Facial Hair Policy

With effect from 1 September 2019, all RAF personnel are permitted to grow a full set beard.

A request must be made to the Commanding Officer in writing prior to any member of the RAF growing a beard. 

Only full beards that are kept short and neatly trimmed will be permitted. 

The Station Warrant Officer, on behalf of the Station Commander, will act as the final arbiter of what is, or is not, acceptable. 

The following characteristics of beards are generally not permitted:

  • Beards taking excessive time to grow.  The definition of an 'excessive amount of time to grow' remains within the subjective judgement of the Chain of Command (CoC).  The advised maximum time to grow a sufficiently thorough beard is 2 weeks.  RAF personnel are permitted to grow their beards whilst on duty.
  • Stubble.  Stubble is assessed as any beard length shorter than Grade 1 (2.5mm).  This does not include the grace period detailed above.
  • Beards of uneven growth/coverage.  The definition of ‘uneven growth/coverage’ remains within the subjective judgement of the CoC.
  • Longer length hair growth/‘hipster’ beards.  Longer length facial hair growth is not acceptable.  The maximum acceptable length of a beard is Grade 8 (25.5mm)

The wearing of a beard as a tenet of a faith which does not comply with the criteria above remain permitted: direction as to how they may be worn can be sought from the HQ Air Diversity & Inclusion Team. 

For further information, please view AP 3392 Vol 4 Lflt 1105 or contact Unit HR/P staff. 

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