cornrows in the air force

Got a question today asking if cornrows in the air force was allowed from a community member who is on her way to serve her country in this branch of the military.

Well Tonya the answer is YES! However you cannot wear dreads so be sure to make sure they do not resemble this natural hairstyle or you could be dishonorably discharged and they mean business about that too.

I read an article during my research that was a little disturbing and caught me off guard. I know you were saying that with the basic training you would sweat a lot which would cause wild hair days so this is the protective style you are choosing.

From what I have read you should be okay but I would double check with your recruiter to make sure things have NOT changed.

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thirsty roots®

Our goal is to share the beauty of Afro-textured hair and to have a place where we can come together to get examples, advice, and information of black hair growth and hairstyles. Whether you have permed, pressed, or natural hair it's still black hair and it's beautiful.


  • As a former Air Force member of 8 years, I can confirm for you that you can have cornrows in Basic Training and beyond. My training mates and I even did touchups on our perms in basic. We had a white male TI so he didn’t come into our barracks in the evenings. Once all of our task were completed we combed each others hair, to include braiding. One morning I did not braid my hair and left it wet. By the time the heat and humidity got ahold to it I had a full afro. He hated it, he made it a point to bust me out about my crazy hair in the chowhall. I couldn’t do anything about it till after chow and my hat wouldn’t fit correctly. The big issue with hairstyles in the military is that you must be able to get your hat on your head. Lastly, it must not come down past your collar. They say a lot about natural coloring in the AFI’s, but “they” wear highlights and frosting, so it really depends on where you end up stationed once you’ve completed basic and tech school as to how strict they will abide to the standard.

  • I am a former airman. They allow cornrows but, from my experience, ANY design is considered a fad and they will make you take it out. Straight back and not touching your collar is the only style not questioned.

  • Yes, cornrows are allowed in the Air Force. As a memeber, I wore them all through basic training. Your cornrows can not be fadish and have to be straight back. They have a regulation that you have to follow. If your hair is not in regs, they WILL make you take it down.

  • Actually, you can wear dreads or locs due to it is not a fad. I am a former Air Force member and I’ve seen it. I’ve talked to girl who had dreads for at least 10 years she was only told to cut them so so it would not hang pass her collar. I also believe the thickness of the dreads can cause and issue but if it is a way you can pin it and keep the standard to regs it should be fine.

  • The regulation now states that you cannot wear any type of locs. Yes, there are folks still in that have them, but they’re not suppose to have them.

  • Former army..corn rows should be ok as long as your “cover “fits correctly. Hair cannot fall below collar

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