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How To Trim and Maintain Your Sideburns in 7 Easy Steps

How To Trim and Maintain Your Sideburns in 7 Easy Steps

Rocking sideburns is one of the boldest facial hair decisions a man can make. They give off vibes of manliness, rebellion, and rock n’ roll. If you’re going to keep your sideburns, you’re following in the footsteps of the famously bearded men.

In fact, many people consider General Burnside the OG sideburn sporter — so this trend dates back at least to the 1800s. 

In the modern-day, think of the men whose shoes you’re trying to fill: Elvis Presley, John Travolta, and Hugh Jackman — just to name a few. You’ll need to trim those sideburns diligently to get them looking top-notch. 

What To Know Before You Trim

It’s important to know what style you are going for before you start trimming since some styles use more hair than others. We’ve included a variety of popular sideburn samples in the paragraphs below, as well as specific info about how to shape each one.

Shorter sideburns that reach to the middle of the ear help frame the face, while anything longer gets into beard territory and can heavily alter the appearance of a face’s shape. This is why trimming and maintaining them is essential.

If you’re unsure of what trimming and maintaining sideburns even looks like, then you’ve come to the right place. With sideburns coming back into style, we took it upon ourselves to research everything you need to know about growing and caring for them. 

Who knows? Maybe you’re the next Elvis.

General Trimming and Maintaining

Hair growth is a fickle thing. For some people, it can take months to grow a proper beard, while for others, it may only take a few weeks. 

There’s no perfect timeline for how often you should maintain your sideburns, but it is important to learn for yourself how fast your hair grows. Once you know this, you can set up your schedule. 

Furthermore, different sideburn styles require different levels of maintenance. If you like keeping your sideburns almost buzzed, you’ll have to trim them down once or twice a week. On the other hand, someone with thicker sideburns rarely has to trim them up.

7 Easy Steps for Sideburn Maintenance

Going to the barber or hair salon frequently gets expensive, and many men can’t afford weekly trims. The alternative is learning to maintain our facial hair ourselves. There are various ways to go about this, but The Beard Club’s beard-shaping method is a sure-fire win. 

Follow these steps to get your sideburns looking clean:

  1. Take a shower and wash your hair, including your sideburns, with shampoo and conditioner. It is best to wash with warm water and then rinse off with cold water.

  2. Dry off your sideburns by lightly patting them dry or just letting them air dry a bit. Remember that we never want to dry-shave — skin and hair should be a tad damp.

  3. Brush or comb out your hair — especially those sideburns — so that they’re nice and neat.

  4. Grab your Precision Trimmer and set it to the length you desire with the guards, then go up in size just in case.

  5. Place the trimmer an inch from the bottom of your sideburns and then trim downward. Slowly make your up to the top of your ear, always trimming with the grain.

  6. Shave down the sides slightly and leave a sharp line at the bottom to make them defined. You can use a straight-edge razor for this step.

  7. Brush off loose hair and rinse your sideburns again if need be.

These seven easy steps are simple and straightforward and don’t leave much to guess about. They will give you a clean pair of sideburns that requires minimal additional styling. If you want a style that’s a bit fancier, keep reading.

Trimming Tips and Rules

There are several tips for trimming and maintaining your sideburns that don’t necessarily fit in the steps above. These are more than guidelines and general rules when you trim up the sides of your face.

Everyone Needs Sideburns

First of all, the bottom of your sideburns should never go above the top of your ear. That is much too high. Everyone needs at least a little piece of sideburn framing the face. 

Keep the base at least half an inch below the top of your ear.

Keep Your Sideburns Symmetrical

Even though it can be hard to tell, you need to make sure your sideburns line up with each other. 

A good way to do this is to use your ears as a point of reference. Since your ears are typically symmetrical, they act as a reliable measuring tool for lining up those sideburns.

Use Sharp Tools

Before trimming, make sure your trimmer and razor are nice and sharp because dull blades are more dangerous than sharp ones. You could end up accidentally nicking yourself if you put a dull blade up to your skin. Sharper blades also give a more accurate line-up.

Shave With the Grain

Lastly, do not shave against the grain! This common mistake can damage hair follicles, irritate your skin, cause ingrown hairs, or make you trim inaccurately. It is better to go with the grain, as mentioned earlier.

How To Get Specific Sideburn Styles: A Guide

Now that you have the general sideburn maintenance down, it’s time to explore specific styles. Try one, or try them all! 

Long Sideburns

These lay down a strong frame for your face and can reach down below your ear. 

The longer and thinner, the more the sideburns will lengthen the appearance of your face. The wider and thicker they are, the more they bring the focus to your face.

Skinny Sideburns

This look offers simplicity and is popular in the modern minimalist community. Men often use this style as a connector between their beards and their combed-back hair. 

This style requires beard-trimming scissors to make the sideburns skinnier, as well as a straight-edge razor to finish the job. 

Mutton Chops

Mutton chops are one of the more well-known sideburn styles because of Hugh Jackman’s role as Wolverine in the X-Men movies. 

These sideburns are long but not straight since they angle outward toward the nose and mouth. This look takes patience to grow out and precise trimming with other facial hair.

Tapered Sideburns

Thanks to advanced trimming technology, we can taper our sideburns to create precise and detailed styles. Tapering involves trimming different segments of the sideburns in different sizes for gradually shorter hair as you go down.

To Sideburn or Not To Sideburn?

Are sideburns a good facial hair style for men to pursue? It depends from person to person, but it is worth trying out, at the very least. With multiple styles to choose from, it’s easy to find a type of sideburn that matches your personal style and any other facial hair you already have.

Trying out a new style is a brave and bold decision. Here at The Beard Club, we always encourage men to take the leap and grow out a new style of facial hair, as the risks are low and the payoff can be huge.

When you grow and maintain your sideburns well, you can boost your confidence, tie your look together, and become part of the enduring legacy of this type of facial hair. What do you have to lose? 


Be Careful with Kitchen Knives - Health Encyclopedia | University of Rochester Medical Center

Should I shave against the grain? | Men's Health

Ambrose E. Burnside and His Sideburns | Georgetown University Library