Marine Haircuts: 22 Unique Styles to Stand Out

Rules and regulations play the biggest role in Marines’ lives. They cannot set foot outside of their bounds if it means disobedience. From behavior to appearance, Marines have hard-coded rules to follow in whatever they do. And haircuts are a major part of their appearance for which there are specific regulations as well.

Haircuts for Marines are no less sensitive than their other elements. Besides wearing a specific style, their hair cannot be an obstacle during their duties. For instance, they must keep their hair short so that no strand of hair may get in the way of their eyesight. Even when they wear helmets, no hair should be visible around their eyes.

There used to be one or two specific Marine Haircuts that everyone in the Marine Corps wore. However, with time, things changed, and many other hairstyles are now also available to the Marines. In this guide, we will discuss 22 such haircuts that follow the rules and regulations of Marine Haircuts. They are also frequently worn by the Marines nowadays.

Let’s get down to business!

Grooming Rules for Marine Haircuts: DOs and DON’Ts

Grooming Rules for Marine Haircuts

Marines have to follow strict rules at every step. They cannot go near breaking a rule from their regulations. Otherwise, they may get kicked out of the Corps.

For grooming, there are specific rules too that Marines must follow. Regarding Marine grooming, especially hairstyles, we are going to discuss some important DOs and DON’Ts in this section.

Marine Haircuts: 5 DOs

Here are 5 important things Marines must follow for grooming.

  • Hair must always be kept trimmed.
  • Hair on the back cannot touch the collar.
  • The hair length should be below 3 inches on the top when extended.
  • The bulk of the hair cannot exceed 2 inches.
  • The face must be clean shaved with some exceptions where a mustache is allowed within a specific rule.

Marine Haircuts: 5 DON’Ts

Now we will talk about 5 things Marines must avoid in terms of grooming.

  • No use of excessive hair color is allowed. The use of Natural hair color is permissible to some extent.
  • Cannot wear a beard. It is only possible if medically certified that shaving may harm a person’s health.
  • Sideburns should not be tapered or faded.
  • Must avoid growing the mustache more than half an inch.
  • Hair cannot stick out when wearing a helmet.

Marine Haircuts: 22 Fantastic Styles

Among all the haircuts Marines can wear, there are some styles that follow the regulations to the tee, and they also come with astonishing looks. In this section of the guide, we will discuss 22 Marine Haircuts variations that will add more life to your look by staying within the limitations of the Marine rules.

Clean Shave

Clean Shave

The safest and easiest marine haircut is undoubtedly the Clean Shave. The entire head is shaved either using a clipper or a shaver. Depending on the type of look you prefer, you can get a clean shave for a smoother appearance.

If razor bumps are a problem for you, it is recommended to trim your hair to the skin with the help of a trimmer. And if electric shavers pinch your skin, you may as well get a clean shave from a stylist who will use a straight razor for the job.

Buzz Cut

Buzz Cut

A buzz cut used to be the go-to haircut for the Marines. Though the length varied from person to person, this style consistently ticked all the checkboxes of the Marine Grooming rules and regulations. The sides and the back are tapered or skin-faded for this style.

The hair on the top should not exceed half an inch for a length. And make sure to refresh your style every two weeks for a sharper appearance. If you really want to maintain the Marine vibe, why not be fully dedicated to it?

Semi Buzz Fade

Semi Buzz Cut

In the previous variation of Marine Haircuts, the sides were almost shaved for the look. If that feels excessive to you, be sure to try out this Semi Buzz Fade where the sides are tapered. Along with the sides, the back also has hair that does not go beyond a quarter of an inch.

To maintain consistency, the top of the head should have at least an inch of long hair for the Semi Buzz Fade look. After combining everything, you get a pretty smooth and seamless look because the sides and the back are blended perfectly with the top of the head.

Buzz with Beard

Buzz With Beard

This variation violates one of the basic grooming rules by the Marines. Keeping a beard is usually forbidden in the Marine Corps. But wearing a half an inch long mustache is allowed after the recruitment. And in case you manage to get a shave chit from your superior for keeping a beard due to health reasons, you can try out this style.

This variation is mainly a Buzz Cut with a prominent beard. The mustache is kept well within the regulation. The beard makes a connection with the mustache and sustains a clear line. The length of the beard should also not exceed half an inch. If you are not a Marine but looking for a hairstyle to get as a tribute to the Marine Corps, this might be an ideal variation for you.

180 Waves with Fades

180 Waves with Fades

It is prohibited to get flashy haircuts for the Marines. However, if you have naturally wavy hair, getting 180 Waves in a Buzz Fade style is a good proposition. The sides will have a skin fade while the top hair will maintain the 180 Waves. You can also get a high razor fade instead for a sharper look.

You must be careful about the length of your Waves for this style. Your hair should not be longer than three inches. And if you would like to get a less extreme appearance, you can combine a Semi Buzz Fade look with your 180 Waves. You have multiple options at your disposal to get the best style you can get.

Hard Part Razor Fade

Hard part Razor Fade

If you are looking for a Marine Haircut that hits harder than most other options, this Hard Part Razor Fade could be a good choice for you. It is more extreme than a Buzz Cut, and it comes with the look of an experienced person. The Hard Part and the Razor Fade combo gives off a vibe that can only be compared to a Veteran Marine’s style.

The razor fade will take away most of the side and back hair. Just below the top of the head, an inch of hair is saved for blending the faded sides into it. The Hard Part then complements those tough-looking sides to finish the look.

Buzz Undercut

Buzz Undercut

You may have figured out already how effectively Buzz Haircuts are associated with the Marines. In this variation, we present to you a tweaked version of the Buzz cut. You are getting a Buzz Undercut for the ultimate result here.

We usually find the top hair in the undercut to be five to six inches long. However, aligning with the Marines’ rules and regulations, the undercut should not be longer than three inches. And you can have the sides tapered instead of faded for a more Undercut look than a Buzz style. That’s it!

Low Skin Fade Undercut

Low Skin Fade Undercut

Undercuts belong to the list of the top three most favorite hairstyles for the Marines. It gives you an opportunity to grow your hair longer. For this reason, when you have passed a few years in rank, you can show the courage to get a nice Undercut.

In this variation, we are showing you a style that utilizes a Low Skin Fade to shape up the Undercut. The sides and the back have this Low Skin Fade while the top hair is kept just under three inches long. You can then easily sweep your hair to your preferred side to achieve the Undercut look.

Taper for Receding Hairline

Taper For Receding Hairline

Receding Hairlines has been a big problem for men. It limits the scope for getting spectacular haircuts. In the Marines, it used to be a popular practice to shave your head if you have a receding hairline. The reason behind this is that it is nearly impossible to get a Buzz or Undercut with a receding hairline.

But we came up with a perfect solution for you. Let your receding hairline be and get some nicely blended tapered sides. You can keep the top hair at no more than two inches long which will help with getting the perfect blending. To top it off, you can also keep a well-lined mustache by following the Marine guidelines.

High Taper Fade

High Taper Fade

Are you tired of Buzz or Undercuts? In that case, you can get different types of fades that will not break the Marine regulations. For instance, look at the picture for a High Taper Fade style. The back and both sides are trimmed down to a Number 1 length for this variation.

How you want to style your top hair is entirely up to you. You can get a clean slicked back or a side-swept style to couple your taper fade with. You may also wear a short semi fauxhawk look with tapered sides. Since the focus is entirely on the tapered sides, you have many options to choose from for the rest of your look.

Smooth Mid Fade

Smooth Mid Fade

A Mid Fade can also be a top choice for your Marine style. Things get slightly complicated due to the length of the top hair in this variation. The Mid Fade asks you to leave a good amount of top hair to work with in later stages. Getting a smooth blending is necessary for this style.

For this reason, you should have at least two and a half inches of long hair on the top of your head. The Mid Fade should stop one inch above your ears. The further one inch is the area where the magic happens through blending. This style looks more amazing in person!

Semi Messy Low Fade

Semi Messy Low Fade

It is strictly forbidden to have messy hair in the Marines. Nevertheless, a Semi Messy style is still allowed. You just have to be mindful of how far you are stretching the regulations. This haircut comes with a low fade on the sides. The back hair should be cut enough that it does not touch your collar.

To achieve your messy look without triggering the Marine radar, you need to cut your top hair to at least two and a half inches short. Do not wear an over-the-top messy look because you may get the attention of your superiors in a really unwanted way. Keep it short and slightly messy to nail the look.

High Skin Fade with Short Spikes

High Skin Fade with Short Spikes

It is yet another Marine Haircuts variation that lives on the edges of the rules and regulations of the Marines. The sides for this style will have a clean High Skin Fade which is acceptable. However, as you move toward the top, the hair will have a short spiky look all over the head.

This variation can be considered a tweaked Buzz Cut due to the hair length. Although the Skin Fade on your sides go way higher than usual, the short spikes can pull off an extended Buzz look easily. It is a tempting Marine Haircut that you must try to realize its awesomeness!

Low Burst Fade Taper Side-Swept

Low Burst Fade Taper Side-Swept

Side-swept styles are rare in the Marines. It is usually worn by higher officials in the rank. Therefore, young officers tend to skip this style until they reach a high level. Nonetheless, with some noticeable changes introduced to the Marines’ regulations regarding grooming, the Side-swept style has started getting popular lately.

There are rules still which must be followed for this style. The sides should be tapered or faded which can be done through a Low Burst Fade Taper as you can see in the picture here. Moreover, if you have trouble keeping your hair swept, you may also get a Hard Part for your parting lines. And you are done!

Medium Skin Fade with Curly Front

Medium Skin Fade with Curly Front


This variation of Marine Haircuts is strictly forbidden when you are on duty. Rather, it is one of the most popular vacation hairstyles for the Marines. After returning home, you can grow your hair longer without having to think about the regulations.

The sides will have Medium Skin Fade for this style. As the top hair gets longer, you can perm the front to achieve a Curly Front look if you don’t have naturally curly hair. Consequently, you will end up with a style that still holds your Marine identity. And when you return for duty, you can trim the top for a regular Buzz Cut without much effort.

Classic Flat Top

Classic Flat Top

Around the time of the Cold War, Flat Top hairstyles became extremely popular among the Marines. It came with a vibe that you are a tough cookie if you have a Classic Flat Top haircut. And guess what, this style is still not everyone’s cup of tea.

The top hair gets all the focus here. The sides look almost shaved with a Number 0 trim. However, it does not work with all facial shapes. If you have a square-shaped face, this Flat Top style will suit you the best.

Slick Back Undercut

Slick Back Undercut

Nowadays, many people consider a Slick Back Undercut to be a good Marine Haircut. While a plain Undercut is good enough for Marine’s style, a Slick Back look can be achieved when the hair is longer. You can begin this style with a Buzz Undercut.

After some days, as your hair is touching the three inches mark, you can start wearing the Slick Back Undercut look easily. It is very well within the grooming regulations of the Marines.

High Skin Fade with Brush Back

High Skin Fade with Brush Back

This style is pretty similar to the previously discussed Slick Back Undercut. But some noticeable modifications set these two styles apart. To begin with, the back along with the sides has a High Skin Fade. It reaches the top hair before stopping suddenly.

The top hair is then brushed back to create a half-undercut look. However, the extreme fading of the sides including the back makes it stand taller than the Slick back Undercut.

High Fade Afro

High Fade Afro

People with Afro hair do not get much choice in the Marines for their hairstyle. They either have to shave their heads clean or get an Afro Buzz Cut which is not practical enough. The High Fade Afro style emerges as an excellent option for Afro hair.

For this variation, the sides go through a High Fade treatment. Its finishing may have a Tapered touch for a good blending with the Afro. Then the top hair is trimmed down to two inches for the final result.

High Skin Fade with Triangle

High Skin Fade with Triangle

This Marine Haircut is slightly different from the rest. It is mostly because the High Skin Fade goes too far and reaches the apex of your head. Then the top hair is styled into a semi-mohawk look. From the front, it looks like a triangular shape.

Make sure that your hair length does not go over two inches for this style. Otherwise, the top hair will get messy and your whole look will be ruined.

Classic Pompadour

Classic Pompadour

Who knew a Classic Pompadour can be a good Marine haircut? It comes with some notes, however. When you have had your Marine haircut three to four weeks before, you can try out this style with your three inches-long hair. It is a good vacation hairstyle for a Marine.

It is one of those styles for which you do not need to do anything special. Simply grow out your hair for a month before the vacation. And by the time you are on vacation, your hair will be long enough for this style. Simply effortless!

Flat Top Mohawk

Flat Top Mohawk

Although the style’s name has Mohawk in it, it is mostly a Flat Top with High Fades. But due to those fades, the Flat Top looks like a Mohawk in its entirety. And this top hair extends to the back to achieve this Mohawk look.

In this Marine style, the front portion of the top hair will have more length than the rest of it. And as it goes toward the back from the front, the hair length will get shorter to maintain consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section of the article, we will answer some frequently asked questions by people to give you more information on Marine Haircuts. These answers will provide some unknown facts about Marine hairstyles.

Q: Are Marine Haircuts suitable for hot climates?

Ans: Yes. Since Marines wear short hairstyles, the variations suit hot climates perfectly.

Q: Can Marine Haircuts be personalized?

Ans: The grooming regulations for Marine Haircuts are strict. There is still some room to customize a Marine style. However, it is absolutely forbidden to wear hair color or extensions in the Marine Corps.

Q: How often do Marines get haircuts?

Ans: Usually, Marines get haircuts every four to six weeks.

Q: Do Marine Haircuts suit all types of hair?

Ans: Yes, the short haircuts for the Marines usually suit all kinds of hair. But depending on hair thickness and textures, some modifications may be necessary.

Finishing Thoughts

Haircuts are important in Marines’ lives. The styles carry the pride of Marines besides being useful even when they are in action. Since Marine Haircuts come with limited opportunity, it is important to choose a style that can reflect your personality without crossing the boundary set by the Marine rulebook.

Having short hair is fundamental to all Marine Haircuts. The hair cannot be longer than three inches when it is extended, and you must also follow some rules regarding the sides and the back of your head, it is important to choose a style that follows all these conditions.

In this guide on Marine Haircuts, we discussed the rules a Marine must obey for grooming followed by explanations of 22 perfect Marine hairstyles for you with pictures. Whether you are a Marine looking for your next haircut or someone who would like to get a Marine haircut as a tribute, you can find your perfect style in our extensive guide.

We are highly confident that you will find the haircut you are looking for in our guide and be content with it. And don’t forget to share your Marine Haircuts experience with us in the comment section below.

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