How To Shave And Trim Your Sideburns

It’s a question that’s puzzled the greatest minds in shaving for generations. It’s prompted hours of fierce debate at Wilkinson Sword HQ. And even now, no one’s entirely sure of the answer...

Where does a beard end and a barnet start? If you’ve never been too sure of how high to go with the razor or how low to go with the scissors, the good news is that a carefully cultivated pair of sideburns means you never really have to decide.

Now, we’re not suggesting you grow a whopping great pair of mutton chops halfway across your cheeks (although naturally you’re welcome to go the whole hog if that’s your style). But a well-groomed sideburn can be a sharp new addition to your style that you might not have thought about before. You’ll soon wonder how you ever just had hair on your head or your face without taking the time to style that no man’s land in between.

Whether you’re clean-shaven or stubbly-faced, you’ll find everything you need below to guide you through styling and trimming sideburns…

What exactly are sideburns?

The bottom of the earlobes is considered the general rule of thumb when it comes to sideburns - extend your hairstyle down that far and you’re on the right track. But there are plenty of individual routes you can take depending on the type of hair you’ve got, both on your head and under your chin.

It’s a style that’s long been popular but not everyone can pull it off - recent notable sideburners have included the cyclist Bradley Wiggins and Hugh Jackman’s clawed hero Wolverine - but we’ve no doubt you’ll join those lofty ranks too once you’ve got started.

When should you trim your sideburns?

Nobody's hair grows at the same rate, so there’s no one-fits-all rule on how often you should trim your sideburns. If you have thin, sparse sideburns, they may need to be trimmed more often than someone rocking the full, thick sideburns look. You may be surprised by how fast sideburns grow, so maintain them as often as needed so they don’t get out of control.

How do you shave your sideburns?

So you’re ready to trim your sideburns? These easy-to-follow steps will help you shave your sideburns and frame your face perfectly.

  1. Clean and dry your sideburns to remove any leftover product and then comb the hair neatly in the direction of growth. 
  2. Adjust your trimmer to the length of your sideburns and even them out so they’re the same length. This will help when it comes to styling them. 
  3. Proceed with caution and shave around the sideburns. Remember to leave them longer to start with, as you can always go back to shorten them, but if you take off too much you’ll have to wait for the hair to grow back. 
  4. Hold the trimmer in a vertical position and shave closely around the edges of your sideburns. It’s a good trick to place your index finger at the bottom of each sideburn to ensure they’re the same length on both sides. There’s nothing worse than finishing a shave and realising they’re completely different lengths.

How to style sideburns for your face shape

It’s worth thinking about your face shape when you’re deciding on sideburn styles, along with how they’ll look with the rest of your facial hair. Sideburns can transform a face and also balance out facial proportions. Here’s some tips on choosing the right sideburn style, based on face shapes: 

  • Square face shape: long sideburns suit square face shapes and can help to give a narrower appearance. Thick sideburns and a moustache may also be a good look if that’s what you’re into.
  • Oblong face shape: shorter sideburns are a good way to reduce your face length and compliment your jaw line. 
  • Diamond face shape: sideburns can soften the angular features of a diamond face shape. Long sideburns and a full beard can help to narrow the jaw line and cover up a pointed chin. 
  • Round face shape: this face shape may benefit from long sideburns trimmed to a short length. It’ll help break up the roundness of the face and accentuate the jawline. 

What do you need to style your sideburns?

A good beard trimmer is your best friend when it comes to sideburns, so it’s well worth grabbing a Wilkinson Sword Shave and Style electric trimmer. It’s got three precision combs so you can find exactly the right length for your sideburns, depending on what length the rest of your hair is.

You’ll need a robust razor to keep the edges of your sideburns well-defined, so pick wisely. The Quattro Titanium Sensitive razor has got four titanium-coated styling blades to shape precise edges around sideburns, as well as a lubricating strip with aloe vera and jojoba for a comfortable and all-round smooth shave.

A great razor deserves to be paired with an equally great shaving cream, and our Hydro 5 Sense gel is formulated with vitamin E to help protect your skin from irritation every time you’re shaping your sideburns.