WASHINGTON (TNN) -- You've seen the iconic picture of a state department staffer with messy sexy hair, but that could soon be a thing of the past.
The State Department is considering a ban on the sale and use of hair products in the foreign service.
A new study commissioned by the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services recommends a complete ban on hair product, which would end hair product sales in Northwest DC, embassies and consulate canteens and prohibit stylish hair by anyone in the foreign service, not even diplomats on the way to a gala.
According to the study, hair product use impairs diplomatic readiness in the short term. Over the long term, it can cause serious health problems, including scalp cancer and skin disease, especially on the fingertips.
The Health and Human Service’s top health officials are studying the report's suggestions and will make recommendations to the State Department's policy team and Secretary of State Clinton.
The study recommends phasing out hair product products such as pomades and gel over a five- to 10-year period.
However, the suggested ban does not sit well with many stationed in embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the world including an a prominent special envoy who wished to remain anonymous. He said foreign service officers abroad need to style.
"When you're abroad and you've been going days on end with minimum conditioning, that hit of hair product can make a difference," said the official, who was in charge of diplomacy in one of the world’s hotspots.
Other diplomats questioned whether this was a good time to stamp out hair product, given the the world’s excitement about the new administration and the expected lavish galas that will likely accompany future official state visits.
"For some, unfortunately, they feel that sexy hair provides a common bond with counterparts, especially in Europe. Well if you take it away, what is the replacement?" said Economic Officer Javier O’Reilly.
“The State Department supports the goal of a hair product-free diplomatic corps”, said spokeswoman Bobbie Smith.
"However, achieving that goal will depend on coincident reductions of hair product use in the civilian population," she said.
Dr. Nick Riviera, the author of the study, found that civilians outside major metropolitan areas don't style as much as foreign service officers. Two in three foreign service officers and diplomats style, he said, adding that among the general population, that number is less than one in five.