USAFA hair female cadets


Nov 8, 2017
Hi! So the consensus seems to be that you don’t need to cut your hair for BCT if you can figure out how to manageably put it up within regulation. However, I’m more curious about the percentage of female cadets during the academic year that actually have hair short enough to wear down, and choose to do that. It seems like having hair slicked back into a bun every day could cause many days of headaches
Use the search function as they're many threads on this, good luck!
It's up to you. The United States Naval Academy is the only of the big 3 that requires females to cut their hair. I know 3 female cadets there and before they left, the hair came off to above their chins. (One of them laughs at pictures of herself with her chopped hair to this day because she recalls she "looked like a little boy") If you have hair that is medium-length, grow it out or chop it off. If you can't put it in a bun and it looks unprofessional, you're just going to have to cut it there. I cut my hair for USMA even though I'm not required to; one inch on the side and 3 on the top so that I meet the basic requirements for short hair (even though I don't have to since I am female. I didn't want to look messy/unprofessional), but just barely touching my ears so that cadets can tell I'm a girl from a distance.
There are a few girls with short hair, but not many. For example, every single girl in my squadron has her hair long. I would guess less than 10% have it short. It's not frowned on or anything, a lot of girls just like the femininity that comes with long hair .
DD (2021) cut her long hair to a short pixie after she accepted her appointment. During BCT, she got another haircut prior to Jacks. She is SO glad she has short hair and has kept it that way. (Her roommate also has short hair.) It takes away the stress, time and fuss of caring for long hair and enables her to focus on more important priorities. She didn't have to worry about hair regs or moldy hair at all during BCT. BTW, it looks great on her!

I have been out to USAFA for I-Day week for the past three years. It definitely seemed to me from that week--and the 2021 Webguy photos--that the Class of 2021 had many more incoming female basics who chose the short hair route than the previous two years.
FYSA, the Navy is the only one of the services that has a hair cut requirement for female entry level trainees.
There was/is a test at Navy entry level training at Great Lakes that permitted women recruits to attempt to manage their hair during entry level training. I have not seen the results of the study or any impact on policy.

One of the disadvantages of the "Short Hair at Basic" policy is that women in the Navy never receive formal training or strong suggestions on how to manage their long hair in a manner that is professional.

You could always show up with a bun kit--and you can spend a time prior to starting learning how to make and wear a quick but perfect bun. Look at Marine Corps hair standards and examples for women if you are worried about this issue.

I don't know how this will apply to your summer at USAFA, the goal won't be to look your lovely best--but rather to focus on looking professional and being able to do it quickly. During the academic year, you might miss your long hair if you cut it for BCT--and truly one of the hardest parts of looking professional is being a military woman and growing your short hair out...The struggle is real.
Good luck.
To tack on, if you choose to leave your hair long then I definitely recommend practicing putting it a bun quickly before BCT. One less thing to stress about once you get here. Also, after BCT you'll have a little more flexibility when it comes to hair styling and you can use clips, braids, etc. to lessen the strain on your hair.
Some time ago Capt MJ recommended these hairpins for servicewomen on the forum; DD got them from Amazon & they work great. Available in small, med, & large, black or brown. Check them out, you won't leave home without em!

Capezio Women's Heavyweight Hairpins

Yay Capezio Bunheads bun pins. I still have mine from the 20th C and early 21st. I still use them. They have never failed me.

For the OP - there are all kinds of YouTube videos on military women’s buns, styles, tips. Search on “sock bun, military women’s bun styles, military women’s braids, etc.” or substitute service for “military.”

Also, find a frizzy-smoother product that works on dry, damp and wet hair, the kind where you put a dab on your palm and quickly work it through.

Finally, there is technique to the long bunhead pin. Start at a perpendicular angle to the head, catching a bit of the outer side layer of bun, then rock it back and in, upward toward bun Center at slight angle. Don’t just slice in from side parallel to head.

Of all the words I have ever posted on here, perhaps these are the most technical...
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On a much brighter note, I remember my mom's reaction as my hair slowly dwindled into nearly nothing. My dad would make passive aggressive comments because he hated that I cut off such and indication of my femininity with no guarantee I'd make the cut for West Point! But, sure enough, it seems the haircut will serve its purpose :D don't be afraid of scissors, ladies! And if you are, don't be afraid of some good YouTube bun tutorials!
@GoArmy2022 Excellent suggestion on the YouTube videos on how to make a bun. Kids today have so many tools at their disposal. I would definitely order a bun kit or two--makes a perfect bun in seconds. Also, don't fall for the sock method. In the end, that is just sort of gross. Maybe in an emergency but again, it is socks and it is your hair!

Although other great methods are the Kwikbun and I will admit that this is generational but I wore a single French braid tucked under to not drape below my collar...and I can still do that hair style in two minutes or less.

@Maplerock PLEASE!
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For @Maplerock....The new Ken:
I have had short hair most of my life, so before basic I went super short to make sure I wouldn't have to worry about it all summer. It was awesome to not have to do anything with my hair in the morning. Gave me a lot more time in the morning when everyone was scrambling and my basic roommate loved that I had time to fix up the room while she put her insanely long and unruly hair up.

My recommendation is if you are not super attached to your hair, go short for basic, perhaps donate to locks of love? Also if your hair is very prone to damage, same recommendation. Basic will destroy it and you'll have to cut it anyway, might as well do it before basic and save yourself some hassle.
I did rotc but had long hair the whole time. During training, I braided my hair just before I went to sleep and in the morning it was really easy to just roll the braid into a bun, secure it with some hair pins (not bobby pins) and more elastics and go. You’ll figure out what works best for your hair, don’t worry about it too much. Layers do make putting your hair up a pain, so it may be prudent to not have layers in your hair! Just stock up on hair-colored elastics, hairpins and barrettes.
My DIL who used to post here (NordicSkier) has had hair to her midback as long as we have known her, since her 3* year. She is almost 5 years AD now and still has (beautiful) long hair.
How gross can your hair get during basic? With showers I don't see how you can have moldy hair.