Few beards command instant attention as much as mutton chops. This facial hairstyle first came into vogue during the Victorian era, but faded into obscurity as the years passed on. Thankfully, mutton chops are coming back stronger than ever, and it’s a safe bet to say that mutton chops are here to stay.
While they look intimidating to grow out, mutton chops are actually deceptively simple to achieve – all it takes is time, patience, and the willingness to work out your facial hair.
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What are Mutton Chops?
Mutton chops are essentially just sideburns that have been left to grow out, with the mustache and beard area optionally left alone to grow . While mutton chops by themselves don’t have a beard or mustache, they’re still considered a style of facial hair.
To start a mutton chop beard, you’ll need to leave your sideburns be, as well as the hairs that grow out once they reach the bottom. This results in a rugged and masculine look that can be carefully altered to either bring out a wild or a refined look. Once your sideburns are nice and hairy, you can opt to further style your facial hair – maybe connect your chops with a mustache for some friendly mutton chops, or even eschew the mustache entirely in favor of a beard.
If you’re looking to grow your own mutton chops, here’s a basic guide to get you started.
Mutton Chop Styling Guide
Styling your mutton chops is a very intuitive process, but before we begin styling, you’ll first need to grow some chops of your own.
Start by shaving your chin, neck, and sideburns (optionally, if you’ve done any styling before) to give your new chops room to grow. Once the beard starts sprouting, shave it in the style you’d want – close trims for stubble, or just let it grow out for bushier mutton chops. When you’re satisfied with your chops, you can choose to further style it by adding or accentuating your beard or mustache, or even removing those entirely!
For those looking to style their chops into a more defined look, getting a good set of precision tools, such as a fixed-length comb, precision trimmers, and fine scissors is definitely a good idea. Remember that with mutton chops, the name of the game is symmetry, and if you ruin the chops on one side, you’ll pretty much have no choice but to replicate the look on the other cheek.
Other men may already be satisfied with beard and mustache-free chops, but always remember to take care of your facial hair. The bigger your chops, the more you’ll need to do to ensure that both the beard and skin beneath stay happy and healthy
Best Mutton Chop Style Looks
These are my personal favorite mutton chop styles, not just for their looks but also for the image that they project.
Friendly Mutton Chops
Friendly mutton chops are among the most basic (and perhaps the most recognizable) mutton chop styles – all you really need to do is to leave both your sideburns and your mustache to grow out until they connect. The reason they’re called “friendly” is supposedly because these chops meet halfway through your mustache, though they definitely look a lot more approachable than the regular mutton chops.
This classy yet grizzled look is quickly gaining traction as a favorite, and while they do require some maintenance, it’s easy to use these as a springboard for other mutton chop styles.
Stubble Mutton Chops
For those who don’t want to go all the way, try out a stubble mutton chop look. This facial hairstyle involves trimming your sideburns just right so that you’re rocking an almost permanent five o’ clock shadow look.
Bushy Mutton Chops
Bushy mutton chops are quite simple – just let your sideburns grow out as you please, and trim (or don’t trim) as you please. While you can opt to not trim your bushy chops, please don’t neglect to maintain your facial hair. After all, a little oil and moisturizer goes a long way!
Wolverine Mutton Chops
While the name might not be historically accurate, I think it’s safe to say that Hugh Jackman almost single-handedly brought mutton chops back into the spotlight with his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men films. This mutton chop style is a minimalist take on the traditional mutton chops – take some off the mustache, and let the sideburns grow down to the chin line.
Mutton Chops with Van Der Dyke
As you may have figured out while looking at the Wolverine Mutton Chops, you have total freedom and control over your mustache and beard if you’re looking to grow out some mutton chops. For example, his mutton chops complements with his Van Der Dyke mustache, leading to a strapping, confident look.
Clean Mutton Chops
Who said mutton chops were only for the manliest of men? This clean, pared-down mutton chop style combines both its unique look and modern sensibilities for a beard style that’s both modern enough to be worn at any occasion and distinct enough to make you look and feel good.
Mutton Chops With Goatee
By combining both rugged mutton chops and a goatee, you can get a look that’s both imposing yet practical and professional enough to be worn in corporate company.
Modern Imperial Mutton Chops
For a powerful look that commands attention, look no further than the Imperial Mutton Chops. This exotic beard style features long sideburns that extend down below the chin or longer, creating a dramatic effect. To achieve this look, you’ll need to grow out your sideburns and mustache to desired lengths.
Mutton Chop Styling Products
Mutton chops may look fantastic, but sometimes you’ll find that there are days where they just won’t cooperate, or you need an extra helping hand getting your chops just right. For those days, here’s some of my recommended styling products.
Layrite Original Pomade
If you’re going for friendly mutton chops, or just want your whiskers to stand out, you might want to invest in some quality beard pomade – and it’s hard to beat Layrite’s pomade in terms of sheer quality.
Layrite claims that this pomade “holds like wax and washes out like gel”, which isn’t just an empty boast. This stuff is strong enough to hold your beard and give your fancy mutton chops an even more striking look, but when the party shoes are off, Layrite’s Original Pomade comes off super easily. And because it’s so easy to remove this pomade, your mutton chops won’t get chemical residue, gunk, or grime in them – which makes maintenance easier and keeps your mutton chops healthy and happy.
Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream
Shaving your mutton chops doesn’t have to be a troubling ordeal, but for some men (especially those with sensitive skin), shaving cream is a must-have. Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream is my number one recommendation for light, slippery shaving cream.
This slick shaving cream not only fights nicks and razor burn, but also helps keeps both your chops and skin healthy thanks to high-quality ingredients like macadamia seed oil, aloe, lemon extract, and papaya extract. For those looking to trim their chin, neck, and cheeks before growing out some mutton chops, give this shaving cream a go – I’m very sure you’ll like the results.
Viking Revolution Beard Oil Conditioner
Depending on how thick your mutton chops are, you may need to invest in beard oil conditioner. Conditioners are important because they keep your skin and beard hair healthy and moisturized. In layman’s terms, that means no more itchy beard and itchy skin.
Viking Revolution Beard Oil Conditioners are one of my favorite as they’re not only affordable and effective, but they also carry those rich, manly scents like sandalwood, cedar, pine, and even unscented for those with allergies.
FAQs about Mutton Chops
Why are they called mutton chops?
Mutton chops are called as such because the sideburns that this beard style requires closely resemble a slice of lamb, or mutton.
Are mutton chops classified as facial hair?
Yes, they’re still classified as facial hair, even without a beard or mustache.
Should I shave completely before attempting to grow mutton chops?
Yes, you should. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how your chops will turn out and you’ll be able to make adjustments along the way.
Is there a specific face shape that works best with mutton chops?
Men with rounder or more oval-shaped faces can benefit more from bushier mutton chops. Conversely, men with longer or thinner faces tend to look better with more sparse mutton chops. However, you should always choose the style you like.
Can anyone wear mutton chops?
As mutton chops tend to lend their wearer a more rugged, masculine look, they’re not particularly popular choices for desk jobs. However, you can still compromise by wearing a trimmed-down version that comes off as crisp, clean, and professional!
Rock those Chops!
Whether you’re going for a simple mutton chop to a more bombastic style, your new mutton chops are sure to be a great talking point and a great way to change your look. Just remember – always take care of your chops, and they’ll take care of you.