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A bit on the side

Date

Man Scape

A journalist for 20 years and a man for longer, Richard Hughes would never, ever use canned shaving foam.

View more entries from Man Scape

Bradley Wiggins of Britain kisses the trophy as he celebrates his Tour de France victory.

Bradley Wiggins of Britain kisses the trophy as he celebrates his Tour de France victory. Photo: Reuters

You may or may not have seen the Tour de France - I only caught the odd snatch on late-night SBS - but one thing I did spot was the winner, Bradley Wiggins, and his amazing sideburns.

They are probably the best sidies I’ve seen in ages - good size, not too bushy, not too minimal and a good chestnutty colour. They’re probably not that aerodynamic but that didn’t seem to hold him back any.

The tour itself never really does it for me, and with Cadel out, most of Australia was less interested than last time, but it got me thinking along different lines - how come my sideburns (and I’m a sideburn kind of a guy) are never quite so luxuriant? Never quite the right shape or size?

So what is the secret of a good sideburn, and for an office worker - how big can they get before you look too ridiculous or too rock’n’roll?

And what about trimming - mine are either too long and fluffy, or shaved back and insignificant - there has to be some way to keep them perfect. Is there special sideburn shampoo/conditioner? And how do you avoid the worst error of all - something I seem to inflict on myself all to regularly - sideburns of markedly different lengths?

I put these questions to celebrity stylist David Babaii. David, named by Vogue as “the King of Curl” has a client list that includes Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson. He’s also got his own line of hair products (more later) which, we’re told “weds his expertise in the fields of haircare and beauty with his passion for wildlife conservation”.

“It’s a wonder how Bradley’s sideburns didn’t slow him down,'' he says. "Now there’s some cool sideburns. However, in my mind, they are very '70s playboy. They’re not a length I would consider professional. Sideburns for a man’s face shouldn’t go past the earlobe and should be trimmed using guard clippers to ensure a neat and tight clipping.

"I recently worked on Brad Pitt’s hair and sideburns for Moneyball. Now there’s a man with perfect sideburns. To achieve that look, take a toothbrush - one you’re not using - and apply a small amount of moulding paste or styling clay to flatten the sideburns. Now would you look at that, I have one in the form of Fibers Molding Paste or Volcanic Ash Sculpting Clay [I told you we’d get back to the products]. And if you want to ensure your sideburns are matching, use two credit cards and level them out in the mirror.”

I tried that. With the credit cards. And it kind of worked. Kind of.

So here’s the thing. Sideburns are sort of like Goldilocks - and if I can throw some long-forgotten rock stars into the mix - they're best not too big like Duane Allman, whose sidies were so enormous they met in the middle, or too small like Midge Ure, whose were just little dark darts.

“Remember, sideburns are there to frame the face, they’re not the star attraction of the face,” David says. “A perfect sideburn should blend in with your jawline and narrow the face.

“They’re the demure accessory not the pink dress at a funeral.”

And you? The Duane, the Midge or the Bradley?

10 comments so far

  • Do Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, and Scarlett Johansson employ Babaii for their sideburns too?

    Commenter
    Edward
    Location
    Pascoe Vale
    Date and time
    July 25, 2012, 1:51PM
    • Wiggins is a 'mod'.

      Commenter
      axe
      Date and time
      July 25, 2012, 3:17PM
      • Wiggins is a 'Mod' from Kilburn whos greatest hero is Paul Weller and is well known for his Fred Perry signature shirts. Doubt he gives a toss what the 'Queen of Curl' thinks!

        Commenter
        TJP
        Location
        Cambodia
        Date and time
        July 26, 2012, 8:39AM
        • What's a mod? Please explain.

          Commenter
          Daler
          Date and time
          July 26, 2012, 9:15AM
          • The Mods were an English subculture from the Sixties, maybe Seventies. They were known for their tricked out motorscooters and bad grooming.

            Commenter
            AWLor0
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            July 26, 2012, 11:43AM
          • So Bradley Wiggins is actually from the past?

            Commenter
            Daler
            Date and time
            July 26, 2012, 2:49PM
        • Daler are U a Teddy Boy?

          Commenter
          yossarian
          Location
          sydney
          Date and time
          July 26, 2012, 10:01AM
          • Sideburns rock. But forget grooming them, just let them loose.

            The most committed pair of sideburns I've seen for ages are on Guy Martin, an Isle of Man TT rider. A right pair of lamb chops.

            Lemmy from Motorhead has a pretty cranking pair too, although as they are attached to his mo, maybe those don't count.

            Commenter
            metromale
            Location
            sydney
            Date and time
            July 26, 2012, 10:38AM
            • If you're thinking about bike riders, you can't forget 'Rocket' Ron Haslam. Best sidies in the business.

              Commenter
              SideLeverMan
              Date and time
              July 26, 2012, 12:33PM
          • Shame Bradley isn't fully an Aussie - I wouldn't mind having a few more smart Mod men around. I love his sideburns!

            Commenter
            tailormaid
            Date and time
            July 26, 2012, 3:01PM

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