October 03, 2022

Did you think the mutton chop beard was just some dorky ‘70s fad like corduroy jackets with vinyl elbow patches? Well, think again.

Think Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. That mutton chop beard is dope!

Today, mutton chops are back in a BIG way. 

Plus the mutton chop beard is one of the most versatile beard styles that can be shaped in tons of different ways to make you stand out from the regular lambs and sheep.

Isn't the Mutton Chop Beard Just Sideburns?

Basically, yes. But bigger, bolder, more dramatic. 

Mutton chops are created when you allow your sideburns to extend out onto your cheeks and/or upper jawline, while keeping your chin and neck shaved. 

It’s up to you if you want a mustache with them or not. When the mutton chops and stache connect across the face, the result is sometimes called an Imperial beard.

How did the name start? Well, sideburns and cheek/jaw hairs grown together can resemble the shape of actual meat mutton chops.

Famous Mutton Chops

The mutton chop beard has been around for centuries. It was hugely popular with European military and political leaders of the 18th and 19th centuries. And, of course, US Presidents John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) and Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) proudly sported magnificently extravagant chops during their terms in the White House. Indeed, the mutton chops of the 19th century were typically very bushy and wild.

The style pretty much died out with World War I when military personnel were ordered to shave so that gas masks of the time would fit properly. The chops stayed dormant for some decades of fashion after that.

A few rockers and “greasers” experimented with mutton chops in the ‘50s. Then in the late ‘60s John Lennon was responsible for the mutton chop beard making a comeback. This was then cemented by the most famous mutton chops you’ve probably ever seen, sported by Elvis Presley in the ‘70s.

But again, the mutton chop beard went into a hiatus… until Hugh Jackman hit the big screens as Wolverine in X-Men and set hearts fluttering. There’s no denying that he and his mutton chop beard were epic and iconic. His cut physique helped as well, no doubt.

The mutton chop beard was back! It’s still back - and it’s here to stay!

How to Grow a Simple Mutton Chop Beard

First, grow your entire beard and mustache for at least a month or six weeks. During that time, be sure to wash your beard two to three times a week with beard wash. Apply a couple drops of beard oil daily and use a wild boar bristle beard brush – the combination of these two will train the direction of hair growth, condition whiskers, and keep your skin in tip top order.

When it’s time, use electric trimmers to trim away your neck beard and as much or as little of your chin beard as you wish. Trim right up to your jawline and trim away the whiskers below your bottom lip.

It’s up to you if you wish to trim away your mustache.

After you have the shape you want, you can grow a little stubble on the exposed areas to look extra rugged, but you’re likely going to need to shave those areas regularly.

That will give you a simple mutton chop beard, but read on for some cool varieties…

Add a Mo for “Friendly” Mutton Chops

We said earlier that adding a mustache to connect your mutton chops is often called an Imperial beard. It’s also called friendly mutton chops. Why? Who knows?

Elvis Muttons

The Elvis look is all about oversized sideburns. But you need to keep everything trimmed regularly, especially the edges that must be sharp and defined. That includes a diagonal shaved line from below your ear down to about the center of your cheek to create a kind of triangular look.

When complete, the look will show off your jawline.

Big and Bushy Chops

If you’re good with thick, frizzy facial hair but want to be a little different, try this. Let your whiskers grow and grow, while keeping everything clear on your lower lip, on your chin and below your jawline. You’ll end up with a bushy mutton chop beard. You can emphasize the look by “fluffing” the hairs out with your beard brush and some beard balm to provide some hold and lift.

Include a connecting mustache for a truly grizzly look. 

Hulihee Imperial Beard with Handlebar Mustache

Grow really long, wild, “fat” mutton chop hairs - so long that they eventually hang down below the level of your jawline. 

It’s an amazing and extravagant look, especially if you add a bushy handlebar mustache.

To achieve this look, you’ll need plenty of patience as it grows. You’ll also need plenty of beard oil, beard balm and mustache wax.

Neat chops

Don’t want a bushy mutton chop beard? Then shave further down your cheeks to make the chops along your jawline thinner. Then use your trimmers regularly to keep everything at a neat, manageable length.

This style takes more maintenance and careful shaving, but it’s a sharp look for the dude who likes his facial hair well-manicured.

Mutton Chop Strap

For a truly sleek look, trim along your jaws so the lines of hairs are very thin strips that look like straps. Then keep those hairs and your sideburn hairs at a uniform length. It’s similar to a chinstrap beard, but with a clean-shaven chin. There’s nothing bushy with this look, just sharp lines.

The Wolverine

For the Hugh Jackman mutton chop beard, grow out your cheek hairs down to the bottom of your jaws, along with your sideburns. Ensure your chin hairs grow out just as much, but create a small gap at the front and the point of your chin. If you wish, allow a very thin and very short strip to connect them. Trim and shave below your mouth and remove the soul patch. 

You may want some stubble on your mustache area and on your exposed chin. It’s up to you. Just know that shaving and trimming that stubble can be challenging.

The a la Souvarov Imperial Beard

This is the happy marriage between the friendly mutton chop beard and Imperial beard. It got its name from an 18th century Russian General named Aleksandr Suvarov - although, ironically, if you search for a picture of him, you’ll probably only find images showing him clean-shaven.

To achieve this style, your sideburns and jawline whiskers are connected by a mustache, but they must be kept thinner in width and immaculately trimmed. Cheeks are kept shaved down quite low. This style is striking but requires really precise shaving.

Mutton but Stubble

Who says a mutton chop beard has to be thick and meaty? Maybe you prefer a more subtle look. So just use your trimmers to keep your mutton chops at stubble length while using your razor to keep its shape intact.

So, my man, if you’ve always wanted a mutton chop beard but weren’t sure it would work, now you know just how epic it can be. 

There’s nuttin’ like mutton!

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