Grooming Standards per NSCC Uniforms & Personnel Inspection Chapter 2


The primary consideration is to have a neatly groomed appearance while wearing the NSCC uniform. Grooming standards are based on several elements including neatness, cleanliness, safety, military image and appearance. The standards established herein are not intended to be overly restrictive or to isolate NSCC personnel from society. The limits set forth are reasonable and ensure that personal appearance contributes to a favorable military image. NSCC male and female grooming policies recognize the difference between the sexes and establish appropriate grooming and personal appearance standards for male and female officers and cadets. Long service life of the various uniform articles can be attained only by proper care and maintenance. Even new, properly fitted uniforms will not continue to look their best or keep their shape unless you care for them properly. Uniforms should be stored on hangers. If uniforms are to be stored for a long time, they should be cleaned thoroughly, then packed away in an airtight plastic bag with a packet of desiccant (drying agent which is obtainable in many of the large chain department stores).


1. Image. NSCC personnel must set and maintain the highest possible standards of smartness in uniform appearance. The military image reflected by attention to detail in wearing of the uniform is a key element in the positive public image of the NSCC.

2. Cleanliness. Uniforms shall be kept scrupulously clean and pressed, with lace, devices and insignia bright and free from tarnish and corrosion.


a. No article shall protrude from or be visible on the uniform, including such items as: pencils, pens, watch chains, key chain fobs, pins, jewelry, combs, large wallets, personal music devices, headphones, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or similar items (Jewelry, tie clasps, cuff links, shirt studs and earrings shall be worn as prescribed elsewhere in these regulations).

b. Civilian bags such as computer bags, briefcases, gym bags, backpacks, garment bags, etc., (not including women’s handbags/purses) may be worn with the working and service uniforms as prescribed in the manner below:

1) May be worn across the left shoulder of service uniforms. When wearing a bag, the strap must be worn across the left shoulder (fore and aft) with the bag hanging to the left of the body. The strap on the bag must not be worn on the opposite sides of the body (diagonally). Backpacks may also be worn over both shoulders when wearing the working uniforms such as Utilities, Navy Working Uniform and Camouflage Utility Uniform.

2) All bags worn with the uniform must conceal its contents and be either solid black or navy blue in color. There shall be no personal ornamentation attached on or to the bag.

3) While in dress uniform, civilian bags will be hand carried only.

4) Glasses

a. Prescription Glasses. No eccentric or faddish glasses are permitted.

b. Sunglasses. Conservative sunglasses are permitted, except in military formations.

c. Retainer Straps. Retainer straps are authorized. If required, they shall be plain, black and worn snugly against the back of the head.

d. Contact Lenses. Tinted contact lenses must be a natural color (blue, green, brown, etc.).

5) Undergarments. Appropriate undergarments shall be worn to preserve the dignity and appearance of the uniform. Male and female personnel shall wear white undergarments when wearing any of the white uniforms.

6) Shoe Shine. Dirt and other debris can easily embed into leather. Therefore, your shoes or boots need to be cleaned before polishing. Use a damp cloth to remove excess dirt and debris. To polish your shoes effectively, always remove the shoelaces from your shoe before you start polishing your shoes. This is the best way to get to clean the tongue of the shoe and avoid staining the laces. Shoe polish or creams should be applied evenly with a brush or soft cloth. Once the polish has properly dried, simply buff to a brilliant shine using a natural bristle brush. Note: it is important to use a separate brush and cloth for applying and buffing different colored shoes. Patent leather shoes should be cleaned with a damp cloth and buffed with a dry cloth. (see tab with video "How to Spit Shine")

7) Tailoring of Uniforms. Uniforms may be tailored to provide a well-fitting, professional military bearing. They shall not be altered to the extent of detracting from a military appearance, nor shall they be tailored to the point of presenting a tight form fit. This is especially important when fitting smaller cadet uniforms.



Hair, grooming, and personal appearance while in the military (Navy-style) or Alternate Uniform shall present a neat and professional appearance. Because it is impossible to provide examples of every appropriate or unacceptable hairstyle or of “conservative” or “eccentric” grooming and personal appearance, the good judgment of leaders at all levels is the key to enforcement of NSCC grooming policy. The provisions of this section apply to all enrolled NSCC personnel (adults and cadets).


1. Males


a. General. Hair will be neat, clean and present a well-groomed appearance. Hair above the ears and around the neck shall be tapered from the lower natural hairline upwards at least 3/4 inch and outward no greater than 3/4 inch to blend with the hairstyle. The hair on the back of the neck may not touch the collar. The “blocked neckline” is permitted as long as a tapered appearance is maintained. Hair shall be no longer than 4 inches and groomed so that it does not touch the ears or collar, extend below the eyebrows when headgear is removed, show below the front edge of the headgear, nor interfere with the proper wearing of military headgear.


b. Bulk of the hair shall not exceed 2 inches. Bulk is defined as the distance that the mass of hair protrudes from the scalp when groomed (as opposed to the length of the hair).

Hair coloring must look natural and complement the individual. Faddish styles and outrageous multicolored hair are not authorized. The primary consideration remains a neatly groomed appearance for the hairstyle and the type of hair that the individual has, with 4 inches length and 2-inch bulk the maximum under any circumstances.

Military headgear shall fit properly and in no case shall the bulk or length of hair interfere with the proper wearing of any military headgear.


c. Taper. The unique quality and texture of curled, kinked, waved and straight hair is recognized, and in some cases the 3/4-inch taper at the back of the neck may be difficult to attain. In those cases, hair must present a graduated appearance and may combine the taper with a line at the back of the neck.


d. Part. One (cut, clipped or shaved) natural, narrow, fore-and-aft part is authorized.


e. Styles. Varying hair styles, including afro, are permitted provided these styles meet the criteria of maximum length and bulk, tapered neck and sides, and do not interfere with the proper wearing of military headgear. Plaited or braided hair shall not be worn while in uniform. Faddish and outrageous multi-color hair is not authorized. Exaggerated styles, including those with excessive fullness or extreme height, are not authorized.


f. Sideburns. Sideburns (if worn) shall be neatly trimmed and tapered in the same manner as the haircut. Sideburns shall not extend below a point level with the middle of the ear, shall be even width (not flared) and shall end with a clean-shaven horizontal line. “Muttonchops,” “ship’s captain” or similar grooming modes are considered to be merely elongated sideburns and thus are not authorized.


1. Cadets.

Male cadets shall be clean-shaven. Discretion should be used with younger cadets or those with religious convictions.

Mustaches. Mustaches will be neatly trimmed so as not to present a ragged appearance. Handlebar mustaches or other eccentric styles should be avoided.

Sideburns. Sideburns will be neatly trimmed and even, but may extend beyond the center of the ear. Muttonchops, or other eccentric styles should be avoided.

Beards. As specified in Section 2203, full and partial beards, van dykes, and goatees are authorized. If worn, the bulk of the beard (distance that the mass of facial hair protrudes from the skin on the face) shall not exceed 1 inch. The length of individual hair shall be limited to 1 1/2 inches. Patches and spotty clumps of facial hair are not considered beards; such presents an unshaven appearance and therefore not authorized.



a. Acceptable Hairstyle Criteria

1) Hairstyles and haircuts shall present a professional and balanced appearance. Appropriateness of a hairstyle shall be evaluated by its appearance when headgear is worn. All headgear shall fit snugly and comfortably around the largest part of the head without distortion or excessive gaps. Hairstyles will not interfere with the proper wearing of headgear, protective masks or equipment. When headgear is worn, hair shall not show from under the front of the headgear, with the exception of the Beret. Hair (including bun) is not to protrude from the opening in the back of the ball cap.

2) Lopsided and extremely asymmetrical hairstyles are not authorized. Angled hairstyles will have no more than a 1-1/2 inch difference between the front and the back length of hair. Layered hairstyles are authorized provided layers present a smooth and graduated appearance.

3) Hair length, when in uniform, may touch, but not fall below a horizontal line level with the lower edge of the back of the collar. With jumper uniforms, hair may extend a maximum of 1-1/2 inches below the top of the jumper collar. Long hair, including braids, shall be neatly fastened, pinned, or secured to the head. When bangs are worn they shall not extend below the eyebrows. Hair length shall be sufficient to prevent the scalp from being readily visible (with the exception of documented medical conditions).

4) Hair bulk (minus the bun) as measured from the scalp will not exceed 2 inches. The bulk of the bun shall not exceed 3 inches when measured from the scalp and the diameter of the bun will not exceed 4 inches. Loose ends must be tucked in and secured.

5) Hair, wigs, and/or hair extensions must be of a natural hair color (i.e. blonde, brunette, brown, red, gray, or black). Hair extensions/pieces must match the current color of the hair. Wigs, hairpieces and extensions shall be of such quality and fit so as to present a natural appearance and conform to the grooming guidelines listed herein. Tints and highlights shall result in natural hair colors and be similar to the current base color of the hair.


b. Hairstyles.

Hairstyles shall not detract from a professional appearance in uniform. Styles with shaved portions of the scalp (other than the neckline), those with designs cut, braided, or parted into the hair, as well as dyed using unnatural colors are not authorized. The unique quality and texture of curled, waved and straight hair are recognized. All hairstyles must minimize scalp exposure. While this list shall not be considered all inclusive, the following hairstyles are authorized.

1) Three strand braids and two strand braids (also referred to as twists) are authorized. Braided hairstyles shall be conservative and conform to the guidelines listed herein.

2) Multiple braids. Multiple braids consist of more than 2 braids and encompass the whole head. When a hairstyle of multiple braids is worn, each braid shall be of uniform dimension, small in diameter (no more than 1/4 inch), and tightly interwoven to present a neat, professional, well groomed appearance. Foreign material (e.g., beads, decorative items) shall not be braided into the hair. Multiple braids may be worn loose, or may be pulled straight back into a bun, within the guidelines herein.

3) Two individual braids. One braid worn on each side of the head, uniform in dimension and no more than one inch in diameter. Each braid extends from the front to the back of the head near the lower portion of the hair line (i.e., braids are closer to the top of the ear than the top of the head to prevent interference with wearing of headgear). A single French braid may be worn starting near the top of the head and be braided to the end of the hair. The end of the braid must be secured to the head and braid placement shall be down the middle of the back of the head.

4) Corn rows. Must be in symmetrical fore and aft rows, and must be close to the head, leaving no hair unbraided.* They must be no larger than 1/4 inch in diameter and show no more than approximately 1/8 inch of scalp between rows. Corn row ends shall not protrude from the head. Rows must end at the nape of the neck and shall be secured with rubber bands that match the color of the hair. Corn rows may end in a bun conforming to the guidelines listed herein, if hair length permits.

5) Rolls. Two individual rolls, one on each side of the head, must be near the lower portion of the hair line (i.e., rolls are closer to the top of the ear than the top of the head and will not interfere with wearing of headgear). Rolls must be of uniform dimension and no more than one inch in diameter.


c. Hair Accessories.

When hair accessories are worn, they must be consistent with the hair color. A maximum of two small barrettes, similar to hair color, may be used to secure the hair to the head. Bun accessories (used to form the bun), are authorized if completely concealed. Additional hairpins, bobby pins, small rubber bands, or small thin fabric elastic bands may be used to hold hair in place, if necessary. The intent is for pinned-up hair to be styled in a manner that prevents loose ends from extending upward or outward from the head. For example, when using barrettes or hairpins, hair will not extend loosely from the head; when hair is in a bun, all loose ends must be tucked in and secured. Hair accessories shall not present a safety or foreign object damage hazard. Hair nets shall not be worn unless authorized for a specific type of duty. Headbands, scrunchies, combs, claws and butterfly clips, are examples of accessories that are not authorized; this list is not to be considered all inclusive.


d. Unauthorized Hairstyles.

While this list shall not be considered all inclusive, the following hairstyles are not authorized: pigtails; braids that are widely spaced and/or protrude from the head; and locks. Locks, also called dreads, are fused or coiled strands of hair such that they cannot easily be combed out. 2


e. Grooming Standards Exception. During group command/unit physical training, commanding officers are authorized to standardize unit policy for the relaxation of female hair grooming standards with regard to having hair secured to the head (e.g., ponytails). Hair restraining devices, if worn, will be consistent with the current hair color.


Cosmetics shall be applied in good taste so that colors blend with natural skin tones and enhance natural features. Exaggerated or faddish cosmetic styles are not authorized. Lipstick colors shall be conservative and complement the individual. Long false eyelashes are not authorized. Male personnel are not authorized to wear cosmetics unless for medical reasons.


1. Males. Fingernails shall not extend past fingertips. They shall be kept clean.

2. Females. Fingernails shall not exceed 1/4 inch measured from the fingertip. They shall be kept clean. Nail polish may be worn, but colors shall be conservative and complement the skin tone. 


1. Rings. While in uniform, only one ring per hand is authorized, plus a wedding/engagement ring set. Rings are not authorized for wear on thumbs.

2. Earrings a. Males. Not authorized while in uniform. Additionally, earrings are not authorized in civilian attire when in a duty status or while aboard any ship, craft, aircraft, or in any military vehicle or within any base or other place under military jurisdiction. b. Females. One earring per ear (centered on earlobe) may be worn while in uniform. Earrings shall be 4mm – 6mm ball (approximately 1/8 – 1/4 inch), plain with shiny or brushed matte finish, screw on or with posts. Gold for officers, midshipmen, instructors, and chief petty officers, and silver for NSCC/NLCC cadets PO1 and below.

3. Body Piercing. Not authorized while in uniform. No articles, other than earrings for women specified above, shall be attached to or through the ear, nose, or any other body part. Additionally, body piercing is not authorized in civilian attire when in a duty status or while in/aboard any ship, craft, aircraft, or in any military vehicle or within any base or other place under military jurisdiction.

4. Necklaces/Choker. While in uniform, only one single-strand necklace, conservative in nature, may be worn and shall not be visible; choker necklaces and necklaces that are the large multi-strand or gel-type branded collar variety are not authorized.

5. Wristwatch/Bracelets. While in uniform, only one of each may be worn. Ankle bracelets are not authorized while in uniform.