Bright coloured hair

does anyone know what the consequences would be of dying your hair a bright colour (e.g. pink) ? i’ve been thinking about it for a while and it kind of feels like they can’t really do anything but i wouldn’t want to risk a demotion.

From a SNCO pov the rule book is clear - ACP 1358, para 0156 if hair is dyed or highlighted, all colours chosen are to be a natural shade. I would say Pink is not a natural colour, however subtle.

You mention a risk of demotion - as an NCO think of the example it sets if you don’t comply with the regulations set, there will always be one cadet that says “the book says……”

My advise is hold off on the hair colour, or do it when you have an extended leave of absence (exam leave/holiday leave) so you can have the colour and then return with a natural shade.

Hope that helps.


Fundamentally @Sticky_McStickface is spot on. The rules are clear, pink hair is a no-go.

With that said though I have seen many cadet (including NCOs) and staff with non-natural shade coloured dyed hair. So I think YMMV in terms of enforcement of the rules.


@JoeBloggs what does ymmv mean ?

Your Mileage May Vary

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Id inform that cadet they arent to attend in uniform until hair is of natural colour. A NCO would have a more direct chat about their ability to set the example and regulations their role entitles them to enforce.

But thats just me


Just a quick question for you, OP. Would you say that “I know it’s not allowed but I’ll do it because I can get away with it” is an attitude you would expect from an NCO?

Being any form of leader is much more about soft skills than hard skills, and that all starts with our attitude and levels of integrity.


While i understand that rule following and the like is seen as important within the corps, I simply don’t see the point in that rule as it seems unnecessary due to the fact that i am not actually a part of the actual armed forces, not to mention a literal child in the eyes of the law, and as such should have the freedom to do with MY hair as I please


You absolutely do have this freedom. But you can’t wear an RAF uniform if that’s what you choose. (As the rules stand currently that is)


This is true. However you have volunteered of your own free will to be part of an organisation that has standards on uniform.

The organisation won’t change So you need a third option.

Not parading in uniform is one option (although as an NCO that might not be an option)

If you discuss with your OC you maybe able to reach a compromise (I had this with a cadet who need to dye their hair for GCSE drama - it was agreed for a period of 8 weeks & they didn’t do any off squadron activity).

What I have seen before is someone who dipped dyed their hair pink but when in uniform put their hair in a black stocking which was then wound into a bun. The result was that it looked natural & not out of place in uniform. In your case you would just need to get a stocking that matches your natural hair colour.

So those are you options - comply, compromise or civvies.

As you’re an NCO I’ll assume you are good at thinking outside the box & able to come up with solutions but have a chat with your CO first as they may have dealt with this before & have an idea :slightly_smiling_face:


Also covered by this which all Cadets and parents agree to by joining

ACP1358 is an order on how to wear uniform and dress appropriatly


That’s more of an officer’s point of view!

I can’t speak for your staff, but if I had a cadet NCO who had asked the question, I wouldn’t really care.

I’ve always been of the opinion that an organisation that sees you for about 5 hours a week should think very carefully before dictating how you should appear the other 163 hours.


I agree to a certain extent. Certainly wouldn’t let them on a parade or uniformed off squadron activities. Probably wouldn’t allow them to parade in uniform either so if it’s a short term thing it doesn’t matter.

Yes, we’re only 5 hours or less a week, but they joined a military themed organisation so have to be prepared to follow the rules whilst with us.

Though it wouldn’t really be a problem for my cadets. School rules forbid coloured hair in the same way as cadets.


And you do, just not whilst wearing the KING’S uniform.


He probably wouldn’t care what a 12-17 year old in a youth organisation did with their hair.



But CAS probably would when GB News / The Sun run a headline of “RAF shows true colours on parade” with a photo of several cadets with multicolour hair.

Doesn’t matter how wrong they (or their readers/viewers) are - the reputational damage is done.

My opinion, OP: if you want to play, play by the rules. No one’s forcing you. Personally, I think it’s worth playing, but you’re welcome to not if your hair colour is more important to you than the benefits you get from being a cadet.

If you want to change the rules, start with a conversation with your OC and ask them to pass it up the chain. You never know what might happen.


I’d back them on the rules change. Its stuff like this why we supposedly moved to ACP1358 from AP1358C.


^ this. In that situation, I’d be asking/supporting a cadet in writing a letter to pass on up the chain, firstly to WWO/OC WG, with the intention of pushing it further.


I come at this from a slightly different angle, in the very twilight of my career as I no longer comply with hair regs, in the chin area. Consequently I don’t parade in uniform, apart from very specific on-squadron only activities where having a second Officer can be very useful.
All done with mostly agreement with OC and Sector staff and not a long term thing as my time is limited now.

So I would be, crack on for on squadron normal nights, but not any monthly OC’s Parades or off Squadron activities.


You can’t leave it like that? Do you mean a beard? We’re allowed those now.

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