How To Trim Sideburns The Right Way: A Quick Guide

How To Trim Sideburns The Right Way

Maintaining good-looking sideburns can be quite tricky and is often the biggest challenge for men when grooming their facial hair. Sideburns are widely viewed as a staple of masculinity, and they have the ability to make or break a man’s look. 

This is why it’s essential for every man to have the knowledge of how to trim sideburns the right way. 

These are the key points men should keep in mind when grooming their sideburns.

  1. Picking a sideburn style that suits their facial structure and enhances their features
  2. Not being too liberal when trimming. A sideburn that’s longer than the other can be trimmed to match, but cutting one too short can’t be undone.
  3. Making sure to never trim sideburns above the mid-ear area.
  4. Trimming sideburns into a natural shape in terms of length and width.

Making the right decisions with your sideburns can have a dramatic boost on your look and confidence. Choosing the right sideburn style can be tricky, so can the process of trimming them into that style. 

Not to worry, we’re here to help you get your sideburns looking just right. This is how to trim sideburns the right way.

Trimming Your Own Sideburns

  1. Make sure your hair is clean and product-free.
  2. Comb your sideburns towards the direction of hair growth (usually downwards).
  3. Set your trimmer to your preferred length.
  4. Hold your trimmer vertically, and start trimming downwards.
  5. Comb your sideburns horizontally in both directions and trim excess hair.
  6. To ensure an even cut-off line, trim the bottom parallel to the ground.
  7. Use your fingers to check that your sideburns are matching. Don’t use your ears as a gauge because ears are often asymmetrical and can throw you off.

If you’re going to trim your sideburns yourself, you should always do it in front of a mirror. Trying to trim your sideburns evenly without seeing what you’re doing is a nearly impossible task and a disaster in the making. 

Whenever possible, the better option is to have someone trim your sideburns for you. This is because when trimming your own sideburns, it’s difficult to keep your head steady. Tilting your head ever so slightly can make you end up with uneven sideburns.

A good way to go is to enlist the help of a friend or family member with sharp vision and steady hands. Make sure to be sitting at eye level with them so they can clearly see what they’re doing.

Using a Facial Comb

The facial comb is a highly underrated tool when it comes to sideburn trimming. These small, closely spaced combs significantly boost the precision with which you can trim your facial hair. These nifty tools are often sold together with cutting clippers and are meant to be used with them.

They can be used to comb sideburns forward and backward and expose excess hairs which should then be trimmed with clippers. Also, putting the comb into your sideburns at an angle will make excess hairs accessible and make trimming them an easier task.

Facial Shapes and Sideburns That Fit Them

Facial Shapes and Sideburns That Fit Them

There are many variations of sideburn styles you can choose from, picking the one that’s right for you depends on your hairstyle and facial structure. Here are some facial shapes and the sideburn styles that fit them.

Oval-Shaped Face

This facial structure is most complimented with sideburns that extend towards the middle of the ear. If this is your facial shape and you opt for longer sideburns, the pointiness of your chin will be accentuated.

Keeping your sideburns short will aid in diverting people’s eyes to other aspects of your face.

Square-Shaped Face

Men with this facial shape should consider longer sideburn styles that extend to the bottom of the ear. This will make their face look slimmer and make square jawlines less apparent

Oblong-Shaped Face

If your face has this structure, you will benefit from adopting a shorter, wider style of sideburns. Such styles will make your face appear shorter and will suit the shape of your jawline.

Triangle-Shaped Face

Whether longer or shorter sideburns are more suited for a triangle-shaped face depends on the width of the lower portion of it. If your lower face is wide, shorter sideburns are the better option to balance it out

On the other hand, if your face is wide at the jawline, you should go for longer sideburns. This will help offset that wideness.

Round-Shaped Face

If your face is round, longer sideburns are the way to go. Adopting a longer style will help give your cheeks an elongated look, and in turn, emphasize your jawline.

Diamond-Shaped Face

This is another facial structure that is most suited for sideburns that end around the ears’ mid-level. This sideburn length will help draw the eyes away from a pointy, prominent chin.

Sideburn Styles

Sideburn Styles

Now that we’ve gone over which lengths and widths of sideburns suit each facial structure, here are some possible styles that may suit you:

Long Sideburns

These are sideburns that extend to right below the ear. They frame the face nicely, and the facial shape they go well with is dependent on how wide or narrow you trim them.

If you have a round, broad, or square face you should give your long sideburns a slimmer finish. This is because thinner sideburns give the face an elongated look. On the other hand, if your face is on the longer side, trimming your sideburns wider is the way to go.

Long sideburns are also a great choice if you’re going for a faded beard look, they make your beard look more streamlined as it blends right into your sideburns.

Short Sideburns

Going for a clean, formal look? Then short sideburns are the choice for you. This style is suitable if you prefer to be clean-shaven and don’t have much facial hair.

The key for short sideburns is to make sure that they finish above the bottom of your ears. You can also change up the look of your short sideburns by having their cut-off line at different angles.

Skinny Sideburns

These sideburns go hand in hand with short, combed back hair. If you’re going to go with this style, we recommend you have them extended to the bottom of your ears. This style is also great for elongating the face.

You should use clippers to give your sideburns the skinny shape, and then take out your razor and sharpen the finish.

Skinny sideburns are high maintenance as they require the constant removal of stray hairs. However, the extra effort will be worth your while as this style looks amazing whether you are clean-shaven or merged with your beard.

Mutton Chops

Wondering what mutton chop sideburns look like? Think Wolverine. This bold style involves long sideburns that end at the corners of your lips, and get wider and wider as they go further down.

Mutton chop sideburns work best if your chin is clean-shaven, and are perfect for accentuating high, angular jawlines. 

There are many variations of the mutton chop style with different lengths, densities, and widths.

To incorporate this style, let your sideburns grow until they blend with your beard, and then use clippers to create the desired shape. Make sure to comb the hairs down to keep your mutton chops in tip-top form.

Ice Pick Sideburns

Ice pick sideburns are an extreme variation of skinny sideburns combined with tapered sideburns. They’re extra-slim pointy sideburns that are tapered, creating a faded look. 

This edgy style is sure to make you stand out from the crowd, however, it will require frequent visits to your barber for maintenance if you want to keep it looking fresh.

Tapered Sideburns

This style gives your sideburns a faded look. It involves gradually varying the length of your sideburn hair, with the maximum thickness being in the vicinity of your temple. 

The area of your face where your sideburn hair should be the shortest depends on how far down your face you want your sideburns to go, and on whether you’re going to merge your sideburns with your beard.

If you’re going to go with this style, you need to know that it requires regular maintenance in order to look good. You’ll be constantly tending to stray hairs and trimming them to keep your sideburns looking fresh.

For men with uneven hair growth, tapered sideburns are a lifesaver, as they help cover up any inconsistencies in hair length.

Blending Your Sideburns With Your Beard

If you’re a bearded gentleman, you’re going to want to make the transition from your sideburns to your beard as streamlined and seamless as possible. This can be tricky because sideburns grow faster than beards.

We’re here to provide some tips and tricks to assist you in doing just that.

When trimming your sideburns, you should do so at an angle that’s consistent with the angle with which your beard grows. Make sure to make the edges of your sideburns aligned with those of your beard.

Next, determine the length you prefer and set your clippers at that it. Picking the best length is a matter of deciding which length will give your sideburn/beard combo the most natural look.

Following the direction of your hair’s growth, start trimming your sideburns. Having them end between your ear and the widest part of your face. In order to get the best result, experiment with different ‘guards’ or levels on your clippers to gauge how much hair you need to trim.

Keep in mind that if they end up too long, you can always trim them further. However, making them too short will be near impossible to rectify.

Now you should start trimming hair from the portion of your beard that will meet your sideburns, and work your way downwards. Make sure to follow the natural direction of your jawline.

Ensure that your sideburns and beard are the same length when they merge. If you have tapered sideburns make sure the progression of hair length looks natural.

When you are done, use a facial brush and a beard brush to finalize your masterpiece.

Trimming Sideburns With Long Hair

Trimming Sideburns With Long Hair

If you have a longer hairstyle or are growing your hair into one, you may be unsure as to how to deal with your sideburns. 

The issue is that while your hair grows down (or up if you have curly hair), sideburns grow outwards. This can make them look out of control, so you should trim your sideburns every now and then when you’re growing your hair out to keep them tame.

How Long Should They Be?

The answer to this question depends on your hair type. If your hair grows straight down, you should consider trimming your sideburns to be not that dense so that they’re not sticking out. 

If your hair is curly and grows upwards and outwards, you should trim your sideburns a bit denser so that they’re consistent with your hairstyle.

When it comes to length, your sideburns’ cut-off line should be at the mid-ear level or lower. If you have a beard, make sure that your sideburns blend with it nicely.

The key is to make your sideburns look natural relative to your hair.

Scissors Or Clippers?

Scissors or clippers can be used to trim your sideburns. The look you want to achieve will determine which is the better option for you.

If you’re looking for a tidy, faded look, you should go with electric clippers. This is especially true if your hairstyle involves shorter hair on the sides. 

  • Use a facial comb to raise your sideburn hair up and start trimming upwards. 
  • You can trim your sideburns at a consistent length throughout, or you can taper them to get thicker as they blend into your hair.

If you’re going for a more unruly aesthetic, you can trim your sideburns with scissors.

  • Identify where your sideburn hair is too long by using your fingers to hold it out away from your face. 
  • Hold your scissors with the blades pointing upwards, and use the ends of the blades to trim. 
  • Keep trimming until you’ve reached your preferred length and your sideburns are even with each other.

Work slowly and methodically to avoid making a mistake and trimming too much, and more importantly, to avoid injury.

Maintaining Your Sideburns

Now that you’ve trimmed your sideburns into the length and shape that’s right for you, you want to keep them looking sleek and fresh for as long as possible. That’s why it’s extremely important to know how to maintain them.

Maintaining Your Sideburns

Beard oil is a great option as it softens your sideburn hair as it grows, giving it a clean, tidy appearance.

If you’re unable to get your hands on beard oil, coconut oil is an excellent substitute. It also acts as a hair softener and protective layer for your sideburns. 

Coconut oil is also widely regarded as a stimulant of hair growth, as well as a great skin moisturizer which is an added bonus. Castor oil and almond oil are great options too.

You also need to ensure that you apply conditioner to your sideburns (and facial hair in general) after you wash them. Neglecting this from your hair grooming routine can have highly negative consequences on your sideburns’ appearance.

Why Are Sideburns Important?

You may be wondering why we’re making such a big deal out of sideburns. Here are some reasons why sideburns are worth the fuss.

Frame The Face

The right frame can make a work of art look even better. With that same token, having sideburns with a style that fits your facial structure can work wonders for your appearance.

Confidence Booster

Sideburns can alter your aesthetic in a major way. Having a pair of freshly trimmed sideburns will make you look better and feel more confident. They are also a great way to cover up acne, scars, or any undesired blemishes on your face.

Looking Your Best

Sideburns have a significant effect on your appearance from a front and side view. Your majestic beard and sleek hairstyle can potentially be going to waste If your sideburns are not trimmed at a length, shape, and density that suits them and suits your facial structure.


Sideburns are an essential component of every man’s look, so it’s important to know how to trim sideburns the right way.

The sideburn style you should choose to rock depends on your facial structure, hairstyle, and the overall look you wish to achieve with your facial hair. 

You should pick a style that accentuates your facial features and that looks natural when paired with your hair and beard (if you have one).

So get your clippers out and start working on your masterpiece. Don’t forget to take care of them to keep them looking clean and fresh.

Head here for more facial hair grooming tips.



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Hi, my name is Roland. I started Beard Guidance so I can share the knowledge I’ve acquired from years of beard-having experience in easy-to-read but informative and practical articles.

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