Yesha Callahan

The Marine Corps Finally Allows Locs And Twists

Photo: Marine Corps

Photo: Marine Corps

Delayed as this victory may be, Black women have reason to rejoice now that the Marine Corps has officially given the OK to locs and twists.

We’re certain you remember the backlash that ensued earlier this year when the Army handed down new hair guidelines which deemed “any unkempt or matted braids or cornrows,” which the army considered dreadlocks, “unauthorized.” Now the Marine Corps has become the first service to allow locks, thanks to recommendations put forth by Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. Two-strand twists are a go as well.

According to MarineCorpsTimes:

Lock hairstyles are defined as one section of hair that twists from or near the root to the ends of the hair, which creates a uniform ringlet or cordlike appearance. Locks may be worn with short, medium or long hair; partings must be square or rectangular to achieve a neat and professional military appearance.

Twist hairstyles allow two sections of hair twisted together, which forms a rope or cord-like appearance.  Twists may only be worn with medium or long hair, and can extend no more than 2 inches from the scalp.  Medium length does not extend beyond the collar’s lower edge and extends more than one inch from the scalp. Long hair extends beyond the collar’s lower edge.

One- and two-twist hairstyles such as the French twist are authorized as long as a neat and professional military appearance is maintained and the hairstyle does not interfere with the proper wear of headgear.

Photo: Marine Corps

Photo: Marine Corps

Only braids and twists may be “secured” to the scalp (hair is continually added to the braid or twist as it continues to the hairline at the nape of the neck). This must follow the contour of the head from front to nape in one direction.  Individual braids, twists, and locks can be no more than 3/8-inch apart, cannot be more than 3/8-inch in diameter, and must remain tightly interlaced/twisted. New growth, which is defined as hair that naturally grows from the scalp and has not yet been braided, twisted or locked, cannot exceed ½-inch at any time.

Locks, multiple braids, and multiple twist hairstyles must encompass the whole head (with the exception of bangs. Mixing of styles is not allowed, and foreign material cannot be incorporated into or attached onto the hair.

If you’re already confused, the Marine Corps likely expected that which is why they’re planning to create a web page outlining authorized and unauthorized hairstyles for both men and women within the next 30 days. Meanwhile Wright said this of the update in a statement:

“For some, this change is culturally liberating, has financial benefits and is simply convenient.”


  1. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Wow! This is great t news! I hope other branches approve of locs and twists.

  2. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    For a long time, black women have fought literally for the right to express themselves. There have been many restrictions of how black women can wear their hair. It has been a problem where many Sisters have been disrespected of their being basically. The new policy of the Marine Corps is a policy that was won by black women fighting for their human dignity and for their inherit human expression. We have a long way to go, but this development is good news.

  3. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    This truly is a victory. If locs and twists are neat, clean, and tidy, there’s no reason why cannot and should not to be worn.

  4. December 18, 2015 - Reply

    The other military branches will follow. The initial policy by the army was silly to begin with. I’m glad this mess is coming to an end.

    • December 18, 2015 - Reply


      Thank you. A hairstyle like braids or cornrows are perfect for long military tours where amenities are scarce.

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