The U.S. Navy loosened hair and grooming standards during the COVID-19 pandemic for both male and female sailors. Those relaxed standards ended in June, but by the end of summer, the Navy had already changed the game once again.

The Navy said the relaxed standards in March 2020 were meant to lower exposure risk by reducing trips for haircuts. They happened at around the same time the Navy temporarily halted physical fitness tests and imposed travel restrictions.

However, the relaxed standards did not apply to all hair, just the hair growing from the top of sailors’ heads. The only relaxed standard dealt with hair length, and sailors had to maintain regulation sideburns, facial hair, and hairstyles. The relaxed standards also still required that sailors ensure all Navy-issued gear fit properly. Additionally, hair still had to be kept neat, clean, and well-groomed. So, while sailors first hearing of the relaxed standards may have fantasized about passing as a SEAL, no such luck.

The sailors’ holiday from standards ended in June with the dual re-application of grooming standards and physical fitness tests. Yet, just as hair lengths began to come back into normal Navy standards, the Navy decided to launch a new normal.


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sailor getting a haircut
Tim Corcio, a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s incoming Class of 2019, gets his first military haircut on Induction Day. (Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Wilkes/U.S. Navy)