To wear or not to wear, sideburns, like any other facial hairstyle, is a personal choice of everyman. Sideburns; patches or sections of facial hair grown on the sides of the face, which extend from the hairline to the jawline and everywhere in between, and always worn with an unbearded chin, are often dictated by style and fashion, and have been making statements about the times and the men for centuries.
“Designed” facial hair, sideburns were officially named back in the 1800’s after a man, Ambrose Burnside, a Union Army general of the American Civil War, who apparently wore them better than anyone else and… I can’t argue with that! Yes, we have this man and his awesome “mutton chops” to thank for giving sideburns their name and fame.
And, although we rarely see such dramatic sideburns now a days, and typically associate them to famous people who so proudly and stylishly boast them, and make them a part of their identity – think Elvis – sideburns still hold their status of individual expression for the rest of us. Often an untapped avenue of style, sideburns don’t have to play by fashion’s rules; making any and all types acceptable in today’s world. They truly are a unique reflection of a man and his lifestyle.
Sideburns transcend fashion, and can be used like other facial hair to “redesign” a face by accentuating or downplaying features and skin quality – an advantage we have over women. Features like cheekbones, jawlines and head shapes can all be enhanced and complimented by particular styles. High foreheads, thin or full faces, large noses and ears can be minimalized by the proper shape and placement of sideburns. Utilize this area of facial hair to make the most of your appearance. Don’t be afraid to do something other than the norm. If you’re uncertain about which style to go with, talk with your hairstylist or barber for professional input.
Keep in mind that sideburns are facial hair, and not scalp hair, so the style you choose is often dependant on the amount and density of facial hair that grows in the cheek area of your face. Sparse growth will be more limiting than normal to heavy growth in determining a style, so be sure your hair can support whichever style you choose.
Styling sideburns can be challenging, especially the more dramatic they are. Difficulty in achieving a balanced, even pair that sits symmetrically on both sides of your face is not uncommon. Typically, we use our earlobes as a guide, but because so many of us have ears that differ in size and length, it’s safer to either measure the length of the sideburn, or eyeball an imaginary line going from the bottom of one, across your face, to the bottom of the other to match the lengths. If you still have trouble matching them up, take yourself to a good barber who can fix you up.
There are various styles of sideburns to choose from: short, mid-length, long, close cropped to full blown – the sky’s the limit! The internet has countless pictures ranging from conservative to wild, so there is something for everyone. When deciding on a burn style, don’t forget to factor in your job and other lifestyle conditions, so you’ll be sure to choose an appropriately acceptable style. The great thing about hair is it grows quickly and can be restyled easily without much risk. So, feel free to mix it up and change your sideburns for varying occasions and events, or just to have a new look.
Tasteful sideburns will only up your image and confidence, as you portray your uniqueness and individuality. Make them work for you!
by Aaron Marino