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New Air Force Hairstyles Reduce Pain For Curly Haired Women

Staff Sgt. Nicole Kasl, 88th Medical Support Squadron special needs technician, poses at her desk July, 8, 2021, in the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. Kasl said the new Air Force hair policy is more comfortable and she no longer gets headaches from pinning up her thick hair.
R.J. Oriez
/
U.S. Air Force
Staff Sgt. Nicole Kasl, 88th Medical Support Squadron special needs technician, poses at her desk July, 8, 2021, in the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. Kasl said the new Air Force hair policy is more comfortable and she no longer gets headaches from pinning up her thick hair.

Women in the Air Force with thicker hair are now able to wear ponytails and braids on duty. The Air Force announced the policy change in late June. A staff sergeant at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base says she no longer has to experience pain from twisting her hair into a regulation bun.

Nicole Kasl 2 WPAFB hairstyles.png
R.J. Oriez
Staff Sgt. Nicole Kasl, 88th Medical Support Squadron special needs technician, stands outside the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. Kasl said the new Air Force hair policy is more comfortable and she no longer gets headaches from pinning up her thick hair.

Staff Sergeant Nicole Kasl is a medic, a special needs technician, a mom, and the only female athlete on the Air Force High Power Rifle Team. Kasl used to spend two hours smoothing her hair into a bun every morning. She says it would cause headaches and irritation bumps throughout the day because it was so tight.

“It’s definitely not something that I notice anymore," Kasl said. "Like I don't get the headaches, I don't have to deal with my hair snagging at the back of my neck.”

This became possible after the Air Force amended a January decision allowing women to wear braids, ponytails and bangs. The Air Force says it’s been adapting its hair standards to reflect the military’s diversity.