My wife recently accused me of trying to grow a "Riker" beard. I found myself arguing that my beard is longer than anything Riker or Worf ever had on the show, and that got me thinking as to what would be considered "in regs" for Starfleet officers. And not just humans! Someone in the bureaucracy had to come up with standards for every new species that passed cadet training.

Are there any canon references to grooming standards and regulations?

  • 1
    It just needs to be clean and tidy, as far as I'm aware.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2016 at 21:27
  • If there is any example that we might use as a guide for what was regulation it would be Data's beard in The Schizoid Man.
    – Xantec
    Feb 2, 2016 at 22:17
  • 1
    What, no mention of Spock's Beard?
    – SQB
    Feb 17, 2016 at 15:43
  • Facial hair aside, I'm pretty sure a full bikini wax is required. That's why Riker sits down like that. Jun 3, 2020 at 12:21
  • 1
    Also: "longer than anything Riker or Worf ever had on the show" — including this? Jun 3, 2020 at 12:24

4 Answers 4


Ignoring the inconsistent portrayal in the shows...

CHAKOTAY: One more thing. I'd appreciate it if you'd shave and change back into your uniform. We do have protocols. - Voy: Alice

... the best source I've been able to locate for these fabled Starfleet protocols on dress and grooming is from the "Starfleet Dynamics: Starfleet Academy Training Manual":

Your dress and conduct should always reflect credit upon yourself, Starfleet, and the United Federation of Planets. Your uniform should be of high quality. It should be clean and worn properly.

Uniforms provided by Starfleet Quartermasters are regulation. If you buy or have a uniform made elsewhere, you must ensure it is regulation in pattern, appearance, and quality.

You must provide yourself with an adequate supply of correct uniforms. It is up to you to ensure that your uniform is processed by the ship's laundry fabricators, fit all times (except when authorized to wear civilian clothes) you must wear the complete uniform prescribed for you.

Starfleet uniform regulations require that men keep faces shaven, except that a short, neat moustache/beard is permitted. No unusual beards or moustaches are permitted. Men must keep their hair neatly and closely trimmed, length not to exceed seven centimetres. Women must keep their hair neatly arranged, with back hair touching but not falling below the collar. Side hair must be trimmed to show a close contour.

Cosmetics must be conservative and in good taste. No articles such as pens, jewellery, combs, or similar items may be worn or carried exposed upon the uniform. Chronometers, identification bracelets, inconspicuous rings, and conservative earrings are permitted. However, no oddities of dress are permitted.

The dress uniform has several options available. For women, one such variation is a skirt. This is a simple, tailored-cut, wrap-around black skirt, available in three lengths: mini, knee-length, and mid-calf. The skirt is worn with black stockings and standard issue boots.

You may wish to note that this book is listed as a fan-work and although it was apparently written with the extensive involvement of the production staff of Star Trek VI, it's not an officially Paramount-licensed product (though somehow still managed to be sold commercially) so please take it with the appropriate number of pinches of salt.

  • Those rules seem very restrictive by modern standards. Perhaps back when it was written they would have been acceptable, but today it's hard to imagine a liberal organization like Starfleet not accepting beards.
    – user
    May 2, 2023 at 11:39
  • @user - Nowadays anything goes on Trek. Back in the 1960s they had a little something called standards
    – Valorum
    May 2, 2023 at 19:16

One brief mention of personal grooming regulations can be found in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Admiral Kirk and Lieutenant Saavik meet in a turbolift, and he comments on her appearance.

KIRK: Lieutenant, are you wearing your hair differently?
SAAVIK: It is still regulation, Admiral.

The change of hairstyle was from this:

Saavik and Spock

to this much more casual-looking doo:

Saavik and Kirk

Given her garb, Saavik appears to be off duty when she bumps into Kirk, which means it is unclear whether her hairstyle would be within regulations if she were on bridge duty, or whether it is merely acceptable for down time.


There are uniform standards we know, so we can presume that grooming is also a part of those standards -

In Chain of Command, Troi is reprimanded by Capt. Jelico and asked to wear a regulation uniform when on the bridge.

In Ensign Ro, Riker reprimands Ro for wearing her traditional Bajoran earpiece as it is not regulation.


It's safe to assume if Starfleet modeled itself off of Roddenberry's time in the Army; thus Starfleet models it's customs on US and Western Navies (per Roddenberry's discretion) various things are clear indicators of US navy customs. A ship whistle, usage of words associated with maritime language and technical specifications (deck, port, starboard, Brig, Mess, etc) It would stand they enact a similar standard of dress. For a time in the late 20th century the US Navy allowed facial hair provided it didn't interfere with hygiene and safety standards. That policy has since been rescinded.

Starfleet uniform code presumably has similar standard for fit and hygiene. With allowances for cultural/religious capacities; per captains discretion. Long hair is seen acceptable on females provided it is either short or tied out of the way. Men within tolerances for 7-8 centimeters of length. Although I find it hard to believe starfleet would discriminate on long hair regardless of gender it's a wishy washy subject, especially to enact a standard on a multi-species organization some of which have NO hair, some of which are furry and some may have spikes, tendrils, etc.

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