It’s one of the least common beard styles of 2016. It’s warm, stylish, but also non-intrusive. You guessed it - it’s mutton chops.
Mutton chops is a bold fashion style to go for, but if you can pull it off it’ll go down like dynamite. Read on to find out everything you know about this in-your-face beard style.
What Are Mutton Chops?
It’s a good question and a really great place for us to start. Mutton chops - also known as sideburns, are stretches of facial hair expanding down a man’s cheeks, often forming a triangular shape that resembles a piece of meat. It sounds strange, but it’s what they are.
They’re typically grown from the ears down to the jawline, but they can also be mixed up and connected to other facial hair items such as a mustache or goatee.
History of Mutton Chops
From presidents to peasants and everyone in between, mutton chops - or sideburns - were worn by absolutely everybody. They were the height of fashion and a way of displaying class, intellect and masculinity above other competing males.
Nowadays, mutton chops are somewhat less fashionable, but they’re donned by a few brave males bold enough to pull the style off and make it work for them. Gone are the days of 1800’s civil rights activists in bowler hats and suits - it’s the modern man’s turn now.
There are those that believe that since Elvis Presley left this earth, mutton chops have been poised and ready to make a comeback. In the 70’s and 80’s, the disco era saw them donned by dancers, cops, hairy porn stars and hairy pornstar cops. Liam Gallagher from britpop band Oasis even brought them into the 90’s.
They’ve yet to surge into popularity yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t look seriously badass with a pair of them gracing your cheeks.
How to Grow Mutton Chops
Like any beard style that we discuss on this site, mutton chops start with a period of continuous growing. Whether you grow out a full beard first and trim out is up to you. Fortunately, unlike most other styles, with mutton chops this isn’t necessary.
To secure a pair of mutton chops that’ll make any aristocrat envious, follow these simple steps:
1) Stop Shaving
Naturally, if you want to grow facial hair, you’re going to have to stop shaving. This is the first step and probably the easiest to do. What you don’t want to do, however, is dispose of your razor. For some other, full-face styles such as the Bandholz, throwing away your shaving instruments can be a great way of maintaining motivation for your beard.
It’s a long process and looking scruffy and itchy will cause many people to drop off along the way. With mutton chops, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. Since the style only occupies the side of your face, you can start shaving the centre areas, mustache, chin and neck whenever you feel like it.
By doing this, you’ll also help yourself to avoid the scruffy look that’s typically associated with growing a beard.
2) Set Clear Lines to Shave Around
You don’t want to shave too close to the mutton chops initially, as if you cut too close it’ll look scruffy whilst you grow them back to their original thickness. Mutton chops are characterized by their wide and bushy shape, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Leave yourself sufficient room for movement in the future, as what you want your beard style to look like may change.
3) Allow Time to Grow
Depending on your facial hair growing abilities, each person will need to allot a different period of time for this step. It can be easy to lose motivation during this part of the process, but it’s important to keep in mind your original goal.
When you stopped shaving, you did so on the basis that you wanted to craft a mighty beard style.
4) Complete Shaping
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Once you’ve been growing your mutton chops for a long enough period - usually 4-6 weeks, it’s shave time. Sculpt the final touches to your mutton chops by removing any excess cheek, jaw and central facial hair. A simple tip that people often don't think about doing is to use clear shaving cream/gel so you can easily see where you are shaving ensuring that your lines are looking sharp!
5) Maintain Your Mutton Chops
Once you’ve perfected your beard style, it’s not quite over. Your mutton chops will require regular maintenance to ensure that they’re on top form. Although the style is characterized by its bushiness and broad structure, that doesn’t mean that your mutton chops have to be like this. In fact, the majority of all mutton chops styles are maintained regularly using a beard trimmer. With this - and a few other select products - you can seriously up your beard game.
Items You'll Need
Just like any other beard style, you will need some specialized beard tools to achieve a decent mutton chops look. At the bare minimum, you should use:
1) A Beard Trimmer
This item is an essential for any well-respected and to-do gentleman boasting a bushy beard style. A top level beard trimmer, such as one from the Philips Norelco range, will cover everything you need. It’ll also be ideal for full-body grooming; in case you have other areas that also need taming. Also be sure to check out our massive guide on choosing the right beard trimmer if you don't know where to start.
2) Beard Shampoo
With long beard hair comes itchiness. It’s an unfortunate fact, but it’s definitely one that’s best tackled early-on. By investing in a beard shampoo, you’ll be able to subdue and directly treat any dry skin, avoiding the dreaded ‘beardruff’.
3) Beard Oil
Once you start to gain substantial length to your mutton chops, they’re going to start to get pretty prickly. This can easily be managed by a good beard oil, which will both soften your beard hair and promote future growth. We at Beardicure absolutely love the oil produced by Smooth Viking, so it’s well worth checking out.
Take these tips and products into hand and you’ll soon possess a wolverine beard that’ll even make the finest of bearded men jealous.