Cadet Grooming Standards

Below is the cadet grooming standards taken directly from Chapter 7!


7.9. (Change) Personal Grooming Standards. This chapter outlines personal grooming while wearing any Air Force uniform. SASI’s discretion may be used to determine if individual’s personal grooming is within standards of this instruction. The personal grooming standards listed are minimum standards that represent common appearance issues and are not all-inclusive. Although Cadets have the right, within established limits, to express their individuality through their appearance, the Air Force has defined what is and what is not an acceptable, professional military image for Cadets. Except for minor variations based on gender differences, all Air Force Junior ROTC cadets must comply with the same personal grooming standards. SASIs/ASIs have the responsibility to determine compliance with this instruction and to correct the obvious violations regardless of whether the situation identified is clearly written in this instruction. SASIs do not have authority to waive grooming and appearance standards except as identified in this instruction.

7.9.1. (Change) Hair-male and female. Will be clean, well-groomed, present a professional appearance, allow proper wear of headgear. Will not contain excessive amounts of grooming aids (e.g., gel, mousse, pomade, or moisturizer), appear lopsided, touch either eyebrow (Exception: female bangs), or end below an imaginary line across the forehead at the top of the eyebrows that is parallel to the ground. If applied, dyes, tints, bleaches and frostings must result in natural hair colors. Examples of natural hair colors are brown, blonde, brunette, natural red or black. All Cadets are authorized to wear natural color hair regardless of their natural born hair color, but when combined or frosted, the colors must blend together so as to not present an unnatural appearance between colors. For example, hair colors may be displayed as a “salt-and-pepper” look as this presents a naturally-blended hair color and is, therefore, authorized. In contrast, ombre (blending of one color to another with dyes, tints, bleaches and frostings) or black hair with blonde highlights and/or streaks and blonde hair with black highlights and/or streaks do not present a natural appearance as they display vastly different shades of natural hair colors and are, therefore, unauthorized for wear. Prohibited hair color examples (not all inclusive) are burgundy, purple, orange, fluorescent or neon colors. SASIs may temporarily authorize cancer patients to wear approved caps (black or tan) due to a temporary medical condition (i.e., radiation and/or chemotherapy). (Change) Wigs/Hairpieces/Extensions. Are authorized and will meet the same standard required for natural hair, be of good quality, fit properly, and comply with safety, functionality and professionalism. (Note: Extensions are still prohibited for males). Wigs/Hairpieces/Extensions will not be used to cover unauthorized hair styles. (Change) Hair-Nets. Worn as required for health or safety reasons. Made of natural or a synthetic material; must be conservative (plain and moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme), solid color similar to the member's hair color, also strong enough to support and control hair and contain no metal fasteners. Hair-nets are only authorized when performing related duties as determined by applicable SASI.

7.9.2. Jewelry. While in uniform will be plain and conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) as determined by the SASI.

7.9.3. (Change) Rings. Airmen may wear a total of no more than three rings; wedding sets count as one ring when worn as a set. Rings will be worn at the base of the finger, and may be worn on the thumb.

7.9.4. Necklaces. Will not be visible at any time. If worn, will be concealed under a collar or undershirt.

7.9.5. Bracelets. Ankle bracelets are not authorized. Cadets may wear one bracelet around their wrist. If worn, the bracelet will be conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) in design, no wider than 1⁄2 inch, gold or silver in color, and will not have any inappropriate pictures or writing. Medical alert/identification bracelets are authorized. If worn, medical alert/identification bracelets will be conservative and moderate. Bracelets will not be excessive or extreme, which is defined as plain, not drawing inappropriate attention. Gemstones/tennis bracelets may only be worn with the mess dress uniform. Bracelets espousing support for cause, philosophy, individual or group are not authorized (Exception: Traditional metal POW/MIA/KIA bracelets, which come in colors besides silver, bronze, or gold, remain authorized). No rubber or fabric type bracelets are allowed.

7.9.6. Eyeglasses/Sunglasses. Will be worn in the manner for which they are made. Eyeglasses and sunglasses will not be worn around the neck or on top/back of head or exposed hanging on the uniform. Eyeglasses and sunglasses may have conservative ornamentation on non-prescription sunglasses or eyeglasses, frames may be black or brown material or gold or silver wire. Brand name glasses may be worn with small logo on frames or lenses. Logo may contrastwith frame color or lenses (conservative colors/small logos; black, brown, matte silver/gold). Conservative wrap-around sunglasses may be worn. Conservative, clear, slightly tinted, mirrored or photosensitive lenses are authorized. Sunglasses (to include darkened photosensitive lenses) are not authorized in formation. Exception: Sunglasses are not authorized in formation, unless for medical reasons, e.g., PRK/Lasik surgery and when authorized by a SASI or commandant on the advice of a medical official.\]

7.9.7. Tattoos or Brands. Whether you are in or out of uniform, tattoos or brands anywhere on the body are not allowed if they are obscene or if they advocate sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. Tattoos or brands that might harm good order and discipline or bring discredit upon the Air Force are also barred, whether you are in or out of uniform. The SASI may exercise discretion if a new cadet arrives with a tattoo that may not be in full compliance with the above guidance.

7.9.8. Body Piercing. Cadets in uniform are not allowed to attach or display objects, articles, jewelry, or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, or any exposed body part (including anything that might be visible through the uniform). Cadets may not cover any of these articles with make-up, band aids, or wearing clear post pins to hide body piercings.

7.9.9. Back Packs. Cadets may wear a back pack on the left shoulder or both shoulders (not to interfere with rendering the proper salute).

7.9.10. Wear/use of an earpiece, any blue tooth technology or headphones, while in uniform, indoors or outdoors, is prohibited, unless specifically authorized for the execution of official duties. Exception: Headphones and earphones (iPods, MP3-type players, etc.) are authorized during travel on public transportation i.e., bus, train or air travel.

7.10. Specific Female Cadet Grooming Guidelines. (See Figure 3-2, Figure 3-3, and Figure 3.4).

7.10.1 (Change) Hair-Female. No minimum hair length, to a maximum bulk of 4 inches from scalp and allows proper wear of headgear. Hair will end above the bottom edge of collar and will not extend below an invisible line drawn parallel to the ground, both front to back and side to side unless pulled back and secured or worn in an authorized ponytail or equivalent or long braid(s). If hair is pulled back and secured behind the head, radius will not exceed 6 inches from the point where the hair is gathered (i.e., no more than 6 inches to the left and 6 inches to the right, 12 inches total width; and 6 inches protruding from where hair is gathered) and must allow for proper wear of headgear. One or two braids or a single ponytail or equivalent may be worn down the member’s back with length not extending below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam at the under arm through the shoulder blades. The braid(s) or ponytail or equivalent cannot be worn over the shoulder or pulled in front of the body. They shall extend down the member’s back. Bangs, or side-swiped hair, may touch eyebrows but will not touch or cover eyes. When in doubt, assess correct length of hair with the cadet standing in the position of attention. Exception: While wearing the Physical Training Gear (PTG), long hair will be secured but may have loose ends and may extend below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam at the under arm through the shoulder blades. Pinned-up hair should be styled in a manner that prevents loose ends from extending upward on the head. When hair is in a bun, the bun must be a single bun; all loose ends must be tucked in and secured. When hair is in a ponytail or equivalent, it must be a single ponytail or equivalent that does not extend below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam at the under arm through the shoulder blades. Locs, braids, twists, micro-braids, French braids, Dutch braids and cornrows are authorized. Locs are defined as portions of hair that have been intentionally or unintentionally fused together to form a loc or locs. A braid or twist is two or more portions of interwoven hair. If adding additional hair, it must be a natural-looking color (similar to the individual's hair color) and conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme). Multiple locs, braids, twists or cornrows may come together down the back in one or two braids or a single ponytail. Hair must not exceed length and bulk standard and headgear must fit properly. All locs, braids and twists, when worn will be of uniform dimension, no wider than one inch, with natural spacing between the locs, braids, and twists and must be tightly interwoven to present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance. When worn, multiple locs, braids, or twists shall be of uniform dimension, small in diameter (approximately 1⁄4 inches), show no more than 1⁄4 inch of scalp between the locs, braids, or twists and must be tightly interwoven to present a neat, professional appearance. A braid/twist must continue to the end of the hair without design and following the contour of the head, and may be worn loose or in a secured style within hair standards. Exception: Micro-braids or twists are not required to continue to the end of the hair. Unauthorized: Mohawk, mullet or etched design.

7.10.2. (Change.) Hair accessories. Hair accessories. If worn, hair accessories (e.g., fabric scrunches, hairpins, combs, clips, headbands, elastic bands, barrettes, etc.) must match hair color. Black hair accessories are authorized regardless of hair color. Invisible hairnets are authorized; hairnet must match hair color. Hair must still comply with bulk and appearance standards. Headgear must fit properly. Headbands or fabric scrunches will not exceed two-inches in width. Ornaments are not authorized (i.e., ribbons, beads, jeweled pins).

7.10.3. (Change) Fingernails. If worn by females, nail polish will be a single color that does not detract from the uniform, nor can the nail polish be extreme in color. Some examples of extreme colors include, but are not limited to, purple, gold, blue, black, bright (fire engine) red and florescent colors. Do not apply designs to nails or apply two-tone or multi-tone colors; however, white-tip French manicures are authorized. Fingernails must not exceed 1⁄4 inch in length beyond the tip of the finger and must be clean and well groomed. Fingernails must not interfere with the performance of assigned duties. Fingernails must not hinder proper fit of prescribed safety equipment or uniform items.

7.10.4. Skirts. The length of your skirt may not vary beyond the top and bottom of the kneecap.Your skirt will fit smoothly, hang naturally, and must not be excessively tight. Wearing hosiery with the skirt is optional. Choose a sheer nylon in a neutral dark brown, black, off-black, or dark blue shade that complements the uniform and your skin tone.

7.10.5. (Change.) Earrings. Male cadets are not authorized to wear earrings while in uniform. Female cadets may wear small (not exceeding six mm in diameter) conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) round or square white diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver earrings as a set with any uniform combination. If member has multiple holes, only one set of earrings are authorized to be worn in uniform and will be worn in the lower earlobes. Earrings will match and fit tightly without extending below the earlobe unless the piece extending is the connecting band on clip earrings. When not wearing earrings, male and female cadets are authorized to wear transparent piercing spacer(s) in lower earlobes while in uniform. Transparent spacers are not allowed in ear holes outside of the lower earlobes or any other piercing holes visible in uniform (nose, lip, eyebrow etc.). Piercing holes will not be large enough to permit light to shine through.

7.10.6. Undergarments (Mandatory). Females. Appropriate undergarments are required to be worn with all uniform combinations. Wear bra and underpants with all uniforms. Wear of the white V-neck style orathletic tank top undershirt when wearing opened collar service uniforms is authorized. Undershirt will be tucked into slacks or skirt. Undershirts will not have pockets.

7.10.7. (Added) Cosmetics. Female Cadets may wear cosmetics; however, if worn, they will be conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) and in good taste. Female Cadets will not wear shades of lipstick that detract from the uniform, or that are extreme colors. Some examples of extreme colors include but are not limited to, purple, gold, blue, black, bright (fire-engine) red, and fluorescent colors. Male Cadets are not authorized to wear cosmetics. (Added) Cosmetic tattooing. Tattooing for cosmetic purposes is authorized when directed by licensed, qualified medical personnel to correct a medical condition, illness or injury for both men and women. When not medically directed, cosmetic tattooing is permitted for women if done to apply permanent facial makeup (i.e., eyebrows, eye liner); the cosmetic tattooing must have a natural appearance and be conservative, moderate, within reasonable limits, not excessive or extreme, and in good taste.

7.12. (Added). Body Piercing/Ornamentation

7.12.1 (Added). In uniform with the exception of earrings for women, all members are prohibited from attaching, affixing, or displaying objects, articles, jewelry or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, eye brows, lips, or any exposed body part (includes visible through the uniform).

7.12.2. (Added). Plugs for guage holes in the ear lobes are not authorized (regardless of color, i.e., flesh colored). There are no exceptions per AFI 36-2903.

7.12.3 (Added). Dental ornamentation: Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, will not be ornamented with designs, jewels, initials, etc. The use of yellow gold, white gold, or platinum caps (permanent or temporary) merely to add ornamentation to the teeth and not required by dental/medical necessity is prohibited.

See Figure 3.2. Female Hair Style Examples Authorized Female Ponytails/equivalent and long braid(s) Hair Styles Examples.

See Figure 3.3. Unauthorized female Ponytail Examples.

See Figure 3.4. Female Hair Style Examples

7.13. Specific Male Cadet Grooming Guidelines. (See Figure 3.1)

7.14. (Change). Hair-Male. Tapered appearance on both sides and the back of the head, both with and without headgear. A tapered appearance is one that when viewed from any angle outlines the member's hair so that it conforms to the shape of the head, curving inward to the natural termination point without eccentric directional flow, twists or spiking. A block-cut is permitted with tapered appearance. Hair will not exceed 2 1⁄2 inches in bulk, regardless of length and 1⁄4 inch at natural termination point; allowing only closely cut or shaved hair on the back of the neck to touch the collar. Hair will not protrude under the front band of headgear. Cleanly shaven heads, military high-and-tight or flattop cuts are authorized. Prohibited examples (not all-inclusive) are Mohawk, mullet, cornrows, dreadlocks or etched shapes and/or design. Cadets may have one (cut, clipped or shaved) front to back, straight-line part, not slanted or curved, on either side of their head, above the temple. Part will not exceed 4 inches length or 1⁄4 inch width. Men are not authorized hair extensions. See Figure 3.1

7.14.1. (Change). Mustaches. Male Cadets may have mustaches; however, they will be conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) and will not extend downward beyond the lip line of the upper lip or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from both corners of the mouth.

7.14.2. (Change). Beards are not authorized unless for medical reasons, when authorized by a medical official, or as authorized pursuant to a request for a religious accommodation. Beard wear authorized for religious reasons are governed by AFJROTCI 36-2001. When authorized for medical reasons, members will keep all facial hair trimmed not to exceed 1⁄4 inch in length. Individuals granted a shaving profile may shave or trim their facial hair to present a neat, clean, professional image.

7.15. Sideburns. If worn, sideburns will be straight and even width (not flared), and will not extend below the bottom of the orifice of the ear opening. Sideburns will end in a clean-shaven horizontal line. See Figure 3.1

7.16. Mustaches. Male Cadets may have mustaches; however, they will be conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) and will not extend downward beyond the lip line of the upper lip or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from both corners of the mouth. See Figure 3.1.

7.17. Fingernails. Male Cadets are not authorized to wear nail polish.

7.18. Cosmetics. Male Cadets are not authorized to wear cosmetics.

7.19. Undergarments (Mandatory) Appropriate undergarments are required to be worn with all uniform combinations. Wear undershirt and underpants with all uniforms. Wear the white V-neck or athletic style tank top undershirt when wearing opened collar service uniforms only. Undershirt will be tucked into trousers. Undershirts will not have pockets. Figure 3.1. Male Hair Grooming Standards. Added. Hands in pockets are allowed while standing or walking and beverage consumption as indicated

while walking.

7.20. Specific Cadet Uniform Wear Guidelines.

7.20.1. Cadet Uniform Wear Guidance/Policy for School Hosted JROTC Events: School Sponsored Military Ball with Awards Ceremony: Units have two options they may choose to utilize.

Option 1: All cadets can wear the AFJROTC and SFJROTC Service Dress uniform.

Option 2: Each male and female cadet will be given the individual option to wear their AFJROTC and SFJROTC Service Dress uniform or to wear formal or semi-formal civilian attire. Any civilian attire worn must be in compliance with any/all school and district policies.

NOTE: Option 2 would allow block schedule school students to attend who are not currently in AFJROTC and SFJROTC and who may not have uniforms currently issued to them. School Sponsored Dining-Ins/Dining-Outs with Awards Ceremony: All AFJROTC and SFJROTC cadets will wear their AFJROTC and SFJROTC Service Dress uniform. For any other event, the SASI, in conjunction with the school Principal will decide on the appropriate attire for AFJROTC and SFJROTC cadets.

7.20.2. Cadet Uniform Wear Guidance for Fundraising: There are no concerns with businesses contributing money to an AFJROTC and SFJROTC booster club or other private clubs associated with AFJROTC and SFJROTC that are NOT established by the Air Force as part of the program. If businesses make a monetary donation, AFJROTC and SFJROTC instructors and cadets may not advertise for the business in return – particularly in uniform. Doing so would present the “appearance” of an Air Force endorsement of the businesses making the donation. Such an appearance could be interpreted as a violation of the Joint Ethics Regulation. AFJROTC and SFJROTC personnel/cadets should not solicit donations from local businesses at any time. Incorporating Corporate Sponsorship/local business donations as a way to help boost funding for your AFJROTC and SFJROTC program are a great way to fund Leadership Development Requirements (LDR) for your cadets. The key is to contact your district and follow the above guidance to help keep sponsors and AFJROTC and SFJROTC units within the scope of the Joint Ethics Regulation.