WASHINGTON — The 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller approved lock and twist hairstyles in uniform, Dec. 14, 2015.
The results of Uniform Board 214 and 215 were released as part of Marine Administrative Message 622/15.
“The Marine Corps works tirelessly every day to get better and to find areas for refinement or improvement,” said Col. Christian F. Wortman, the president of the uniform board. “Uniform Regulations are no different.”
In 2014, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the military branches review their hairstyle policies. During this review, the proposed addition of locks and twists was initiated by Staff Sgt. Cherle Wright.
Wright, a supply chief with II Marine Expeditionary Force, submitted a recommendation letter with the proposed changes to her command. From there, her proposal grew to a discussion and a survey, until she was briefing then Commandant Gen. James Amos about her proposal.
“While briefing Marines, my focus was about awareness and professionalism,” said Wright. “Once the information and facts were presented, the perceptions of many Marines changed.”
Lock and twist hairstyles are authorized as long as they are neat and maintain a professional military image. The hairstyles must be secured with no hair exceeding the bottom edge of the collar and not have bulk, other than the bun, exceeding two inches from the scalp. Hairstyles must not interfere with the wear of covers.
“These changes were made to provide additional options to our female Marines that are professional in appearance, easier for some of our female Marines to maintain in an expeditionary environment, and less costly and time consuming to maintain than some currently approved options,” said Wortman.
A lock is defined as a section of hair that is twisted at or near the root of the hair to the end of the hair and may be worn with short, medium or long hair.
A twist is defined as two sections of hair twisted together to form a rope-like appearance and may be worn with medium and long-length hair.
A braid is defined as three or more sections of hair interlaced and may be worn with medium and long hair.
When worn loose, the individual locks, twists or braids will be no more than three-eighths an inch in diameter and be no more than three-eighths an inch apart. When worn secured, the twist or braid will be no more than three-eighths an inch in diameter. Mixing of hairstyles is not authorized.
For additional information, reference the standards provided in paragraph 10047.b of Marine Corps Order P1020.34G change 5. An instructional video is also available at the youtube link.
For Marines interested in submitting a uniform recommendation, they can do so by submitting a naval letter through their chain of command to CMC (MCUB), 2200 Lester Street, Quantico, VA 22134.