Are Sikhs Allowed to Pluck or Thread Their Eyebrows?

Close up of Asian woman tweezing eyebrows
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Sikhs are not allowed to pluck or thread their eyebrows. Removal of any hair is prohibited in Sikhism, so threading eyebrows, plucking or waxing is not okay for one who wishes to live according to the intention of the creator and maintain Sikh values.

Keeping each and every hair (kes) on the head, face and body intact is a fundamental tenet essential to Sikhism. You may notice that some Sikh women have facial hair.

This is because devout Sikh women adhere to the Sikhism code of conduct, the teachings of Gurmat, and the scriptures of Gurbani which revere every hair.

Reasons Why

The Sikhism code of conduct, a document titled Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM), defines a Sikh as one who believes in baptism and initiation as prescribed by Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. Upon initiation, a Sikh is instructed to honor the kes and keep all hair intact or face consequences.

The code of conduct instructs Sikh parents to not to entertain any aversion to their child's hair, not to meddle with the kes in any way and to keep kes completely intact. The tenets of Sikhism are to be observed from birth onward, throughout a Sikh's entire life, until death. A Sikh who violates the code and cuts or dishonors the hair in any way such as plucking eyebrows is considered to be in breach of conduct and is referred to as patit, or sinner and must apply for penance and reinstatement.

Case in Point

A young woman denied entrance by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) into a Sikh university, because she plucked her eyebrows, challenged the decision in the supreme high court of India. In May of 2009, a unanimous ruling by "the full bench of justices JS Khehar, Jasbir Singh and Ajay Kumar Mittal in a 152-page order said keeping unshorn hair was an essential and most fundamental component of the Sikh religion." Asserting that "unshorn hair was an inalienable part of Sikh" identity, the court upheld the denial of admission by Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research based on the student's failure to adhere to Sikh tenets by plucking her eyebrows.