Ponytails and lipstick: American female soldiers have style

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Washington (AFP)

The women of the American army will be able to dress a little.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that female soldiers will be able to grow their hair long, paint their nails and put on earrings.

Revisions to the army’s grooming policies increased the number of hair styles women could adopt, including wearing long hair.

In the past, women with longer hair had to tie them up in buns, which many said was uncomfortable and interfered with their headphones.

Under the new policy, long hair must be worn in a ponytail or braid in training and tactical situations.

An expansion of styles especially welcomed African American female soldiers, who wanted more options for wearing their hair, in braids and other styles.

They can also wear two styles at once – braids and twists, for example.

Whatever they do, it should fit perfectly into a combat helmet.

And, on the other end of politics, women who want to shave their heads – as some male soldiers do – are now allowed. Before, they had to maintain a minimum hair length.

Female soldiers can now wear nail polish and lipstick to work, but not in colors considered extreme – such as blue, black, “fire engine red”, purple and fluorescent.

Extreme nail lengths and styles – think stiletto – are also prohibited.

Likewise with hair color: it should be natural, without extremes like pink, green and blue. For those who color their hair, roots of different colors over 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) are prohibited.

Earrings are authorized on the bases but prohibited in training and in field fights.

The changes are the result of a review launched last year under former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, as part of a review of racial discrimination and mistreatment of minorities in the military.

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