The mutton chop style of facial hair is perhaps one of the most folkloric amongst men. For ages, men have worn mutton chops, although the exact definition of the mutton chop style has remained relatively fluid. In short, mutton chops are a style of beard where the mustache joins with the sideburns but leaves the chin completely clean. Basically, the opposite of a goatee. It is a loose definition open to a variety of interpretations.
Follow these 5 simple steps for growing and maintaining a glorious mutton chop beard:
Step #1: Grow a Full Beard
Critical to successful mutton chops is good hair density. Essentially the best way to shape mutton chops is the start with a full beard and work backwards, as the task of forming it as you go can be piecemeal and can lead to errors. Usually a good month or so of growth is required before a man can successfully form a beard into good mutton chops.
Step 2: Aim for Flush
Since the most obvious defining trait of mutton chops is the connection of the mustache and the sideburns, it’s important that the beard is flush on all sides. Men with spotty or thin beards will thus need more time to allow for good growth all around. Once you obtain flush facial hair growth on all sides, it's time to form some good chops.
Step #3: Form the Chops
Now that you have ample growth, the defining characteristic of mutton chops can be implemented. This is the clean-shaven chin and neck. Mutton chops, regardless of length or style, invariably require the chin to be totally shaven. Once your facial hair is full and flush on all sides, clean up your chin in preparation for a stellar set of chops to come to the forefront.
Step #4: Trim
By far the most complex and important part of forming good mutton chops is in the trim. Clean up the chin and neck, leaving just the sideburns and mustache. Now is the time to really finesse the remaining facial hair. Ensure your mustache and sideburns stay joined and shave a triangular shape along the chin and mouth. You can use a razor to get precise slants and angles but be careful to keep the hairy integrity of the mustache and be extra cautious around the sideburns.
Step 5: Maintain It
Once you've formed your mutton chops, maintenance is relatively easy but will require strong attention to detail. Mutton chops need to be trimmed frequently (daily is a good rule) because a clean chin and neck is critically important to the appearance of the rest of your face. Ensure that you're using a high-quality shaving cream and be sure to shampoo your chops often. Keeping a clean appearance highlighted by well-formed mutton chops should always be your goal and if done daily, should allow for easy upkeep of this style.
Mutton chops are a staple beard style for modern day artists, athletes, and actors but can also be seen throughout the past, worn by some of history's finest men. The period of beard growth may prolong the completion of this style somewhat, but the wait is worth it. Once grown, be diligent over your chops, as maintaining this style not only keeps you looking sharp but will prevent any future periods of extended beard growth while you wait for enough hair to grow in for adequate formation.
Good luck, men. With patience and attention, a glorious set of chops awaits you.