Pain in the bun: hair troubles of the female Marine

By Lance Cpl. Michelle S. Mattei, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — When thinking of the phrase “rise and shine,” the sounds of birds chirping, a cool breeze blowing through the window and waking up to that beautiful morning-rise is what comes to mind. However, in the world of female Marines, we wake up to something a little different.

The buzz of the alarm clock, the fast-pace morning-tempo, and of course, the well anticipated and dreaded hour behind the mirror in an attempt to get that picture-perfect, Marine Corps-standard female style bun, is a more accurate definition of our mornings.

Of course the Marine Corps created the alternate option of “cutting it all off,” since adding pounds of gel and hairspray, isn’t exactly what we had in mind for creating a simple hair style.

“I was so tired of having to slick my hair back everyday and then spending forever trying to scrub all the product out when I got home at night,” said Lance Cpl. Natasha Biggs, administrative clerk, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and one of the few female Marines that made the daring decision to chop off her lovely-locks in an attempt to take a few extra minutes off of her morning routine.

So of course the question of “do I just cut it all off” came to mind. I wouldn’t take any impulsive action by reaching for the scissors right when you’re finished reading this article. However, it is always an option to keep in the back of your mind.

That “perfect bun” world is not as easy to travel in as it may seem. To make the tops of our head sparkle like vampires in the sunlight, we have to put a sincere amount of effort into making this bun materialize.

“I used to spend at least a half hour to an hour trying to get my hair to be just right in the morning,” Biggs said. “As females, we judge our level of commitment and our entire appearance just on the way we style our hair.”

Although the male Marine’s weekly trip to the barber to get that “perfect fade” may be a legitimate gripe, dealing with the world of hair products and the hours spent behind the mirror to have this military appearance seems to be much more of a hassle. Female Marines don’t get to fork out only nine bucks and 15 minutes a week. We spend countless hours and money creating perfection.

Don’t think that this only goes for the long-haired females; the short-haired ones also have a similar issue.

“Now that I have short hair, I still spend a decent amount of time blow-drying and straightening it in the morning,” Biggs said. “Just because I cut it all off, doesn’t mean my professional military appearance is automatic.”

So as stated before; chopping off those lovely-locks isn’t always the easiest deal. Despite the length, we always have the issue of creating a style to meet the Marine Corps standard and maintain our professional appearance regardless of the occasion. So calm down ladies, don’t rip your hair out too fast – the six to seven percent of us in the Corps are on the same page when it comes to our hair.


6 comments on “Pain in the bun: hair troubles of the female Marine

  1. I never thought it took all that effort to make a bun. I have a new appreciation for the time it takes to do that. All of the WM’s I’ve ever run across looked professional to me…in uniform. Out of uniform, they looked like your more than average athletic female.

    Long hair or short…keep up the good work Devildogs!

  2. My hair was never long enough to have a bun. I have a TWA (teeny weeny afro) through the entire enlistment. Just wash and go. It was perfect for me bakc then 🙂

  3. When I cut my hair i did not have to blow dry or straighten it..i have extremely straight hair. All i had to do was wake up and brush my hair, it was nice. All though when i wasnt at work, i hated that i didnt have any style opportunities with my short hair. so i grew it back out LOL the bun isnt so bad.

  4. There is a grey area.
    You could always cut it to that perfect length to the point were all you would have to do is wrap it around and gel & spray it.
    I haven’t tried it but pretty soon here I am going to right before boot camp.

  5. I have been in for 5 1/2 years and cut my hair off once, I will never do it again. One thing that I have learned to use is Aloe Vera. Yes sun burn relief. It does not cake your hair down and prevents it from breaking. At first I thought my hair would turn colors due to me being blonde but it works real good!

  6. Ladies, take pride and embrace your femininity! Throughout my 20 years of active-duty service I never once cut my hair. My hair is an extension of my femininity and I would always safeguard and protect it. Take the extra time to comb your perfect hair, don’t be complacent. Always accentuate your feminine qualities with class. Cutting my hair was never an option for me.

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