Marine Corps Grooming Standards

Commandant, Sgt. Maj. of Marine Corps visit Cherry Point
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Each of the military services have grooming standards for their military personnel, as part of their Dress & Appearance or Uniform regulations. For the United States Marine Corps, grooming standards are contained in Marine Corps Order (MCO) P1020.34F - MARINE CORPS UNIFORM REGULATIONS and are shown below:


No eccentricities in the manner of wearing head, facial, or body hair will be permitted.

If applied, dyes, tints, bleaches and frostings which result in natural colors are authorized. The hair color must complement the person's complexion tone. Color changes that detract from a professional image are prohibited. Fingernails will be kept clean and neatly trimmed so as not to interfere with performance of duty, detract from military image or present a safety hazard. Nail polish for male Marines is not allowed. Nail polish as it applies to female Marines will fall under standards explained below.


Men will be well groomed at all times and will abide by the following:

Hair will be neat and closely trimmed. The hair may be clipped at the edges of the side and back; will be evenly graduated from zero length at the hairline in the lower portion of the head to the upper portion of the head, and will not be over 3 inches in length fully extended on the upper portion of the head; the back and sides of the head below the hairline may be shaved to remove body hair.

Sideburns will not extend below the top of the orifice of the ear. Sideburns will not be styled to taper or flare. The length of an individual hair of the sideburn will not exceed 1/8 inch when fully extended.

Head hair will be styled so as not to interfere with the proper wear of uniform headgear. Hair which protrudes from beneath properly worn headgear in an unsightly manner is considered excessive, regardless of length.

No male Marine will be required to have his hair clipped to the scalp except while he is undergoing recruit training or when such action is prescribed by a medical officer. This does not prohibit a male Marine from having his hair clipped to the scalp if he so desires.

Members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve will comply with these regulations, except that wigs are authorized for periods of inactive duty for training. If worn, wigs will comply with the above grooming regulations.

The face will be clean shaven, except that a mustache may be worn. When worn, the mustache will be neatly trimmed and must be contained within imaginary vertical lines from the corners of the mouth and the margin area of the upper lip. The individual length of a mustache hair fully extended must not exceed 1/2 inch.

Except for a mustache, eyebrows, and eyelashes; hair may be grown on the face only when a medical officer has determined that shaving is temporarily harmful to the individual's health. In these cases, the medical officer may issue a temporary "shaving waiver."

No male Marine will be required to have his chest hair clipped except that which is so long as to protrude in an unsightly manner above the collar of the long sleeve khaki shirt.


The requirement for hair regulations is to maintain uniformity within a military population. Women's hairstyles require non-eccentric styles. Female Marines will be well groomed at all times and when in uniform will abide by the following:

Hair may touch the collar, but will not fall below the collar's lower edge. Hair that would fall naturally below the collar's lower edge will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned. During physical training periods in which physical training clothing is worn, hair will be allowed to fall naturally, without being fastened or pinned. This does not apply when conducting physical training in the utility uniform.

Hair will be styled so as not to interfere with the proper wear of the uniform headgear. All headgear will fit snugly and comfortably around the largest part of the head without distortion or excessive gaps. Hairstyles which do not allow the headgear to be worn in this manner are prohibited.

Faddish and exaggerated styles to include shaved portions of the scalp other than the neckline, designs cut in the hair, unsecured ponytails and styles which are distinctly unbalanced or lopsided are prohibited. Multiple braiding is authorized. If hair extensions are used in the braiding of the hair, the extensions must have the same general appearance as the individual's natural hair. Braided hairstyles will be conservative, and conform to other guidelines listed herein.

Barrettes, combs, rubber bands, etc. are authorized if concealed by the hair. Inconspicuous hair pins and bobby pins, if required, are authorized. Hair nets will not be worn unless authorized for a specific type of duty. Wigs, if worn in uniform, must look natural and conform to the above regulations.

Cosmetics, if worn, will be applied conservatively and will complement the individual's complexion tone. Exaggerated or faddish cosmetic styles are inappropriate with the uniform and will not be worn. If worn, nail polish and non-eccentric lipstick will harmonize with the scarlet shade used in various service and dress uniform items (i.e. scarlet cord on green service cap, scarlet trim on blue dress uniform, and scarlet background on enlisted insignia of grade), in shades of red, and may be worn with the service, blue dress, blue-white dress and evening dress uniforms. Colored nail polish will not be worn with the utility uniform.

Fingernails with multiple colors and decorative ornamentation are prohibited. Nail length will be no longer than 1/4 inch from the tip of the finger.

No female Marine will be required to remove leg hair except where considered unsightly and cannot be covered with appropriate hosiery.

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