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By Eddie "Champ" Hall
Q: Is there some kind of a rule book on sideburns? I'm thinking of really growing mine out, but I'm wondering how low they should go, how wide, how short the hair, etc. How can I be sure they're helping me look my best?
A: The general rule is that the thickness and length of your sideburns need to be consistent with the rest of your hair. So if your hair is very short, don't grow your sideburns thick and long (and vice versa). I think the length should not exceed the midpoint of your ear, but that said, sideburns can look really great short or long depending on your hair and features. Just like a haircut, it's all about maintaining balance and offsetting lines and shapes.
Longer sideburns can help balance a face with a long chin, and shorter sideburns can balance a short or weak chin. Oval faces look best with medium-length sideburns (they should end at the cartilage in the middle of your ear); square faces look good with longer sideburns (down to the bottom of your ear); and if your face is round, the only rule is don't go too short (they will only make your face look rounder).
Finally, if you don't know what mutton chops are, you probably shouldn't be experimenting with them.
Eddie "Champ" Hall is owner of and instructor at Champ's Barber School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He has 25 years of experience and sports a mean five o'clock shadow.
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