CAF Grooming Standards for Hair and Facial Hair Set to Change

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will reapply certain grooming standards to the Canadian Forces Dress Instructions, reversing a complete overhaul of the policy that took place in 2022.

According to CANFORGEN 078/24, which announced the new implementations, the military has decided to review some of the introductions made in 2022 based on a “broad set of feedback and observations received.”

Over the last two years, the CAF has collected feedback to determine whether the changes made are in line with its objective of creating a positive CAF image and allowing CAF members to reflect on themselves while maintaining operational safety.

Facial hair is now restricted to a maximum length/bulk of 2.5 centimetres (or one inch).

Beard & Hair Requirements

The new instructions, which will go into effect July 2, 2024, will require military members to undertake certain measures in relation to their hair and beards.

These changes include:

  • Military members will be required to tie their hair away from their face if it falls below the lower part of the collar at the nape of the neck.
  • Military members with hair accessories must use black or a colour that matches the individual’s hair.
  • Facial hair is now restricted to a maximum length/bulk of 2.5 centimetres (or one inch).

Additionally, the CAF has clarified language related to grooming standards and provided illustrations of permitted hairstyles and facial hair in the CAF Dress Instructions.

The CAF states its commanders of commands, task force commanders and formation commanders still retain the right to apply limited restrictions based on the unique conditions and requirements of a given situation.

Leading Seaman Comeau, a member of the Canadian contingent participates in a Remembrance Ceremony at the St-Symphorien Military Cemetery in St-Symphorien, Belgium on November 10, 2018. Photo: Sergeant Vincent Carbonneau, Canadian Forces Combat Camera. Image courtesy of the CAF.

2022 Changes

In the summer of 2022, the CAF released updated Canadian Forces Dress Instructions after consulting with the Defence Advisory Groups, Gender Advisors, and current military members.

The 2022 instructions did not require a specific length of hair but only required it to be tied for ceremonial reasons.

There was also no minimum or maximum length for beards or facial hair. Stay tuned to the Government of Canada website for detailed updates on the policy here.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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