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How to Get the Navy's New Female Hair Regs Right, in 5 Photos

Locks must continue from the root to the end of the hair in one direction and should encompass the whole head. Locks partings must be square or rectangle in shape. (Image: NMCCL Public Affairs)
Locks must continue from the root to the end of the hair in one direction and should encompass the whole head. Locks partings must be square or rectangle in shape. (Image: NMCCL Public Affairs)

The Navy approved several new hairstyles for female sailors last month, but leaders are still cautioning women to "police" themselves when it comes to where they might sport the new 'dos.

Ponytails, locks (or locs) and wider buns are all allowed under the new female grooming standards, The new rules were announced on July 10, and Navy officials have released photos of the newly approved regs so female sailors can get the looks right.

Even if they're within regs though, female sailors need to aware of their environments, Capt. Jeffrey Timby, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, said in a news release accompanying the photos. If the women work predominantly around Marines, for example, they should be mindful of their sister service's regulations.

"What I would say to everyone is to self-regulate when it comes to these new standards," Timby said. "... As members of the military, it's our responsibility to police ourselves and watch out for others."

Here's a look at what women need to keep in mind.

Mind the collar

The end of the braid or ponytail may extend up to three inches below the lower edge of the collar of the shirt, jacket or coat. (U.S. Navy/Riley Eversull)

Ponytails and single braids can now be worn in service, working and PT uniforms. Make sure they don't extend more than 3 inches below the lower edge of the collar of the shirt, jacket or coat though.

And if there are operational hazards, hair should be fully secured.

Regs for locks

Locks must continue from the root to the end of the hair in one direction and should encompass the whole head. Locks partings must be square or rectangle in shape. (U.S. Navy/Riley Eversull)

Partings for locks must be square or rectangle in shape and must continue from the root to the end of the hair. If worn loose, they can't be more than 3/8 of an inch apart and must be tightly interlaced.

No zig-zag patterns or new growth beyond half an inch are permitted.

Broader buns

The expanded policy is that the width or diameter of the hair bun will not exceed or extend beyond the width of the back of the head. (U.S. Navy/Riley Eversull)

Buns can now span the entire width of the back of a sailor's head. That allows women with longer or thicker hair to get beyond the previous 3-inch limit.

Forward-facing rules

Similar to a ponytail, the initial accessory of a French braid or single braid will not be visible when facing forward. (U.S. Navy/Riley Eversull)

Anytime a sailor is facing forward, their ponytails, or braids should not be visible from the front. They must also be able to wear proper safety equipment.

--Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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