Why Do Amish Have Bowl Cuts (Amish Men’s Hair Cut)?

In my years as a theologian, I have developed a keen interest in the Amish people and have learned quite a great deal about them. I am particularly drawn to their cultural and religious practices, like their bowl haircuts. To further my research, I visited the Amish Country in Ohio and Pennsylvania and some parts of Russia to learn more about the Amish people, and my findings were fascinating. Interestingly in one of my recent classes, several of my students couldn’t help but mention how easily the Amish men could be identified because of their bowl-like haircuts. While it was something to chuckle about, it still brought forth the question, why do Amish have bowl cuts?

Amish men have bowl cuts, and they tend to keep their hair short because they believe that their hair should be a reflection of the men’s service to God. The Amish men deem long hair as a sign of vanity, and they keep their hair short and never longer than the bottom part of their earlobes. Additionally, the Amish men opt for the bowl-cut hairstyle in which the hair is cut right above the earlobes (hence the name bowl cut).

In this post, I’ll share more insights into Amish men’s bowl haircut, the reasons for clipping Amish men’s hair halfway down the forehead, and how the hairstyle came to be. Keep reading to learn more. 

What is the Amish Bowl Haircut?

The Amish Bowl haircut, also called the mushroom hairstyle, refers to the symmetrical and short hairstyle with a neat fringe at the forehead. This hairstyle also features uniformly trimmed but longer hairs on the sides and the back. In most cases, the bowl haircut is common with boys and men who have their bangs clipped about halfway to the forehead.

This hairstyle is common among adolescents, and it’s also worth noting that there is no separation of the hair strands when getting the haircut. Also, this hairstyle doesn’t apply to all men, with unmarried men having different hairstyles, so most mothers will let their sons grow longer than the standard Amish man’s haircut just before they get married. 

Where did the Amish bowl cut come from?

Amish Men’s Hair Cut
Where did the Amish bowl cut come from? Image source: Pinterest

Notably, the Amish bowl haircut gets its name from how this hairstyle was created during the medieval ages in Europe, where a bowl would be placed over the boys’ heads and used as a trimming guide. 

Essentially, the Amish Group sprouted as one of the outgrowths that embraced conservatism during the Protestant Renaissance. At the time, the farmers established that Germany and the Netherlands were looking for a way of life that would allow them to adhere closely to the Doctrines of Jesus Christ and in line with the teachings of the bible. The Amish were regarded as the ‘plain people’ or the Anabaptists, and one of their religion’s tenets were to lead a sinless, simple, and quiet life. As a result, European men adopted bowl hairstyles from the 12th and 15th centuries (note that the Russian serfs started adopting this hairstyle in the 18th century).

The hairstyle lived on, although its popularity declined in the medieval era. The cropped hairstyle was common among religious officials and even warriors. However, the Great Depression of the 1930S meant that more people needed to clip their hair at home, so the bowl cut became quite popular across America, Canada, and other parts of the world

Do the Amish use a specific bowl when doing bowl cuts?

In the earlier days, the Amish men’s bowl cuts were done using bowls, which was essentially a customary activity, but that’s no longer the case. Today, bowl cuts don’t involve using bowls, and trimming hair is done without bowls. Opting to use the traditional razor or pair of scissors to attain the simple mushroom or bowl haircut. Some people will, however, still opt to use a bowl to cut their hair.  

What other haircut styles do Amish men have?

Why Do Amish Have Bowl Cuts?
What other haircut styles do Amish men have? Image source: Pixabay

Besides the popular bowl cut, Amish men often keep their hair short and natural. Since they aren’t allowed to dye their hair, most Amish men also opt for a clean-shaven look and shave their hair religiously every two weeks. 

Men about to get married, on the other hand, often keep their hair longer, but they choose their preferred hairstyle after the ceremony. As a sign of humility and obedience to God’s commands, the Amish men also wear hats on their clean-shaven heads or over their bowl-cut hairs.

Amish men and boys are also known for wearing the broad-brimmed black hats, which they pair with suspenders, dark-colored suits, solid-color shirts, broadfall pants, and black shoes/ socks.

Can Amish women also have bowl cuts?

No, the Amish men do not have bowl haircuts. Instead, the Amish men keep their hair long and never cut their hair. The reason why Amish women never cut their hair is because they believe that it is what’s commanded and required of them, as outlined by scripture in 1 Corinthians 11:15. The Amish believe that women should keep their hair long always as a way of retaining their glory.  

In addition to not cutting hair, Amish women are also not allowed to use artificial products to dye or extravagantly style their hair. They are required to keep their hair in a bun starting from the crown of the head and then secured with a snood. 

The women also wear a white covering over their heads called the Prayer Kapp, which they believe is essential for them always to be ready to pray. It’s believed that Amish women must always have the Kapp on because it signifies that they are always ready to pray.

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