Slick Sideburns for Men: The Complete Style Guide

To grow or not grow out your sideburns? It’s a question that you’ve probably always tossed out the window because long sideburns haven’t always been acceptable. That’s just the point though, isn’t it?

Sideburns are the strips of facial hair extending from the hairline down the sides of the face in front of your ears. Sideburns come in a variety of shapes, lengths and styles. They may be grown by themselves or used to compliment or connect to a beard, goatee or mustache.

Before learning how to trim your sideburns, look at some different trending styles including looks from Hugh Jackman, James Dean, and Elvis Presley.

Sideburn Style Guide

What Do Sideburn Styles Look Like?

There are a few distinct ways to wear sideburns, including styles that merge with other facial hair.

We’re very passionate about men keeping their sideburns because it helps enhance your facial features. For example, sideburns frame your face and gives you a style that doesn’t just blend in with the status quo. Find your perfect style below.

Sideburn Length

Sideburns have their own lengths, styles, and shapes that can complement your hairstyle, facial features and overall demeanor.

Trimming your sideburns typically requires an electric beard trimmer or razor. See How to Trim Sideburns guide below.

Find your desired length

Trying to determine your perfect sideburn hair length takes time, patients and little trial and error. So, if you’re unsure about sporting long sideburns, I’d suggest letting your sideburns grow out a little at a time and watch them change your face shape. See more ideas below.

Long Sideburns
Common sideburns cut to a longer length.

You might like how long, thin sideburns outline and elongate your shape and jawline. It creates a subtle but distinct look!

Pencil thin sideburns
Clean-shaven face with thin pointed sideburns connecting to a taper fade with waves.

Long Sideburns

People often draw conclusions when talking about the lack of hygiene or grooming when it comes to longer sideburns, as they can quickly become bushy and uneven if not trimmed.

Quite the contrary, when done right. Jude Law shows that growing long sideburns is super stylish.

Jude Law Styled Sideburns
Jude Law with long sideburns and chevron mustache.

If you were planning on growing out your sideburns to avoid grooming, you should know it’s just like maintaining a thick, full beard.

You still must take out the electric trimmers or barber shears to shore up your sideburns and maintain a professional look if you don’t want them to get too bushy and wild. That’s also perfectly fine if you like it that way—just see our long sideburn celebrity shots below.

Short Sideburns

Short sideburns are often cropped just below the top of the ear and no lower than the middle of the ear. They may also be buzzed or faded if your haircut is shorter, such as a buzz cut, crew cut, or undercut hairstyle.

Again, here’s Jude Law showing that short sideburns are just as stylish as the longer version but with a cleaner, but less rugged look.

Jude Law Short Sideburns
Jude Law again, this time with short sideburns.

If you like a clean, short sideburn, then you only need a razor to ensure your sideburns are kept neat and trim.

Tapered Sideburns

There are also a lot of looks for men with tapered and faded sideburns. These are best for men who want the trendy look of a clean to stubble sideburn that fades into a longer hairstyle.

These tapered looks are sideburns that extend beyond the bottom of the ear and vary in fade depth. However, this look is more difficult to maintain as you must fade the sides with multiple electric trimmer guards or sharp trimming shears to get the right taper.

Here are some different ways to style, fade and taper sideburns:

Classic Sideburn Taper
Cool tapered sideburns.
Unique Sideburn Fade
Wild and creative sideburn design.
Faded Sideburns with Beard (Jud Law)
Skin Faded Sideburns with Beard. Image courtesy of Men’s Haircuts

Sideburns with a Beard

We love seeing thick, full beard styles that connect with a mustache and sideburns – it’s the full package. When trimmed and maintained, these beards look amazing and healthy on any man.

Jude Law Grows Out Sideburns
Jude Law – Bushy, grown out sideburns can quickly turn into a full beard.

Mutton Chop sideburns

This classic mutton chops style is an early traditional American look that stems back to the 1700s, but it came back briefly in the 1970s. You can still see this look on a few actors today.

Jude Law Mutton Chops
Jude Law with cheeky mutton chops.

There are many celebrities besides Jude Law who frequently change up their sideburns, whether that means growing them out or shaping them with their own flair.

10 Celebrities with Sideburns for Style Inspiration

Long sideburns and mutton chops are rebellious, as many rock and blues musicians have shown us, as well as iconic comic book legends like Wolverine.

1. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman beard
The Wolverine Beard made famous by the X-Men movies.

2. James Dean

James Dean Sideburns
Vintage James Dean Sideburns

3. The Blues Brothers

Blues Brothers Mutton Chops
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Jake and Elwood Blues. Image courtesy of

4. Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley Sideburns
These thick sideburns are the very definition of cool!

5. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt Sideburns
Brad Pitt Long Sideburns with a Trim Goatee.

6. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal Sideburns
The Brokeback Mountain star, Jake Gyllenhaal with Flared Sideburns.

7. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt with Sideburns
Sideburns paired with a pencil mustache and stubble beard.

8. Donald Glover

Donald Glover Balbo Beard and Sideburns
Donald Glover Sporting the Balbo Beard and Sideburns.

9. Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Clement Sideburns
Jemaine Clement with ultra thick sideburns.

10. Luke Perry

I started wearing sideburns as a teen because of Dylan McKay, played by Luke Perry in Beverly Hills 90201.

Luke Perry Sideburns
Classic Luke Perry Sideburns… my adolescent inspiration 🙂

How to trim Sideburns

Cutting your sideburns is easy once you have enough hair growth. You simply shave, trim and style to your natural facial contours. However, when you actually pay attention to your sideburns, you’ll get a totally new look that can be really attractive.

Here are a few quick ways to trim your sideburns

As you groom your sideburns, keep these tips in mind:

  • Long sideburns typically extend to the bottom of the ear
  • Fade and blend sideburns at the bottom for a unique look
  • Merge sideburns with a full, thick beard
  • Thick, wide sideburns frame your face better
  • Try a beard shaper tool for a curved sideburn shape

The length and shape of your sideburns are up to you. Some guys like to create incredibly long bushy sideburns that connect to their cheek and mustache hair, while others simply want a stubbly faded sideburn that shows their expert grooming techniques.

By Eric Melillo

I'm the co-owner of B&B. I live in Guilford, Connecticut and I've been obsessed with bald & beard styles & trends for over 20 years..