Can Native Americans Grow Beards? Surprising Facial Hair Truth

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Are Native Americans supposed to have no facial hair?

That’s what many people believe, thanks to Hollywood. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, some native tribes are known for their thick beards and mustaches.

So why is it that most movies show Native American men with clean-shaven faces? It probably has something to do with costuming and make-up. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any bearded Native Americans – there are.

Why don't Native Americans have Facial Hair

Do Native Americans Have Facial Hair?

Some do have facial hair, while others do not. It’s hard to tell if a person is Indigenous American or not, solely based on their lack of facial hair. They can definitely grow facial hair, though it’s often sparse and soft.

Truth is, they do not have facial hair because they are not genetically predisposed to it, but more because it’s a cultural tradition or societal norm that they don’t often deviate from. However, some tribal groups see their elders with facial hair as a sign of wisdom.

Why Don’t Native Americans Have Facial Hair?

Many people mistakenly believe that being American Indian means you don’t have facial hair. There are many theories as to why Native Americans have no facial hair, but the most likely explanation is due to a genetic mutation affecting some of the male population.

Seen below is the Union Civil War General, Ely Parker, of the Seneca people. He helped to write the terms of surrender between the Confederate States of America and the United States. Though sparse, he’s wearing a mustache and goatee beard.

Ely Parker with a Mustache and Goatee Beard
Ely Parker with a Mustache and Goatee Beard.

Another theory is as part of a religious ritual or simply prefer not to have facial hair as part of their social norm.

It’s true that some Native American tribes, such as the Lakota and Cherokee, have a history of shaving their heads as part of religious ceremonies. However, this does not mean that certain groups are incapable of growing facial or body hair.

Does Ethnicity Affect Facial Hair Growth?

Most experts believe that genetics is the most significant factor in beard growth, regardless of ethnicity. Native Americans and East Asians have similar beard growth characteristics due to some shared ancestry.

So, ethnicity does not necessarily affect facial hair growth, but some races have shown that facial hair grows slowly, sparsely or not at all.

There are a number of factors that can affect facial hair growth, including hormones, health conditions and diet. Some people simply have a genetic predisposition for slow-growing or sparse facial hair.

Facts About Native American Facial Hair

Original native inhabitants have a long history in America, and contrary to popular belief, beards have been common among some groups for centuries. Some tribes grow a beard while others don’t, and there is variation in beard color among Native American men.

Can Native Americans grow beards?
Can Native Americans grow beards?

American Indian facial hair is often sparse and fine, with a slow rate of growth . This can be attributed to a number of factors, including diet and genetics. While some American Indians can grow thick, full beards, others may only be able to grow a thin mustache or light goatee.

Overall, American Indians can grow beards, but the thickness and fullness of the beard will vary depending on the individual.

Here are five surprising FACIAL HAIR TRUTHS that you might not have known:

  1. Some tribes grow beards and moustaches as a sign of masculinity and power.
  2. Bearded men are seen as more attractive by many women, both in the United States and around the world.
  3. A beard is an important part of traditional ceremonies for some tribes, including the Navajo and the Hopi.
  4. In some cultures, facial hair is seen as a sign of wisdom, and respected elders are often bearded.
  5. Have less facial hair than other groups, on average, but this varies depending on the tribe.

Myths About the Native American Beard?

Do native Americans have facial hair?
Do native Americans have facial hair?

There are many myths about American Native men and their facial hair. One popular myth is that they cannot grow beards. This is not true!

They can definitely grow facial hair, despite what many people believe. While it is true that some men cannot grow beards, this isn’t because of any hair genetic or cultural reasons.

Did Native Americans Shave?

In many cultures, facial hair is seen as a sign of masculinity. For Indigenous Americans, however, this was not necessarily the case. In some tribes, men actually plucked their facial hair as a sign of bravery. In other tribes, both men and women would shave their heads as a sign of mourning.

So, there’s no clear answer whether Native Americans shaved. Some historical evidence suggests that some tribes did shave, while other evidence suggests that most did not. It’s possible that different tribes had different customs in regards to shaving, or the practice of shaving may have varied over time. However, one thing is clear: beards were not commonly worn by Native People.

Shaving with Obsidian

Obsidian is a hard, black stone used to make razor blades and other sharp objects. It is a hybrid of a full and a half hollow blade, to capture the best aspects of both.

It was believed the obsidian blade was used in the old days to shave. It also has no handle attached, which makes it scary.

Beard Growing Tips for Native Americans

If you’re looking to grow a beard in accordance with Indigenous American culture, you might be surprised by the ancestral makeup that affects beard growth.

The Blackfoot and Sioux tribes have maintained their genetic makeup longer than other tribes, which has helped them grow beards more easily. Like with anyone, you can improve beard growth by taking supplements, drinking plenty of water, eating protein and using growth oils like jojoba oil for beards.

No matter your ancestral origin, regular grooming can make your beard look nicer and be easier to style. Beard moisturizer and conditioning shampoo can help keep your beard looking and feeling great.

FAQ

Why do Native Americans have facial hair that is sparser than usual?

American Indian men inherited sparse facial hair patterns from their ancestors and the reason, though speculated, is undetermined. This became more common to see passed down through the men, and many people mistakenly think that being Indigenous American means you can’t grow facial hair.

Can Native Americans help Beard Growth?

As with any man faced with slow beard growth, a few options that can help. Improving your diet by eating foods known to stimulate hair growth. Next, topical treatments like beard growth oils and medications like Minoxidil. Also, taking the right vitamins and supplements to strengthen beard hair.

Do Native Americans Have Body Hair?

It’s unclear why Native People don’t have as much body hair as other races, but it’s most likely because of cultural reasons. So it seems more common that body hair is kept thin and limited to certain areas.

Why Don’t I Ever See Any Bald Native Americans?

Male pattern baldness is less common in Native Americans, and most keep their hair as they age. There are a few people who choose to shave their heads for personal style, but the vast majority do it for ceremonial reasons.

A note on terminology

I realize that society and culture are rapidly changing. So, with pride and dignity to my great grandmother, who hailed from the Lenni-Lenape Tribe, now the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, I’m sensitive to the societal people references made here and all terms were cross-referenced from Smithsonian: Learning about the Native American People and Culture.

By Eric Melillo

I'm the co-owner of B&B. I live in Guilford, Connecticut and I've been obsessed with bald & beard styles & trends for over 20 years..