Navy Announces End to Relaxed Grooming Standards

Navy haircut USS Theodore Roosevelt
U.S. Navy Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Rome Adesiyan gives a haircut to Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Eric Johnson in the barber shop aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, March 29, 2021. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Casey Scoular)

The Navy put an end to relaxed grooming standards this week -- another sign that the branch is moving past many of its COVID-19 measures and back to normalcy.

In March 2020, Navy leaders gave commanding officers authority to temporarily allow sailors to grow out the hair on their head. They still had to shave and keep sideburns within regulations.

However, in an administrative message that went out to the fleet Tuesday, the Navy announced that "the authority granted to commanding officers to optionally relax hair grooming standards is rescinded."

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Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., the chief of naval personnel, approved the change.

The move comes only days after the Navy announced it is resuming its biannual physical fitness assessment program -- another regular facet of sailor life that was put on hold amid the pandemic.

The service typically requires men to keep their hair neat, clean and well-groomed, and no longer than four inches. It also may not touch the ears or collar, or fall below their eyebrows when headgear is removed.

Women, under normal regulations, can have long hair if it doesn't fall below the lower edge of their back collars. Any longer, and it's required to be worn in a bun or ponytail.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at

Related: Navy Eases Up on Grooming Standards to Limit Virus Exposure

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