Like US Army ban on twist and canerows, my natural hair makes my helmet’s too tight.

My beautifully padded natural hair means my motorbike helmet is now too tight.

My helmet that was at least two and a half years old was stolen, but  I thought no problem, I’ve got my old one in my cellar. But the joy was short lived.

Valley's thick natural hair

My hair is to thick for my old helmet

The last time I wore this helmet my hair was relaxed and very close to my head.

Chemically treated hair

Relaxed hair under motorbike helmet


When I attempted to put the helmet on with my standard everyday hair style like the one above, it was a different matter. The helmet due to the padding effect of my natural hair did not fit comfortably, it felt a little too tight.

Chemically straightened (flat) hair

Chemically straightened (flat) hair

This led me to think about story that has been making recent headlines: The Army Bans some Natural Hairstyles!


New United States Army regulations 670-1 does not allow twists or multiple braids that are bigger than a quarter of an inch in diameter. Dreadlocks also continue to be banned. The regulations also has rulings on tattoos and general grooming.

But as you know twists in particular are the natural girls most popular go to hairstyle, therefore you will not be surprised to learn that there are accusations of racism and has even prompted a White House petition calling on the Army to reconsider their ban.

Have a listen to my report on this story on the BBC

One of the reasons sited by the army for the ban on canerows and twist etc. is because of the ability for a headgear to fit adequately.

Lets face afro hair is padded, depending on the length and at times texture of our hair there is very little we can naturally do about it.

The National Health Service  in the UK is now ordering specially made bigger equipment for larger people, and why not , we all pay taxes. Surely society needs to adapt to naturally occurring differences, rather than the other way around?


Read the full story here. to find out more about the US Army’s rule on grooming



6 thoughts on “Like US Army ban on twist and canerows, my natural hair makes my helmet’s too tight.

  1. I always said the same thing about girls with Afro hair being forced to swim at secondary schools usually resulting in a large amount of hair loss caused by chlorine whilst Islamic girls were excused for their faith/religion/culture but surely a persons NATURAL hair texture & state is far more important as it is unavoidable, not chosen, but an organic state of being. Why do we as black women (& our men) always slow our issues to be sidelined or negated by our Asian counterpart without resistance?

    • On swimming days I use to have my hair in plaits. But I recall one occasion where I had my hair in a ponytail which came loose during the swim and my teacher attempted to plait my hair without a comb and without any partings. She did her best (bless!), but I looked a right mess, I had what looked like twigs sticking up from my head in all different directions. Thanks Mrs Woodward, I’m still feeling the love.

  2. Kudos to Ms. Jacobs who led the efforts to get over 16,000 signatures on the petition. The 670-1 Army regulation is unrealistic for women who wear their hair in its natural state. Let’s hope the Army revisits this regulation and allow our military sisters more flexibility with their hairstyles

    • Hi Dionne – Yes I think and hope in the not to distant future as more and more women wear their hair natural the Army will come to understand, that natural hair is not a style it’s the norm.

  3. I really cannot see what all the fuss is about. Sorry, I know my answer will be unpopular. The military is not a fashion show and not known for flexible ‘laxness’. Having your hair in narrow cornrows, narrow plaits or pulled back in an elastic band, or simply short (not more than 2 inches away from the head) is flexible enough. Many strict schools will have rules more strict than this. I had thought that the fuss was over wording that said “no Afros” – obviously referring to no voluminous flamboyant hairstyles – being confused with no Afro frizzy textured hair.

    I am of Afro-Caribbean descent and I think the rules are fine! Helmets will fit if hair is pulled back into an elastic band or put into small cornrows and then tied back. I have 1 year of hair growth since my big chop and I can get it into two cornrows which fit under a hat. If I leave it ‘as is’ it will be a fairly flamboyant Afro – not the type of thing associated with a strict disciplined profession where you can kill people or be killed yourself! Lighten up, ladies, there are bigger battles to fight.

    Love your hair, BTW, especially on the first picture above.

    • Hi Sunny – I’m glad that there was a fuss, because the USA has serious issues that need to ‘relaxed’ out with regards to ethnic minorities. If the authorities understood more about ‘our’ hair then their decisions would reflect this. But they didn’t before, but after the outrage they were forced to learn :-)

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