IBN 049 - Revision to the Royal Air Force Air Cadets' Hair Policy

For anyone that has missed it, the new RAF hair policy has trickled down to us now too!


Though, of course, until they actually update the AP we’ve got little context, just a list of bullet points.
Massively helpful of them…

Doesn’t address that the real issue with hair policy is that it discriminates by gender.


Looking forward to seeing @Teflon in his dreads and turban.


i think it does,

although only a list of bullet points no where in the revision does it indicate that this only applies to men or women

it does not indicate that only female hair can be long and reach below the collar, so as I read that a man, may have long hair providing it is tied in a ponytail

although i see where you’re coming from it does state “with immediate effect” - if i saw someone this weekend with hair that complies with these bullet points, but does not comply with the latest version of AP1358C i don’t feel there is a cause of re-education - the individual can pass this IBN under my nose and there is nothing more to say about it
(of course for some it will be raised to the WWO but even then, i can’t see why the WWO can say “no” the IBN is clear

I still can’t wear my hair in a bun, but females can.

ok fair point…no buns, but you’re welcome to wear a pony tail

That rule might apply to both genders, but only has practical impact if the rule on long hair is also amended

…and indeed, it hasn’t been specific to make clear whether the rules apply equally across genders.

After several decades of applying male and female hair regulations separately, a line to the effect that “the new regulations apply to both male and female personnel equally - thus removing the previous distinctions in permitted style” would have cleared it right up… But they haven’t said anything so clear.

As it stands we don’t really know what they’re trying to say; totally irrespective of the fact that it is “effective immediately”.

I’d have also been horrified if I found out that these religious, cultural or ethnic “exemptions” weren’t being allowed anyway?

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Can cadets access this? Or only those who hold a bader sharepoint account?

The religious ones were previously being allowed for people of that religion but that was it as far as I’m aware.

Once the AP is updated you can access that via Cadet Portal.
I don’t think that Cadet Portal shares IBNs.

Judging by the commandants statement at the foot of the document, it does suggest a gender neutral interpretation.

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But nothing in this document changes the hair policy we currently have beyond those points. So yes, it allows people who have long hair to wait it below the collar on occasion. (And I’ve never seen that rule enforced in PT kit anyway?)
But it doesn’t change who can wear their hair long.

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Technically it says hair shouldn’t go below the “service jacket”, which obviously most cadets don’t have. So it can be as long as they like?


Or, you could obtain a service jacket and then stand on it.


One could assume that there’s a gender neutral implication there - if one reads it with that in mind; but in fact it doesn’t really state anything clearly… It’s a pretty ‘fluffy’ generalised statement which does little to help those of us whose job it is to know the actual regulation unequivocally.

If someone asks me “Does this mean that boys can have long hair? And, if so, how should they wear it?” my only truthful answer can be “Maybe. I don’t know yet.”
That’s not really good enough.

Male hair length is going to be an interesting factor. A one size fits all approach is what is needed, Might be a step too far for many people around the Corps.

I’ve seen 2 lads from the sqn who at a guess haven’t been near a barber for 7/8 months. I’m not sure telling them they have to get their hair cut will have the desired effect.

One must also consider ‘how’ the hair is grown. The whole concept being that someone must still look smart - and there can be a world of difference between ‘long hair’ which can be made up neatly and ‘too-much, floppy, scruffy hair’ which may not be quite as readily smartened up.

If it is going to be applied across the board then it can’t and won’t simply be a policy of “no haircuts are needed”.