There are numerous styles of beards out there, from dapper goatees to full, unshaven, mountain-man style epics of manliness. Men choose their beard styles often based on personal preference, but sometimes facial hair choices can be regulated by religious traditions. The Amish beard is one such style.
Drawing from biblical examples, the Amish wear a full beard with a unique twist; the upper lip is clean shaven, resulting in a beard with no accompanying mustache. Now, perhaps you are not an Amish man but would like to try your hand at the Amish beard. How do you grow an Amish beard? This tutorial will take you through the steps of growing an Amish beard and will touch on some tricks to maintain your new-found Amish bearded glory.
Style Points: Amish Beard Distinctives
Several elements set the Amish beard apart. Most unusually, Amish beards lack a mustache. While there are a number of facial hair styles that incorporate mustaches with no beards, beards without mustaches are rare; in fact, Amish beards are perhaps the only ones that keep the upper lip unshaven while allowing the beard itself to grow. This practice results in a truly distinctive look.
Another feature of the Amish beard is the length; once they begin growing a beard, Amish men don’t cut their beards and rarely trim them. Unlike a mountain-man beard, the Amish beard does require carefully shaving above the lip, which leads to a clearly-defined contrast important to the overall look. Today, even if you don’t want the full, “rural-1800s” look of the Amish lifestyle, the beard can be adapted to fit a more modern aesthetic.
Appeal of the Amish Beard
Amish beards have recently become a bit more popular among non-Amish men. Few men want to follow the Amish lifestyle and give up electricity or modern appliances, but the Amish beard has a broader appeal. It is very simple without the need for a lot of extra styling.
The basic shape of the Amish beard also cuts down on the number of tools needed to grow and maintain one, and the absence of a mustache eliminates some of the hygiene issues; no more getting food caught in your mustache! Also, there’s a rural appeal to an Amish beard. While I don’t want to give up electricity, I do sometimes wish I didn’t have the stress of the modern, busy lifestyle. The Amish beard speaks to a simpler way of life, one that most of us might occasionally envy.
Even if you don’t think you want to grow a full-fledged Amish beard, some of the characteristics of the Amish beard might interest you. Follow along with the tutorial, and let’s look at some of the things you’ll need to grow a magnificent Amish beard.
What You Will Need
No matter what beard style you choose, having the proper tools to maintain it is important. For the Amish beard, you will need the following:
- (Safety) Razor. Growing an Amish beard will require some shaving, which will require a good razor. Any modern razor will work, but to really recreate the Amish feel, consider shaving with an old-fashioned safety razor. As the name implies, they are less lethal than a straight razor but simpler, and often sharper, than your run-of-the-mill quadruple-bladed disposable razors. Never used a safety razor before? Read about it here: How to Shave Like Your Grandpa.
- Comb/Brush. The great enabler of any epic beard, a high-quality beard comb is a must. If you prefer a brush, that works just as well. I use a comb more, but go with whatever your beard prefers.
- Beard Shampoo. Keeping your beard clean is easier today than ever with any number of good beard shampoos out there. Find one you like, and wash your facial hair as often as you’d wash the hair on top of your head. However, pay attention to the ingredients used in the shampoo as some are harmful to your beard growth.
- Beard Oil. This will help set your beard apart. Use a high-quality, natural beard oil like this one or this one.
That’s all you’ll need! An Amish beard doesn’t require lots of fancy beard trimmers or expensive mustache waxes. Like the Amish lifestyle, the Amish beard is plain and simple but nonetheless impressive. The most important element of a majestic Amish beard is you and your hirsute face. Now let’s go through the steps of growing an Amish beard.
Six Steps to an Authentic Amish Beard (for the Modern Man)
Step One: Shave the upper lip.
This is a basic requirement for any Amish beard. With a mustache, the Amish beard becomes indistinguishable from any other full beard. Shaving the upper lip is a must, but the trickier question is whether or not to shave the cheeks and chin. The traditional Amish look involves shaving the chin, leaving the full beard below. The choice is up to you–shaving just the upper lip but not the chin results in a slightly different look, and might recall a certain President more than any Amish man.
Step Two: Establish the boundaries of the beard.
This builds on step one. If you decide to shave your chin, keep a consistent shave line. You’ll look sharper, and the unshaven chin will eventually look more natural. Amish beards typically don’t require you to shave your neck either. Let it grow and blend into the full beard.
Over time, the length of the beard will contrast nicely with the shaven chin and lack of mustache, giving your beard its Amish look. Don’t fret about the untrimmed look. Embrace it! With a little combing (more on that later), you’ll lose some of the wildness and be left with a beard that stands apart.
Step Three: Let it grow!
Start growing your beard as soon as possible for the Amish look, but remember, most Amish men delay growing a beard until marriage (click here for a more detailed look at Amish beard traditions). This means that you don’t have to feel like you’re starting an Amish beard late. Contrary to popular assumptions, Amish men don’t have majestic beards simply because they’ve never used a razor.
Even if you’re starting an Amish beard now, you can still gain one just as majestic. However, make sure to shave your upper lip (and cheeks) every day. This keeps the Amish beard style on display clearly. Don’t trim the body of the beard unless you want to modify the traditional Amish beard look and trim yours back. In general, keep as much of the length of the beard as possible.
Step Four: Clean your beard.
Keep your beard clean! It may be longer and more rugged than most modern beard styles, but that’s no reason to have a dirty beard. Amish men keep their beards clean, so wash yours daily.
Step Five: Use some basic styling.
Amish beards aren’t high-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they are no-maintenance. Be sure to use a comb or brush and a good beard oil to help keep your beard from looking too wild and unruly.
The Amish beard is a simpler style, but it is not a complete “wild-man” look, shaggy and unkempt. Your normal beard tools will come in handy here; a good brush, beard comb, beard shampoo, and beard oil will help the overall look immensely. There are even dedicated beard products inspired by the Amish beards and general lifestyle; check out the Honest Amish line of beard products. Applying beard oil to a full-length beard can be tricky. This youtube video shows exactly how to apply beard oil like a boss.
Don’t worry about the overall shape of your beard. One advantage of an Amish beard is that it highlights the differences in the shape of every man’s beard without making them look ridiculous.
Step Six: Give it time
Your Amish beard will not appear overnight. It can take several years to get a beard with the impressive length of an older Amish gentleman, but be patient. Part of growing a good beard is learning how to wear it well, and with some time, you’ll learn to wear your Amish beard as impressively as any Pennsylvania farmer.
Tips and Pointers
- Train your beard to grow downward, adding to the length of your beard. This can be done be applying your beard oil and combing daily.
- Amish beards go particularly well with round or oval faces–the length of the beard balances out the roundness of the face. Find out what shape your face is here.
- Consider the hair on the top of your head when choosing an Amish beard. Amish men typically cut their hair in a simple bowl cut, which may not work with your own style. Find a haircut that compliments the length of the beard, or consider taking a page from the Amish book and wearing a hat–maybe not a straw one, though.
Go Forth and Grow!
Personally, I’ve always loved visiting the Amish countryside in rural Pennsylvania. The Amish know how to farm, and they also know their beards. I hope you found our instructions on how to grow an Amish beard helpful. Let us know how you liked the tutorial, and what you decide to do with your own beards, in the comments below!