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Can You Dye Your Hair in the Military? What Hair Colors Are Allowed?

A black female soldier in uniform with naturally curly long hair wearing a ponytail that aligns with grooming standards.

The military is unlike any other organization, and being a part of it requires discipline and the ability to follow the rules and regulations. So, with all the regulations in place, can you dye your hair in the military?

Can You Dye Your Hair in the Military?

You can dye your hair in the United States military. However, hair colors are limited solely to natural hair colors. Unnatural or eccentric colors are strictly prohibited. For example, purple, blue, pink, green, orange, bright neon colors, and any other unnatural colors are not allowed.

Additionally, highlights are also allowed in the military, provided the look is natural. Your hair color needs to align with a professional military appearance. However, your overall appearance and hair must align with the military’s regulations. Read on to find out more.

Confident African American soldier wearing regulation gear authorized and issued by the military.

There can be some murky waters surrounding what is considered “natural.” This is because soldiers are expected to use their judgment to determine whether or not a hair color is appropriate.

Nevertheless, some guidelines might help you determine if your hair color is acceptable or not. If your hair color detracts from a professional military appearance or results in an extreme appearance, you can be confident that your hair color is not allowed.

So, now that we’ve got that all clear, what about highlights? Surprisingly, the military also allows you to dye your hair with highlights

So you can safely get that balayage hairdo you have been dying to get and pinning on your Pinterest board. But, again, highlights are only allowed if it results in a natural appearance.

So high contrasting colors will not be permitted. If you opt for highlights or something of the sort, choose low contrasting colors that will result in a very natural look.

Overall, if you follow what is permitted regarding dyed hair in the regulations, you should be in the clear. But if you are still uncertain, inquire with a leader or superior regarding what color you wish to dye your hair and if it is acceptable.

Should You Dye Your Hair in the Military?

African American U.S. Army officer wearing standard camouflage pants and a green shirt.

Dying your hair is a personal preference, and no requirements force female soldiers to dye their hair. So if you would like to dye your hair, you are more than welcome to if you comply with the army’s guidelines.

But it may be more helpful to consider if it is worth dying your hair first. For instance, soldiers are often extremely busy.

As such, finding time to dye your hair (and maintain a unique hair color) might be a challenge. Remember that having visible regrowth after a certain amount of new growth is prohibited.

As a result, you will need to maintain your hair color constantly. This is especially true for those of you whose hair grows extremely fast.

There may be exceptions to the rule of regrowth, though, especially if your dyed hair color and natural hair color are similar. But if there is a noticeable difference, maintenance of hair color is required to maintain a professional look. In the end, the choice to dye your hair is up to you.

However, some may have difficulty maintaining the hair color if they have a lot of additional commitments. So consideration of your schedule may be a helpful factor in deciding whether to dye your hair or not.

What Hairstyles Are You Allowed to Wear in the Army?

Black lady wearing a sleek ponytail that aligns with the military's guidance for female soldiers.

Since many countries have their own regulations regarding what is appropriate, it is hard to say what hairstyles are allowed in the military.

Nevertheless, some countries may require females to wear their hair in a professional bun at certain times. Furthermore, the United States used to be among the countries that mandated buns, but not anymore. 

The US army has changed its regulations of what hairstyles are appropriate. So, instead of only allowing buns, women can now wear their hair in a single ponytail, a single braid, or two braids.

These hairstyles are a big step in the army’s regulations and show that the army is evolving. 

There is one thing to note, though. The length of the ponytail or braids should not be longer than the bottom of the shoulder blades when the soldier is standing straight up.

So if you would like to wear braids or ponytails, keeping your hair at the right length is a must.

All hairstyles should be neatly groomed and of a professional standard. So having an “I just woke up” kind of look to your hair will not cut it.

If you need help deciding if your hair appearance will be tolerated, think of a corporate environment and what kind of hair will be expected there. 

Additionally, those in the army are not to have any designs cut into their hair or shaved portions of their scalp. So, if you follow a professional guideline on groomed appearances for your hair, you should be fine.

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Dying your hair is permitted. However, you need to make sure you follow the army’s regulations and guidelines when it comes to coloring your hair. Nonetheless, when it comes to your hair, it is best to keep a professional and groomed appearance in the army.