Importance of Amish Beards & Why Amish Men Don’t Shave

Amish people have distinctive looks. Women wear long plain colored dresses, capes, and aprons. Men, on the other hand, generally wear solid colors. In addition to that, you can also see them with really long beards.

Amish men grow beards to signify their marital status since they don’t wear wedding bands. They stop shaving their beards after they get married as a way to let everyone know that they’ve become men. 

In addition to that, the Amish beard also signify other things. Read on to find out more about them.

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What Is The Deal With Amish Beards?

Ayesha Moir

“Amish beard,” technically called “Shenandoah beard,” has already become a term for a facial hair style consisting of a long flowing beard with no mustache. This beard is the exact type married Amish men wear from hundreds of years ago until now.

Distinctive Features of The Amish Beard Style

It’s pretty easy to identify an Amish beard from afar. It is grown long, like 6 inches in length or even more.

The facial hair comes from the jaw and chin. It includes sideburns up to the ears that are often groomed straight down. Some Amish prefer them to get bushy. However, many shave their cheeks for a neater appearance.

The Amish beard is different from a chinstrap beard. Although they both extend from the hairline of one side of the face to the other, a chinstrap beard is shorter and usually doesn’t cover the entire chin area.

The Story Behind the Amish Beard

The Amish communities share traditional Christian beliefs like Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father, that He died for all our sins, and that He is the way to redemption.

Devoutly Christian Amish men believe that sporting long and full beards is like living the Christian bible, where the descriptions and stories lead to men with long flowing beards.

Marital Status of an Amish Man

When a young Amish boy marries, he’s required to stop shaving his beard. By having one, he’s letting the Amish community know he’s now a full-fledged grown man and showing the other young ladies that he’s already off the market.

They don’t exchange wedding rings; therefore, the Amish beard is just one indicator of an Amish man’s marital status.

The Amish beard also signifies that a man has already assumed a position as the head of a family. Since the Amish prefer large families, they usually marry young to try for children as early as possible.

Religious Beliefs on Amish Men’s Facial Hair

Devoutly Christian Amish men pay homage to their biblical forebears. Since they take the Christian bible verses seriously, this Amish tradition of sporting Amish beards may be traced back to two bible phrases:

Psalm 133: 1-2

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.”

Leviticus 19:27

“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.”

However, there’s one huge exception. Even though the Amish men wear and grow beards as long as they would possibly want, they never stop shaving their mustaches.

Why Do the Amish Prefer Beards But Not Mustaches?

Sue (Wiedmann) Northey

The Amish tradition of growing a beard with a clean upper lip can be traced back from 1860 until 1916 when British military service members were required to keep mustaches.

The British Military’s Rule on Mustaches

Mustaches became interchangeable with British military uniform and service. During these times, having a clean upper lip would have been considered by the military a breach of discipline.

It was not until the first world war that British military soldiers had difficulties wearing gas masks since the seals would only work on clean, shaven faces. In October 1916, the military council eventually decided that mustaches would no longer be required from every British soldier

The Amish Experience with the Military

When British soldiers invaded the United States during the colonial era, they were constant bullies of many Christian groups like the Mennonite and Amish communities in Europe. British military service members widely persecute religious groups due to their theological differences.

No Amish man wanted to look like their tormentors who committed unspeakable violent acts against them and other Christian groups until World War II. Still, the Amish choose to be non-resistant and what others from the western world would like to call “pacifists. “

Since they viewed the military as a group with skepticism, especially against the Amish beliefs, they didn’t want to get associated with them. Therefore, growing a mustache like men in the western world do is significantly prohibited among Amish men.

What Happens If An Amish Man Can’t Grow A Beard?

The tradition of growing an Amish beard with a clean upper lip stems back even before the first world war. Unfortunately, not every man can grow facial hair due to genetic factors and other reasons.

If a full beard is a way of respecting biblical forebears and a symbol of marriage in the community, what happens if an Amish man can’t grow one?

Looking Back at the Amish Beliefs


Given that the reason behind the Amish beard is the group’s religious beliefs, this strict rule started way back during the 1600s. Jakob Ammann, a Swiss Mennonite, permanently split from the larger Anabaptist and Mennonite groups from Western Europe together with his supporters.

Although his later years yielded no records, many believe that Jakob Ammann was from whom the Amish received their name. Together with his followers, they became known as the first Amish people.

They eventually settled in the Alsace region of France. Here, he imposed strict laws against what his supporters could do and wear and what they should believe.

One controversial opinion of Ammann was that his followers should never shave their beards. According to him, the beard grew due to being a man; therefore, it was part of God’s purpose that all men should wear a beard, and shaving it would be a sin.

Growing Versus Shaving of the Amish Beard

With all the historical data, statements, and ideology, the primary rule of the Amish people is not to shave their beards.

Since the Amish traditions and regulations were not written anywhere and are passed on from generation to the next verbally, there were no documented records of the church or community giving any punishments to anyone who could not grow an Amish beard.

Therefore, it is not an issue when an Amish man can’t grow an Amish beard due to uncontrollable factors such as genes or other medical factors that hinder beard growth. As long as he’s not shaving anything on his chin or jawline, he is not disobeying anything that may cause any problem concerning his faith.

Benefits of Growing an Amish Beard

There can be several benefits to sporting an Amish beard, even for non-Amish people. Aside from the Amish beard style being distinctive, here are more of the benefits you can enjoy if you decide to grow one:

It complements many face shapes.

Faces with square jaws can look more gentle with an Amish beard. It can also make a face appear longer for people with small chins.

It is easy to maintain.

Not all men always have the time and energy to trim, groom, and shave. The Amish beard is perfect for those who like their beards simple. It is low-maintenance since the outline of the facial hair is the only thing to maintain.

It emphasizes the beard.

Without a mustache, the clean upper lip emphasizes the fullness and thickness of the beard.

It reflects commitment to peace.

Dissociating themselves from their persecutors is one of the Amish people’s reasons for not keeping a mustache. By wearing a similar Amish beard style, you’re showing everyone that you want the same thing as the Amish – peace, humility, and no confrontations.

It shows masculinity.

With complete and thick facial hair, it automatically initiates a masculine vibe. The types of work Amish men do can be laborious, such as construction, farming, and crafting Amish furniture, among other similar work. Their beards help reinforce a masculine culture among Amish men. It can also represent some of the famous good traits of an Amish man – loyal, religious, and strong.

How to Clean and Groom an Amish Beard

How to Clean and Groom an Amish Beard

When growing an Amish beard, it is essential to remember that an unkempt one is an eye sore. A neat beard, whatever the style may be, looks stylish and charismatic.

One may feel free to use modern products to maintain the Amish beard if not Amish. Products such as beard oil, wash, brush, and trimmers are now available in the market and online.


There are lots to an Amish beard than one could have imagined. Looking back, the history and reasons behind it are undoubtedly terrible.

If we look at today’s Amish men who still follow this specific “no shaving” rule set hundreds of years ago, one can’t help but feel astounded by all the devotion, loyalty, and religiousness these people have.

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