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Army Beard Regulations 2023 | AR 670-1 Beards Policy 2024

The Army Beard Regulations do not allow soldiers to have beards, as highlighted in AR 670-1 (Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia).

Below are the critical points from AR 670-1 Beard Regulations:

  • Male soldiers must keep their faces clean and shaven when in uniform or civilian clothes on duty.
  • The Army allows soldiers to have mustaches. However, they must keep them neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy, and they cannot extend beyond the corners of the mouth.
  • A soldier can have a sideburn, but it cannot extend below the bottom opening of the ear. It must also be trimmed in a horizontal line and cannot be flared.

Exceptions for Medical Conditions

  • Army AR 670-1 beard regulations allow soldiers with a condition known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, which results in severe skin irritations when shaving, to maintain a beard of a specified length.
  • This is called having an Army Shaving Profile, which means you can have facial hair with certain limitations of the AR 670-1 Hair Regulations.
  • The length should be no more than 1/4 inch, and the requirement can vary depending on the severity of the condition.
Medical ConditionAllowed Beard Length
Pseudofolliculitis BarbaeUp to 1/4 inch

Religious Accommodations

  • The United States Army may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis for soldiers whose religious beliefs require maintaining a beard.
  • These accommodations are rare historically, but the Army has recently become more accommodating and open to granting them.

Reasons to Allow Beards in the Army in 2024

These are the top three reasons it’s time to allow beards in the army.

International Precedent

  • Almost all of our coalition partners allow beards. Notable examples include the British, Canadians, and Germans.
  • Beards aren’t unprofessional—beards project power and strength.

Myth Debunked: Beards and Gas Masks

  • The argument that you can’t see your gas mask with a beard has been debunked.
  • Even if there is some truth, most of us only go to the gas chamber once in our careers, at the very beginning.
  • If a unit insists on annual gas chamber certification, then temporary shaving is a small price to pay. 
  • Soldiers could simply regrow their beards afterward.

Personal Preference

  • The last reason I have is selfish, but I just look damn good with a beard. 
  • Many soldiers simply look better with a beard. A beard can be more than just a style choice. However, for some, it’s a critical part of their self-image and personal style.

Army AR 670-1 Beard Balance

AR 670-1 Beard Regulation
AR 670-1 Beard Regulation

Waivers for Religious Reasons

The United States Army has made provisions to allow for exceptions to the no-beard rule for religious reasons.

  • In 2027, the Army expanded its AR 670-1 beard regulation, allowing soldiers to request waivers to maintain their beards for genuine religious beliefs.
  • This policy expansion is meant to accommodate the Sikh members of the Army who do not traditionally cut their hair or beards, as well as the Muslim community members who consider beards a part of their faith.
  • It’s worth noting that the approval of these beard waivers is not guaranteed and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Limitations for Safety and Tactical Reasons

  • The Army reserves the right to require a soldier to shave his beard for safety or tactical reasons, even when a soldier has already been granted a waiver for medical or religious reasons.
  • For example, it’s well known that beards will interfere with properly fitting gas masks and other protective equipment, while in combat.

Neat and Conservative Appearance

  • All soldiers allowed to wear a beard in the Army must keep it neat and well-trimmed and not style it in a faddish, stupid, outrightly inappropriate manner.

Professional Military Judgment

  • Army commanders are responsible for determining the appropriateness of a particular appearance in their units
  • The commander has the authority to take the appropriate disciplinary action if they deem a soldier’s appearance detrimental to the unit’s discipline and effectiveness, even when in compliance with Army Regulation 670-1.

These three points are important in outlining the balance the Army is trying to strike between respecting their soldiers’ personal and religious beliefs and the operational needs of the military service.

George N.