The National Defense of Canada on Wednesday has approved their personnel to have beards as long as they are not shaggy hipster beards. The new general order coming from Canada’s top military commander lays out the circumstances for when facial hair is permitted given the rising trend of “hipster” styled beards.
Grooming instructions have also been attached to the new order which are; beards must be neatly trimmed and are not permitted to be over two centimeters in length. Additionally both cheekbones and the neck must be shaved.
Regardless of the harsh and strict rules placed on facial hair, this is progress for the military personnel none the less. Previously military personnel were only allowed facial hair on a strictly limited basis and it was up to the discretion of the chief of defense staff.
While facial hair was normally not permitted, there are exceptions in place for religious purposes. Harjit Sajjan, who is the current defense minister and a Sikh, has served as a lieutenant-colonel with a full beard in the reserves.
According to the military’s top non-commissioned officer, these changes are being made to adapt to changing times and the growing trend and acceptance of facial hair. Allowing these lifestyle choices in the Canadian Armed Forces also makes it an attractive place to work.
While changes are being made, the grooming instructions are in place to ensure that the appearance of military personnel is up to a certain standard that the Canadian public is used to which is being all the same and clean.