British Army lifts 100-year ban

British Army lift beard ban

Stock image of the Royal Marines. Credit: Michaelpuche/

Is tradition giving way to modernity in the British Army?

The recent announcement that soldiers can now grow beards marks a significant departure from over a century of stringent grooming standards.

On Thursday, March 28, a notable policy revision was sanctioned by King Charles himself, permitting soldiers and officers in the British Army to grow beards for the first time in more than a hundred years.

The update, which aims for a balance between personal expression and professional appearance does however stipulate strict guidelines for facial hair grooming.

A new era of grooming standards

According to the revised policy, only full beards that are neatly groomed and maintained between 2.5mm and 25.5mm in length are permitted.

These must be trimmed along the cheekbones and neck without showing any ‘patchy or uneven growth.’ Moreover, the policy bars any ‘exaggerated colours’, ensuring that the new allowance remains within the bounds of decorum.

Modernising to meet recruitment goals

The shift towards a more inclusive grooming policy reflects the British Army’s efforts to modernise and appeal to a broader demographic of potential recruits.

UK Defence Secretary, Grant shapps posted the news on Twitter/X: ‘With army recruitment being a big priority and a recent YouGov finding most men (54 per cent) now say they currently have a beard or moustache, I asked the army to formally review the outdated beard ban. Today this sensible change in rules has been made

Exceptions for religious or operational reasons were previously the only instances when army personnel could grow beards.

However, following a comprehensive review prompted by feedback from a wide range of army personnel, including veterans and reservists, the chief of the general staff directed the change in appearance policy.

‘We have listened to our people and acted,’ an army spokesperson stated, underscoring the army’s commitment to evolving its policies in line with the preferences of its members.

This policy adjustment not only aligns the British Army with its counterparts in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, which have permitted facial hair for some time, but also with foreign militaries that have long embraced a more lenient stance on grooming.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Jane Fraser Brown

      31 March 2024 • 11:56

      Hopefully this new ruling will encourage more recruits .

    • Anita Lindsay

      02 April 2024 • 17:55

      Here come the woke and trangenders hope the tranwomen dont expect special treatment, in regards to training .
      What the hell is going on in the UK my country is going to the dogs, if we the British people demanded this sort of treatment and wokism in some other countries we would be stoned and flogged.
      We wouldn’t get the treatment others get in our country.

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