When you mention sideburns, one of the first things that come to mind for a lot of people are those thick, rugged, unkempt bushes of facial hair from the spaghetti Western films. Yeah, we’re looking at you Clint Eastwood and friends. Why cowboys thought it was a good idea to ride around on horseback with a mountain of fur on their face is beyond us. We can only imagine the layers of dirt that got trapped under the hairs and how hot all that hair must have been. However, you don’t have to look like you just rode in from a dusty trail in order to have sideburns. If done properly, sideburns can be a defining, attractive feature that fits nearly every facial type.
Another misconception regarding sideburns is that they have to be accompanied by some sort of beard in order to look halfway decent. But spoiler alert- properly maintained ones don’t! Just like a good, stylish haircut that fits your facial type, sideburns can be an eye-grabbing feature that draws attention to you. So grab your razor, trimmers, and cream then get ready to bring back those sideburns.
Before You Get Started
Anytime a blade is going to go near your skin and hair, it’s best to take a few minutes to prep the area. While you don’t have to go all out like you would for a full facial shave, taking the time to open your pores and soften the whiskers will make for awater much better experience.
Wash your face with hot water - Hot water opens the pores, cleans the skin, and softens the hairs giving you a much better trim or shave as well as experience. If you don’t have time to wash your face, take a hot shower and allow the steam to open your pores.
•Use a moisturizing soap- So many guys have a tendency to grab whatever bar of soap is within arm’s reach. Stop that! Bar soaps and lower quality products have a tendency to strip skin of its moisture, which not only dries the skin out, but also makes it more prone to breakouts and nicks.
•Dry your face thoroughly- Trimming your hairs while they’re wet will not only clog your shaver but also give you an uneven trim. Rubbing the hair in circles with your towel will also help lift them making it easier for the shaver to pick them up.
•Don’t apply any products until after- You want to start with a clean, product free face when trimming your sideburns. Oils, moisturizers, and creams will clog the shaver giving you an uneven, rough trim.
•Clean your shaver- If you don’t clean your shaver after every use make sure you clean it before using it. Clogged shavers can spell disaster for your face and even if there’s only a few hairs in there, it can still give you a less than perfect trim.
•Pick your sideburns like you’d pick your date- Be picky when it comes to your sideburns! Make sure you choose the right style for you. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend keeping them clean, pick something low maintenance.
Choosing the Right Sideburns
While it can be tempting to get started on trimming your sideburns right away, there’s a few things you need to consider first:
•Length-Do you want something short, long, or in between? Check out sideburn lengths on Google images before getting started.
•High vs low maintenance- You should also consider how much time you’re willing to invest in maintaining your sideburns. Certain styles such as the tapered look require a lot of upkeep. If you’re less inclined to spend time in the barber chair or bathroom trimming your facial hair, choose something low maintenance such as the short length.
•Style- Tapered sideburns are definitely trendy right now but there are a number of other styles to pick from if the faded look isn’t you. Knowing what style you want and looks best on your face is a must before putting the shaver to your face.
•Face shape- This will greatly influence what sideburns you choose. While most look good with almost any facial structure, certain styles such as the long can leave you looking less like a gentleman and more like a porn star.
•Beard style- If you have a beard or other facial hair, certain styles may not look good. For example, you probably don’t want long, thick sideburns with a baby face. While it does work for some guys, it’s certainly not a good look for everyone.
Types of Sideburns
While there are a number of ways to cut and style your sideburns, the following list is the most common and the “start” of your sideburns adventure. Keep in mind that this is just a generic starter list; you’re welcome to modify the length of the hairs, shape, and everything else to achieve the perfect pair of sideburns.
If you’re not sure what style to pick, base it on your facial shape or make a trip to the barber for expert advice.
Cropped sideburns typically finish just below the top of the ear and are extremely faded or short in nature. Although in some cases, they may extend past the ear; it’s purely personal preference at that point. You’ll often find these types of sideburns paired with very short hairstyles, faded cuts and little to no facial hair. If you’re looking for a low maintenance sideburn style, this is an in between one since it doesn’t take a lot of work to keep styled, but you will need to trim it frequently in order to maintain the length. If you keep a baby face, just incorporate your sideburn trims in with your facial hair grooming routine.
This is a universal sideburn style that works for most face types but looks most flattering on square faces. Rounder faces may notice that this style increases the fullness of their cheeks.
Short sideburns are easily the most popular style. Whether they’re trying for sideburns or not, this is typically the style most men already have so it’s easy to see why it’s the most common. This style’s popularity is also due to the fact that it looks good on all face shapes and is also low maintenance. Short sideburns can be worn with the hairs thick or thin depending on your preference.
Shorter sideburns work best when you have little facial hair (think five o’clock shadows). They also make for a clean-cut, formal look.
Long sideburns typically finish just below the earlobe but obviously they can go further depending upon the look you’re trying to achieve. More often than not, you’ll also see long sideburns accompanied by a beard of some sorts. That’s because they perfectly merge your facial hair or beard with the hair on top of your head for a polished, symmetrical appearance. However, this type of sideburn should be approached with caution if you’re not going to pair it with a beard. Full, long sideburns have a tendency to give off Ron Jeremy vibes if you catch our drift so be careful. We highly recommend looking up images that you look for design ideas before getting started if you choose the no beard route.
Long sideburns are perfect for men with broader, fuller faces as they tend to elongate the face.
The tapered sideburns look is becoming increasingly popular thanks to faded haircuts and the Iraqi barber videos. Tapering refers to the process of gradually shortening the length of hair, creating a faded look. For sideburns, the hair will be thickest around your temple with the thinnest part being near a specific area of your ear; typically just before the lobe.
Tapered sideburns typically work best with some sort of facial hair but can definitely be pulled off without any as well. Also, this look works well for all types of facial shapes; especially since the length and fade will depend upon personal preference and beard length.
While this is definitely a high maintenance look, it’s definitely one of the most eye catching ones too and is sure to garner a lot of attention.
Picking the Right Sideburns for Your Facial Shape
Now that you’re familiar with the different lengths of sideburns, it’s time to consider your facial shape. If you’re not sure how to figure out what facial shape you have, use the picture above for reference.
•Oblong- Shorter sideburns are typically the way to go as they shorten your face and fill out the sides. However if your face is long as well as narrow, you’ll want to opt for long, thicker sideburns to add width.
•Oval- Medium lengths that finish around the middle of your ear are very flattering. Longer styles tend to make your chin look pointy and draws attention to it so avoid them.
•Square- For these types of faces, the best compliment to your square jawline is a long style that reaches the bottom of your ear. Not only will this add much-needed dimension to your face, but it will also help narrow your face as well.
•Round- Long sideburns will slim your face and help break up the roundness. These types of sideburns will also help length your face, giving it some dimension. While bushy sideburns tend to be popular with round-faced guys, these actually work against you by making your face appear fuller than it is.
•Triangle- Short to medium styles will balance out facial types that are wider at the bottom. Pairing short to medium sideburns with a beard will also really bring your look together.
•Diamond- Just above the ear and medium styles work best for this facial type. Avoid bushy sideburns as these can make your cheekbones appear wider than they actually are. Beards will also compliment this type of face nicely.
Time to Trim
Now that you’ve picked the right style for you, prepped your face, and cleaned your shaver, it’s time to get started.
Comb the sideburns- Comb them in the direction that the hair grows; typically down. This will not only help your shaver pick up the hairs, but it will also prevent snags. You don’t want to rough up the hairs or force them to stand up like you do with your beard hairs. The hair on your sideburns is much softer than your beard hair so it’s not difficult for the shaver to pick them up.
Adjust your clippers to a number 3- Regardless of how thin you want your sideburns, you’ll want to start at a 3. You can always go shorter, but you can’t go longer so make a pass with a 3. If it’s still not short enough, gradually lower the number until you reach the desired length.
Shave from the bottom up- While some guides recommend shaving with the hairs, we recommend going from the bottom of your sideburn up. You’ll get a much more even, clean cut this way. Plus it’ll take a lot less passes if you go against the grain. However, if you have sensitive skin and are prone to breakouts/razor burn, we recommend shaving with the grain.
Blend if necessary- If the sideburns are dramatically different in comparison to the hairs around your temple and back of the ears, consider blending them for a more uniform, clean look.
Reduce your clipper length- Switch your 3 out for a 2 or shorter depending on your preference and trim over the bottom part of your sideburns again. This will help fade the sideburns into the rest of your face. Obviously if you’re going for a bushier look to pair with your full beard, skip this step.
Define the sideburns- Apply a shaving oil or gel around the edges of your sideburns and use a straight razor or safety razor to clean up the area for a sharp finish.
Hydrate your skin- Use an aftershave tonic or lotion to soothe your skin after the shave.
Admire your work- Now that you’ve got some bad ass sideburns, admire yourself in the mirror for a bit then show them off! We guarantee that your girlfriend will be impressed!
EZ Blade Shaving Oil or Gel- When edging your sideburns, you want to use a gel or oil to protect your skin from the blade. Never dry shave your face with a straight razor or safety blade. Our gels go on colored but quickly turn clear giving you excellent visibility for your shave. Not only will our products protect your skin from the blade, but they also hydrate your skin and prevent nicks.
EZ Blade After Shave Tonic or Cream- Our EZ Blade products not only smell great, but they provide excellent hydration while extending the life of your shave. Tonics are lightweight oils that are quickly absorbed while creams are heavier moisturizers that tend to sit on top of the skin. Which one you use is purely up to you.
EZ Blade Safety Razor or Straight Razor- If you’re still using a 6 bladed monstrosity to shave your face, drop it. You only need one sharp blade to get a precision shave that lasts much longer than any 6 bladed shaver can give. Our straight razors and safety razors are trusted by barbers all over so you know you’re going to get a quality shave from our products.