Being a part of the US Armed Forces for women is a lifetime of dedication and hard work.

Are you starting basic training soon and have natural/curly hair? With the limited time, military naturals need to use every hair care minute wisely. Showers for basic training are limited to 3 minutes (times vary by branch and service) so you may want to have a good 2-1 shampoo conditioner or a good co-wash in your arsenal. Remember to keep it simple. Have the tools you need near by and on hand so your hair care routine does not consume the time you are allotted.

Showers for basic training are limited to 3 minutes

According to The Army Study Guide women can wear braids and cornrows as long as they are “conservative” and “lie snugly on the head.” They also state that: “Styles that are lopsided or distinctly unbalanced are prohibited. Ponytails, pigtails, or braids that are not secured to the head (allowing hair to hang freely), widely-spaced, individual hanging locks (like Marley twists or box braids), and other extreme styles that protrude from the head are prohibited.” Visit the US Air Force basic training manual on their specific grooming regulations.

Making the most of your precious pampering time while serving can be a duty in itself. But being prepared and organized before entering basic training will help you adapt to the process. Start playing around now with simple, fast hairstyles that will work in line with military guidelines and your hair length.

For women with mid to long hair who refuse to go short despite the regulations--hair can not touch the collar of your shirts--there are options for you. Consider wearing a military sock bun that is low maintenance, clean, and doesn't take a lot of time to create. Use these steps and suggestions for a simple bun. You will need a spray leave-in, hair spray (if you have a loose and fine texture), bobby pins and elastics that match your hair color, and a hair donut that you can find at your local grocery store in the beauty aisle.

Easy military sock bun

  1. Refresh with a conditioning leave-in spray like Briogeo Rosarco Milk on dry hair.

  2. Part hair into two sections of your hair with a comb and spray each lightly with DevaCurl Flexible Hold Hairspray (if you have fine and loose waves or curls).

  3. Twist the 2 sections of your hair to the nape of your neck (or a bit higher if your hair is shorter).

  4. Use an elastic (that matches your hair color) and make a low ponytail. Secure any shorter pieces like bangs with bobby pins that are close to your hair color.

  5. Use a hair donut (the same color as your hair), pull your ponytail through it, flip your hair over the donut and cover the donut with your hair, and secure with a hair tie.

Watch this tutorial

Twisted puff

  1. 1. After thoroughly detangling, create about 6 sections in your hair.
  2. Make a diagonal part in the front and flat twist that section.
  3. Keep doing this for each section, flat twisting close to your scalp and letting the twist hang down.
  4. Bobby pin each twist in the middle of your head, bringing the ends uniformly to the back. 
  5. Use a stretched out headband around your head and pull it back where the bobby pins sit. 

Watch the tutorial