabling them in any which way and they could articulate them up to the higher chain and could get enough people to do it, I don’t see why the same standards couldn’t have changed for the males as well.”
Like any other organization there are rules, regulations and standards that need to be upheld in order for operations to run smoothly and be in the organization’s best interest. If change is desired there are policies to go about obtaining that change.
“We are an Army of change and if you can articulate why these changes should be made and have enough people and supporting documentation to do that, then we should be able to adjust that to the masses if that is a change they want and desire and it doesn’t really hurt anything else in terms of having those changes,” said Busald. “It doesn’t hurt us in conducting our everyday needs to be able to wear nail polish, or to wear earrings, or to wear a single ponytail, that doesn’t change how a soldier is able to execute their daily duties and responsibilities.”