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New Army Grooming Standards 2023

New Army Grooming Standards
New Army Grooming Standards

Understanding Army grooming and appearance standards is essential when considering a career in the United States Army or just enlisting.

  • It’s not just about discipline; it’s about representing the values and traditions of the institution. 
  • Here, we dive deep into Army grooming, detailing what you need to know.

Army Hair Grooming Standards

The Army’s hair grooming standards ensure that every soldier presents a neat and soldierly appearance. 

These rules exist not only for aesthetic purposes but also for safety, hygiene, and uniformity.

Haircut Standards for Men:

  • Length and Taper: The hair on the head must be neatly groomed. The length, in any direction, must not be longer than two inches.
  • Sideburns: They should not extend below the bottom of the ear opening. They should be trimmed in a clean horizontal line.
  • Bulk: The bulk of your hair, when styled, should not exceed more than two inches, ensuring your headgear fits appropriately.

Haircut Standards for Women:

  • Length: You can have long hair, but it should be neatly arranged so it doesn’t fall over the eyebrows or extend below the bottom edge of the collar.
  • Tight buns are usually preferred to ensure the hair is not caught up in the equipment.
  • Braids and twists are allowed, but they should be conservative and conform to the shape of the head.

Facial Hair Grooming Standards

The Army recognizes that personal grooming standards contribute significantly to the discipline and image of any military unit. As such, there are strict guidelines on facial hair for soldiers.

  • General Rule: In the United States Army, facial hair is generally not permitted, with a few exceptions.


  • Sideburns are permitted but cannot extend below the ear opening and have other specific length and styling requirements.
  • Their length must not exceed 1/8 inch when fully extended.
  • Avoid styles that “taper, flair, or come to a point.”


  • Beards are generally not allowed unless a medical or religious waiver exists.
  • Soldiers with approved exceptions must keep beards neatly trimmed and tidy, ensuring they do not interfere with military equipment or operations.


  • Mustaches are allowed but must be neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy. No part can cover the upper lip or extend beyond specific lines near the mouth and nose.

Army Piercing Policy and Standards

Body adornments often make a statement about personal identity. However, in the Army, the focus is on unity and commonality.

  • General Rule: Strict guidelines are in place. 
  • Male Soldiers: Piercings are not allowed for male soldiers in uniform.
  • Female Soldiers: Allowed one small, spherical earring in each ear lobe in uniform, but it must adhere to specific standards. These earrings should not dangle below the earlobe.

Other Grooming Standards:

While hair and piercings might be the most noticeable, numerous other grooming regulations ensure soldiers are always presentable and professional.


  • Females are permitted to wear makeup, but it should be applied modestly, ensuring a natural and professional appearance.


  • Male soldiers must keep their nails clean and neatly trimmed. They should not extend beyond the fingertip.
  • Female soldiers can have longer fingernails, up to a length of 1/4 inch from the fingertip. But commanders can ask them to be trimmed if they pose a risk.


  • Female soldiers can wear lipstick shades that are in harmony with the lips’ natural color and do not detract from the uniform.

Nail Polish

  • Male soldiers are allowed to use clear nail polish.
  • Females can wear nail polish in uniform; it should be a conservative color that complements the uniform. Acrylic nails are permissible if they maintain a natural appearance.

Cologne and Fragrance:

  • Both male and female soldiers should ensure that any fragrance worn is not overpowering, maintaining a professional demeanor at all times.

Army Tattoos Grooming Standards

While the United States Army has become more lenient with tattoo policies over the years, there are still restrictions:

  • Tattoos on the neck, face, and hands, except for one ring tattoo per hand, are prohibited.
  • Sleeve tattoos on arms or legs are allowed but must not be offensive or extremist.
  • Soldiers are prohibited from having tattoos that are sexist, racist, or extremist.
  • General Rule: Check the full article on the Army Tattoo Policy for detailed information.


When I first joined the United States Army, the strict grooming standards were an adjustment. However, over time, I came to understand their significance. 

  • When you wear the uniform, a sense of pride comes with it. 
  • The discipline instilled by adhering to these standards isn’t just about appearance; it’s about unity, dedication, and commitment to our values as soldiers. 
  • As I look at the mirror each day, readying myself for duty, the reflection isn’t just of me but of the countless soldiers before me who upheld these traditions and values.
  • Always remember, as we often say, that discipline begins with appearance. For any nuances or further details, always consult AR 670-1, the go-to regulation for the wear and appearance of Army uniforms and insignia.

Remember, each time you wear your uniform and ensure you meet the Army’s grooming standards, you represent yourself, the entire Army, and its storied history.

Stay sharp, soldier!

George N.