Congratulations! You’ve finally conquered your ideal hairstyle. But now comes the question of how to style your sideburns. Those often overlooked patches of hair on the side of your face are a complex component to any man’s hair style. And considering they shape the face in a way than can be expressed in countless ways, it pays to have a few tips in your back pocket. Sideburn styles.
Some prefer sharp ‘burns, while others enjoy no ‘burns at all. And that’s fine, because once you understand what each sideburn option looks like, you can navigate through your next barbershop experience with confidence.
After all, the whole point of a carefully curated mane is to leave that chair with the best look. So we’ve taken the guesswork out of sideburns and broke down a few prominent styles to check out. The reality is that your sideburns don’t have to be as long-lasting as a haircut, which means you can experiment.
But first a word of advice: do NOT experiment with your sideburns at home. We know you may be incredibly skilled in the art of self-hair care, but when it comes to artistic sideburns, find a barber who knows what they’re doing. This will save you the inevitable trip to the chair, having a barber fix what you’ve attempted to create. Trust us, it’s okay to not be skilled in sideburns. That’s why there are trained professionals to help you along the way.
This is a no brainer, as it means you have no sideburns at all. Your barber trims your sideburns to about the level at the top of your ear, leaving no hair at the sides of your face. If you have a round face, this is typically not the best look for you, as it often provides no shape to your face, making it look even fuller than it is.
On the flip side, if your face is oblong in shape, this might be a good look. No sideburns is just as big of a commitment as very long ones, so be sure you’re ready for that if you choose to trim them off.
With short sideburns, your barber will often trim the thickest part, in order to end anywhere from the top to the middle of your ear. That way there, is some length on the sides, but not nearly enough to consider a “long” sideburn. These short sideburns will typically end on a square and work well with narrow faces.
However, in some cases you can fade a short sideburn into a thin line which would end near the lobe at a point. This creates just enough of a tight look for fuller jawlines without having to surrender to a full sized burn which might not look as good on your face.
Keep in mind, though, to have your barber navigate the evenness of sideburns by your face and not your ears. Ears can sometimes be off in size, leading to an uneven pair of sideburns. Always line up the burns, and not the lobes.
Categorically “long” sideburns typically come down from below the middle of the ear, and end anywhere from the lobe to the jawline (the latter resulting in a very long sideburn). For a more round face, longer lengths are ideal, as they create an illusion of a longer shape to the face with a narrow appearance.
Sideburns this long can end in a number of ways: at a rectangle, a square, a point, even rounded or a swirl if you’re trying to keep things interesting. They can even thin out and lead into a chin strap. The important thing to note is how they shape your face. Make sure your barber is very honest.
Of course, that isn’t the real name for these sideburns, but you know exactly what they look like when you hear the name. With “Elvis” sideburns, the burns are mid-level or longer, ending on a flat rectangle that juts out further into the cheek. How far these burns travel toward the middle of the face is entirely up to you.
Some create a slight jut inward (like Elvis), while others travel further at a point toward the nose. If your face is a diamond shape, you can work with these sideburns, but beware or them looking too full because your face will appear fuller than it is.
Mutton Chops are long sideburns that end fuller than they begin (in most other cases it’s the opposite). The “chops” are typically bushy, and ideal for rounder faces. These chops can give off the illusion of a slimmer face. It’s best to experiment with your mutton chops. They can extend to the corners of your mouth or lead right into a mustache/beard. Remember though: these require maintenance, so be prepared for a lengthy commitment to your chops.