Know How: Sideburns

Know How: Sideburns

Expert advice on growing trimming and styling your sideburns - whatever your cheeks' hair growth is like.

Sideburns draw attention to your facial features and need to be given as much consideration as the rest of your mug. Just as there are men who can't grow a full beard, there are those who face the same issues with their sideburns. But there are remedies to every situation.


For many short to medium hairstyles the best way to cover the lack of sideburn growth is to fade or "taper" the sideburns. The taper can range from subtle to severe, depending on the preferred style. Either way, it creates a sense of individuality in an otherwise common hairstyle and camouflages a lack of sideburns.


The other option is to "grow" a pair of sideburns. This trick works best for men that enjoy wearing hairstyles anywhere from medium length to long. Here's how: Separate a small portion of hair that grows just in front of your ears and trim to your desired sideburn length.


Determining the length of sideburns should be based on two things: face shape and personality. Sideburn lengths can range anywhere from short (top of the ear), extra-long (bottom of the ear), to mutton chops, and anywhere in between. If the look is more conservative the width of sideburns shouldn't exceed 1 ½", Wider (greater that 1 ½") sideburns assume a more creative look in style - and most likely - career choice. The face shape is another factor to consider. The longer the face the shorter the sideburns should be. Consequently, the shorter the face the longer the sideburns can go (within reason). Medium length sideburns (just above the center of the ear) and penciled (or pointed) styles are among the most common and popular. Mutton chops can be found in smaller, more creative circles. But, personality is always a factor as to what look works best.


Last but not least is maintenance. Let's start with how to keep these sideburns even. My famous "pointer finger" test works flawlessly every time! Take both index fingers and place them at the bottom of your left and right sideburn. Have a look in the mirror, and take notice of which finger is higher on the side of your face than the other. If you like the length of the higher one, trim the longer one a little at a time (while continuing to use the "pointer finger" test) until it's even with the other.
The easiest way to keep them under control (no matter the shape or size), is with a pair of trimmers. These will not only let you create, but also maintain your desired length. Because sideburns can be a combination of beard hair and head hair, consider trimming them every 2-3 days.
To keep them close, start with the highest number guard and work your way down the numbers to get the desired length, trimming up (jaw to temple) to remove the most bulk. To keep the bulk and remove the stray hairs, trim downward (temple to jawline), which also gives a smoother appearance.

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