Members of the Sikh faith live by the five Ks: kirpan (steel sword), kaccha (cotton underwear), kanga (wooden comb), kara (steel bracelet), and kesh (uncut hair). Long hair is a sign of strength and holiness. Keeping the hair natural symbolizes faith in the wisdom of Waheguru — the Sikh god. Moving beyond vanity is viewed as a sign of spiritual maturity. This style, which derives from the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh, provides group solidarity. As the saying goes, “one should only bow their head to a guru, not a barber.”
Sikh women are subjected to the same grooming restrictions as men. They are not allowed to cut any hair on their body — not even their eyebrows. Bollywood and Western media have a powerful impact on expected norms. Many Sikh women have abandoned the rigorous discipline for the popular conception of beauty.