Check your lines: Grooming essential for sharp look

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Ruben Gonzalez
  • 71st Flying Training Wing command chief
You can't look sharp if your grooming falls short of expectations. 

The Air Force standard for hair is designed to present a dependable, conservative, functional image that demonstrates the clean-cut and reliable nature of the military. If you look sharp there is a natural assumption that you are sharp. 

Air Force Instruction 36-2903 is very clear on the does and don'ts when it comes to maintenance of your hair. It should be clean, well groomed and neat without excessive amounts of grooming aids. It can't touch your eyebrows and should be a natural color for human beings. That includes blonde, brunette, red, black, and unfortunately for some of us, grey. 

For the guys, our hair should have a tapered appearance on both sides and back. A block cut is okay as long as it has a tapered appearance. Clean shaven heads, along with high-and-tight and flat-top styles are fine for men, but not for the ladies. 

Men's hair should not touch their ears and women's hair can't go below the collar. Basically for women, it can't extend below any side of an invisible line drawn parallel to the ground at the bottom edge of the shirt collar. 

Women should style their hair to present a professional appearance. All the devices used to create that professional look must be the same color as the hair. Ribbons, beads, jeweled pins or hair Scrunchies aren't allowed. Bangs will not touch the eyebrows and the bulk of hair style will not go beyond three inches. Also, braids, micro-braids and cornrows are okay. Dreadlocks are not. 

Note: Hair should not protrude from the front of any headgear with one exception. Hair can be visible in front of the flight cap for women. 

Back to the men...mustaches and sideburns will be neatly trimmed. The mustache shouldn't go below the upper lip line nor grow beyond a vertical line at the corner of the mouth. With "Mustache March" around the corner, let's keep each other in check. 

Lastly, those sideburns need to be straight, even width and end in a clean-shaven horizontal line no lower than the lowest part of the ear opening. 

Bottom line - look sharp. When in doubt, consult your leadership or stop me next time you see me. I'll be happy to assist you in keeping your sharp image. Team Vance, thanks for checking your lines...