MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz --
As of Aug. 23, new grooming standards and regulations went into effect, detailed in Marine Administrative Message (Mar-Admin) 504/07. The new regulations aimed at better defining what Marines of both genders are authorized regarding grooming and appearance in and out of uniform.
The new regulations shed light on issues that have not been addressed, said Ron Sloan, program analyst for the Marine Corps uniform board.
“Some issues were not divided between the genders,” Sloan said. “We aim to lend more explanation and minimize the window of interpretation so [Marines] can make the best possible decisions.”
The Marine Corps uniform board collectively generates ideas and policies, which are in turn submitted to the commandant, who refines, changes, or denies the policies as he sees fit.
Among the changes to the regulations regarding everything from accessories and eye wear, to makeup, but the most significant changes, or refinements, lie in the category of hair regulations, for both males and females. A notable change to the male regulations is in regards to three styles of haircuts.
The “horseshoe,” named for the hair forming a “U” shape, with the rest of the head shaved, is not authorized, nor is the “teardrop,” which is a shaved head, save a small amount of hair at the front of the skull. The “mohawk,” which is a shaved head, except for a strip of hair down the center of the head, is also prohibited.
To better define the regulations of the male haircut, the hair must conform to the natural shape of the head without eccentric directional flow, twists or spiking.
Braiding of the hair is not authorized for male Marines.
Hair gel or mousse should provide a conservative, natural appearance. Hair color, in reference to dyes, tints, bleaches and frostings, that result in natural colors are authorized. The hair color also must compliment the complexion of the Marine, and must not detract from professional appearance. Sideburns may not extend below the top orifice of the ear, and may not be styled, or come to a point.
The bulk of a male Marine’s hair may not exceed two inches, to mean that the length of styled hair, protruding from the scalp, may not be longer than two inches, opposed to the previously accepted three inches.
For female Marines, hair regulations have been grouped into three categories; short, medium, and long hair length.
Short hair length is defined as a haircut with the length of no more than one inch, not to include bangs. The hair may be no shorter than 1/4 of an inch, but can be evenly graduated to within two inches of the hair line.
Medium hair is defined as hair that does not extend past the collar’s lower edge of all uniforms, and extends no more than one inch from the scalp.
Medium hair styles are not required to be secured while in uniform, and graduated hairstyles are authorized, only if the graduation does not exceed more than one inch in length, from front to back. The bulk of the hair with a medium hairstyle will not exceed more than two inches.
Long hairstyles are defined as hair that extends below the lowest edge of the collar. Long hair must be neatly and inconspicuously pinned, with no visible barrettes. The regulations also state bangs may be worn when hair is pinned up. Visible barrettes and unsecured ponytails are only authorized for physical training. Bangs, for all hair lengths, may not fall into the line of sight, nor interfere with the wear of headgear, and must lie neatly against the head
when headgear is worn.
Aside from regulations focused on hairstyles, the new standards detail the use of accessories, such as cell phones, jewelry, tobacco products, and personal bags. The regulations regarding these items have not changed, but were refined to eliminate any confusion, and maintain customs and courtesies, said Sloan.
Marines are prohibited from using cell phones, to include the use of a ear devices, as well as tobacco products while walking in uniform. Any bag that is not issued gear is to be carried in hand, not worn on the shoulders.
Motorcyclists or bicyclists may not wear personal bags while riding in uniform, but can attach
said bag to their vehicle. Issued bags may be worn while riding motorcycle or bicycle in uniform.
Jewelry is authorized to wear in all uniforms, but commanders may deem the removal of jewelry
necessary for safety or tactical reasons. Rings that are inconspicuous in appearance are permitted to be worn in all uniforms, and only one ring is to be worn per hand, and no rings are authorized to be worn on the thumbs. Wedding and engagement rings may be worn on one finger to count as one ring.
Any necklaces worn in uniform may not be visible, including the chain. The standards for earrings are synonymous in uniform and civilian attire. Male Marines are not permitted to wear any earrings, and female Marines are authorized to wear one earring per ear, but never in combat utilities.
Dental ornamentation with the use of gold or platinum caps, permanent or otherwise, is not
Eye wear, to include corrective lenses and sunglasses must be conservative and inconspicuous in
design. No ribbons, bands, or chains are permitted to be attached to eye wear, unless authorized for safety purposes.
Sunglasses are authorized for wear on leave, liberty, and in garrison, but not in formation, unless otherwise noted by commander or medical authority.
Any logos or insignias on eye wear must be subtle and inconspicuous in nature. Sunglass lenses
must be of a standard green, black, or brown shade, and are never to be worn indoors.
Although this is the third reform made to Marine Corps regulations since Gen. James Conway
became the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps, following the new tattoo regulations and the standardized camouflage utility seasonal wear, Sloan said no more are in the foreseeable future.
“I think some regulations can take away things that define us,” said Pvt. Randall Ball, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron financial technician. “A Marine can be just as professional with a tattoo or a horseshoe haircut.”
“With the current war being the main focus of the Marine Corps, I think maybe as a whole, we’ve lost sight of other issues, such as our image,” said Master Sgt. Ruben Sotelo, station administration chief. “Marines don’t like change, but it’s necessary, and we need it, in order to evolve, and present the very best image of the Marine Corps we can. Perception is a big thing. We want to put forward a good image in and out of uniform,” said Sotelo.