15.  I'm a female and want to keep my hair long.  May I?  Can you tell me about tattoos and body piercing?

I  do get many, many questions from females who ask if they can keep their long hair.  If you are a male, it is a given, you will get a close shorn haircut.  In BT, your first cut will be a whole head of peach fuzz.  After that, you may see what's called a high and tight (closer to graduation).  This haircut is a bit longer up top, but don't count on it!  For females, I highly recommend that you cut your hair, either before you go or at the reception station.  The rule is that your hair (no matter how long) must not fall below the bottom edge of your collar.  It can also not hang in your face (ie also no long bangs).  My favorite haircut is a short bob that hangs just above your collar.  It's still long enough to brush, plus you can use a barrette or rubber band to pull back the sides out of your face.  One thing you have to remember, is your hair will grow back.  Once you get out of BT and AIT, you'll have more time for haircare and will be able to spend more time with it.  Time is a luxury in BT! 

If you choose to keep your long hair, keep in mind that you will ALWAYS have to braid it.  If you are out of your bunk and not on your way to the shower, it will have to be up.  I don' t care if you are actively training or not.  If in ANY military uniform, you will wear it up.  What I've seen that works best, are French braids.  They have a tendency to stay up better.  Remember, you will be wearing not only your everyday headgear every time you are outside but also a Kevlar helmet and a gas mask.  If you wear a bun or have something else sticking out the back of your head, your headgear will not fit properly.  You'll also get a tremendous headache from the pressure of a bun on the back of your head.  Plus, as the day goes along, you'll have flyaway pieces of hair coming out, and it'll be unsightly.  It's just not worth the trouble!  I cannot tell you the number of young females I had who suffered from constant headaches and did not know why.  When I sent them to the beauty shop, it was a miraculous transformation..no headaches and their attitudes improved also

As far as body piecercing and tattoos.  The Army has some very strict policies about these, and in fact the tattoo policy was just updated.  Follow the links below to read the official policies.

Army Tattoo Policy  ( the reference is AR 670-1, which can be accessed on the Regulations & Manuals Page)

Body Piercing Policy (same reference  as above)

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