The Amish are a religious group known for their simple way of life and their beard culture, which serve as a symbol of their faith and identity.
They are traditional Christians who originated in Switzerland in the 16th century as a result of a schism within the Anabaptist movement. They adhere to a strict set of rules and practices outlined in the Ordnung, a written code of conduct.
One of the most prominent aspects of the Ordnung is the requirement for men to grow and maintain beards, while mustaches are strictly forbidden.
For the Amish community, beards are more than just a personal style choice. They have specific rules for beards. They can not shave or grow their beard according to their wish.
As a beard is an integral part of an Amish man, what is the significance of Amish beard, what happens if Amish men can’t grow it? You will get the answer to all of those questions in this guide.
Why Do Amish Men Grow Beard?
The Amish beard rule requires men to grow and maintain a full beard, while mustaches are strictly forbidden. The origins of this tradition are unclear but one of the reasons why you will find almost every Amish man with a beard is because of the Bible.
“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard” (Leviticus 19:27). This verse is often cited as a justification for the Amish beard mandate, as it is interpreted to mean that men should not trim or shave their beards.
Like most Abrahamic religions, growing a beard is a sign of piety as well, which is why almost every Amish man will grow one if they can. Almost 19 verses refer to beards in the holy book.
In addition to their religious significance, beards also play an important social role in Amish culture. A man’s beard is seen as a sign of maturity, wisdom, and masculinity, and is often regarded as a mark of respect and authority within the community.
It is also a key factor in courtship and marriage, as Amish men can not shave their beard after marriage. A beard is like a wedding ring to Amish men. If you see an Amish man with a beard it symbolizes he is married.
Some Amish communities may allow for slight variations in beard styles, such as the length or shape of the beard, but overall, the beard is a central and important part of Amish culture.
Here are 6 reasons why Amish men must grow a beard:
- The primary reason behind Amish men growing a beard is their religious beliefs and adherence to a simple, devout lifestyle.
- It reflects the community’s emphasis on modesty, simplicity, and eschewing worldly distractions.
- The unique Amish beard styles set Amish men apart from the rest of the world. It differentiates them from the military which shows their beliefs to distance themselves from any association with war or violence.
- The beard works as a wedding ring in the Amish community. Amish men stop shaving their beards upon marriage to show commitment to their spouse and the sanctity of marriage. So, it is a form of non-conformity from mainstream society’s materialism and vanity.
- The length and fullness of an Amish beard can indicate the age and experience of an Amish man, garnering respect and admiration from younger community members.
- Beard serves as a connection to their ancestors and past generations, honoring their heritage and maintaining a sense of continuity within the community.
When Do Amish Men Grow Beards?
Notice how we keep saying almost every man since men need to pass a specific threshold before growing a beard. More specifically, An Amish man starts to grow his beard after his marriage. Until then, he must shave his beard and keep a clean face.
Along with being an important way to recognize a married man, the beard is also a symbol of maturity. More specifically, it signifies a man who has transitioned from boyhood to manhood.
Since the Amish do not wear wedding bands, this is the only way to recognize if a man is in a marriage. And once he grows his beard, he cannot shave it.
A little fun fact: Amish women also follow a rule. In some Amish communities, women wear white-colored kapps if they have a husband and black-colored kapps if they have yet to marry.
What If an Amish Man Can’t Grow a Beard?
Though growing a beard for men is an important part of Amish culture but they are not penalized for shaving their beard. Also, if an Amish man is unable to grow a beard due to medical conditions or other reasons, they can participate fully in the community despite their inability to grow a beard.
It also does not stop him from getting married or following his other responsibilities. Marriage for men is not about growing a beard but rather about not shaving after getting married. So even if an Amish man cannot grow out a proper beard, that is not necessarily an issue.
It is also worth noting that not all aspects of Amish culture are uniform across all communities, and there may be some variation in beliefs and practices regarding shaving.
Features of Amish Beard Style
In Amish culture, there is only one recognized beard style, which is simply referred to as the “Amish beard.” It is a full beard that covers the chin and cheeks without any bare patches and does not include a mustache. Here is a more in-depth look:
The first major difference between a regular beard and an Amish one is that it won’t have an accompanying mustache. This is the norm for an Amis man, and the reason for not growing a mustache is actually rooted in the sect’s pacifist ideology.
The During the initial years of the schism in the early 1700s, the army men would grow long and thick mustaches. Along with being persecuted by the army, the Amish didn’t want to grow a mustache because they were a pacifist group and did not want to associate with the imagery of war.
In recent times, the Amish do not keep mustaches because of tradition, as they follow in the steps of their forefathers who did not grow their mustaches.
Amish men are required to grow and maintain a full beard, meaning that the facial hair should cover the entire chin and cheeks without any bare patches.
The length of an Amish man’s beard can vary slightly depending on the community, but it is generally expected to be long enough. Some Amish men trim their beard to give it a round shape.
How to Grow and Maintain Amish Beard?
Along with being a religious requirement, Amish beard styles can also look very fashionable. The clean cheeks and mustache with a trimmed neck can be a great style if you’re willing to commit to it, but you must follow the steps to grow an Amish beard.
1. Stay Mustache-free
The first step to growing an Amish beard is to shave your mustache. A clean mustache is a defining characteristic of these beards, and you must respect their culture. Along with that initial trim, keep shaving it and your cheeks to maintain the beard.
You can trim your mustache and cheeks using a straight razor to keep things authentic. You can even use an electric razor if you like.
2. Let Your Beard Grow
The next step is that you want your beard to grow out until at least medium length. Long stubble or a short beard is not enough for an authentic Amish Beard, and will usually look like normal chin curtains.
You can still trim and prep your beard to help it look a lot cleaner, especially from your sideburns. You can grow a bushy beard in a circle around your chin or even shape it to look much pointier.
3. Use Beard Oil to Boost Beard Growth
Another defining characteristic of an Amish beard is its length. Along with being a symbol of marriage for men, the length of an Amish beard symbolizes longevity in the union. So, the longer the couple has been married, the longer the beard will be.
If you are struggling with growing your beard, use some beard oil to help it grow properly. Along with helping your beard grow, the oil can also help you shape and make it less brittle. Good beard oil can also help moisturize the skin underneath, which helps you avoid itchiness.
4. Trim the Cheek Line and Cut Stray Beard Hairs
Amish men do not believe in growing a beard from the cheeks; instead, they grow it out from their chin curtains. So, if you want to keep up the Amish look, you need to regularly trim the growing beard on your cheeks. Again, you can use a razor or an electric trimmer to cut your beard.
Trimming the beard is also common among Amish men since they will cut any stray hair and shape their beard. So, depending on how you want to shape your beard, you can easily cut out those stray hairs.
5. Wash and Brush Your Beard
Finally, you want to make sure that you properly wash and brush your beard. Other than it being a helpful tip to grow out an Amish beard, it is also a generally good practice since it allows you to keep your beard clean.
You should also brush your beard since it exfoliates your pores and helps your beard look less messy. It also helps train your beard to grow in a certain direction.
While it may seem strange to outsiders, beard is a symbol of religious devotion, as well as a sign of social status and authority in the Amish community. With proper technique, you can also grow and maintain your Amish beard style.