JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Female Airmen have new hairstyle options as of Feb. 10, and Basic Military Training instructors are ready to demonstrate and enforce the new hair standards.
Military Training Instructor Master Sgt. Raquel Sanchez understands some Airmen may have difficulty adjusting to the changes, but fortunately, she’ll be instructing new trainees who she believes will benefit from the modifications.
“I’ve been in the Air Force for 14 years, so I’m used to putting my hair up in a bun,” Sanchez said. But Sanchez has encountered trainees who have struggled to groom their hair (within standards) due to lack of experience and skills or having headaches and migraines.
“In addition to the health concerns we have for our Airmen, not all women have the same hair type, and our hair standards should reflect our diverse force,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said in a January article with Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. “I am pleased we could make this important change for our women service members.”
Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Appearance, now defines how Air Force women may wear their hair in two braids or a single ponytail, with some restrictions. What may be most visibly notable about the new hair instruction are women’s braids and ponytails can extend below the uniform collar.
“Personally I don’t see myself wearing this new hairstyle when in OCP or service blues,” Sanchez stated.
But she says she anticipates incoming trainees will easily adapt to this change. By embracing the new standards, while still recommending the prior grooming standards, presents more options for a professional appearance.
The changes resulted from a crowdsourcing campaign that included initiatives from the Air Force uniform board, the Air Force Women’s Initiative Team, and thousands of diverse Airmen of all ranks.
NOTE: The changes will be in effect once the revised AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance, is published.