What Is A Van Dyke Beard?

Van Dyke BeardThe Van Dyke Beard is one of the most popular beard styles in Europe in the 17th century. In the U.S., among the most notable celebrities who sported this look was Johnny Depp.

Also spelled as Van Dyck or Van Dijk, Van Dyke beard was named after the 17th century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck who was known for his religious themed paintings and regal portraits.

This facial hair style is commonly described as a full goatee with a floating mustache, without hair on the side of the face. Van Dyke beard first became popular in Europe in the 17th century. With the popularity of French styles and wigs in Britain, the style gradually vanished. Van Dyck himself along with Charles I of England, Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Marxist revolutionary were among those well-known figures noted for this facial hair style.

In the United States, the van dyke style along with the goatee (facial hair on the chin) became popular during the 19th century and even gained censure from a media personality. In 19th century, the style was revived by famous personalities. Among them were American actor Monty Woolley, Colonel Sanders – a well-known personality in fast food restaurant industry and General Custer – a U.S. army officer.

This style of facial hair cut is sometimes called “Charlie” derived from King Charles I of England. There are actually several beard styles, but van dyke beard was more preferred by early men because of its professional look. This style has been considered a variation of the goatee or classic goatee.

This style has many variations ranging from a curled moustache, a non-curled one to a soul patch. The circle beard style is also considered another form of van dyke. The chinstrap beard is another variation where the patch of hair on the chin is connected to side burns by growing hair across the bottom of the chin, and up the cheeks. The classic van dyke beard style was worn with elaborately curled mustaches. Today, it has greatly evolved into a facial hair fashion. Most men who sport this facial look prefer a thin to moderately thick mustache with the beard styled in modern variations.

photo by: Kordite

Dashing Beard Styles Worth A Second Look

Van Dyke BeardMen with beards can look gorgeous. A lot of women give a second look at men with substantial hair on their face. But the truth is, it takes the right genetics to grow substantial hair on the face.  If you’re not capable of growing a full beard, there’s certainly a beard style that would complement with your personality and preference.

If you’re thinking of growing a beard and or mustache, here are some beard styles that are worth considering.

Van Dyke Beard

The van dyke beard consists of a full chin beard with a floating mustache, without hair on the side of the face. The distinguishing factor of this beard style is the connection of the beard to the mustache. To keep looking its best, you have to groom it on a daily basis.

Short boxed beard

This beard style is actually a variation of van dyke. Its distinction lies in the sideburns that go all the way down the face to meet with the chin portion of the beard. The sideburns are distinctively long and comparatively narrower. To keep the best look, the sideburns should be trimmed regularly so they meet the chin and without going across the face.

Handlebar and Chin Puff

The handlebar mustache is one of the most time-demanding of all facial hair styles because it requires proper maintenance. The chin puff – a small burst of hair that is located directly below the center of the lower lip is the key distinguishing mark of this style. It is often associated with 19th century fashion but still remained a hot look until today.


The Balbo style is described as a chin beard that goes from one side of the mouth to the other so that the hair growth resembles the letter “U” with a small mustache over the top lip. This beard style can add some width for anyone who looks too skinny and thin.

Soul Patch

A soul patch is a square area of hair growth just a few centimeters below the center of the lip, about 1-inch by 1-inch in diameter.  It is among the most popular and easiest beard styles to grow and ideal for those wanting to grow a beard for the first time.

photo by: Kordite

Van Dyke Beard Grooming Tips

Van Dyke BeardMen grow a beard for different reasons. Whatever reason you have, the most common thing about facial hair is that you need to groom it to keep looking good.

Facial hair grows, you can’t stop it. Your face can look like a bird’s nest if you don’t groom or trim it. So here are beard grooming and cleaning tips to help you maintain that great and clean look.

Beard trimming

When using scissors

Some men prefer to leave this job to the professionals. But if you’re going do it yourself, make sure to use the right tools, either a pair of barber’s scissors or a beard trimmer. When using comb and scissors, it is advisable to comb through the beard first and then cut the hair on the outside of the comb. For longer beard styles, you must comb it straight down first before trimming your mustache or beard,

When using a beard trimmer

If you opt to use a beard trimmer, the good choice is a rechargeable cordless model. This beard trimming tool usually comes with an adjustable and removable trimming guide which allows you to control your beard length. It’s a good idea to adjust the guide for a longer beard length setting at first. Always refer to the instructions supplied with your trimmer if it’s you’re using it for the first time.

After you’ve trimmed your beard and mustache, carefully shave the lower portion of your neck to maintain the neck line of your beard or carefully remove the adjustable trimming guide and then carefully define the neckline of the beard.

Stray hairs should be trimmed with a razor and not by plucking. It is also important to keep in mind not to trim a wet beard or mustache as wet hair tends to be longer. You might find that you’ve trimmed more than what you desired if you trim it while your beard or mustache is wet.

Other essential tools

Whether you have a Short boxed, Balbo or Van Dyke beard, if you choose to maintain your beard yourself you need to invest in a good-sized wall mirror, good wide-toothed comb and fine-toothed mustache comb.

Beard cleaning

Facial hair should also be washed and shampooed regularly. If you wish to use a conditioner, make sure to rinse it thoroughly with clean water. There is no need to blow dry your beard as you can just pat and wipe it with a clean and dry towel. 

photo by: Kordite

Van Dyke Beard – How To Get The Look

Van Dyke BeardThere are actually several beard styles, but the van dyke beard style was more preferred by early men because of its professional look. It only takes a little patience to get the look.  

But both in the classical and modern world, men with facial hair, which includes the mustache and side burns, can look quite mysterious. Many say the male beard communicates a manly image. In many societies beards have since been regarded as a symbol of wisdom, masculinity, sexual virility or a higher status.

Even in our modern society, men who sport beards often get a second look from women.

Today, it has greatly evolved into a facial hair fashion. Most men who sport this look prefer a thin to moderately thick mustache with the beard styled in modern variations. If you want to get the van dyke beard look, here are some tips to achieve it. 

Temporarily put your shaving habit to a halt

A van dyke beard consists of a full goatee and a floating mustache and you can only get this look when you grow them both. Besides you still need to determine if you are capable of growing this type of beard including your hair density, direction and color.

Shave whenever your facial hair has grown to uncomfortable length

At this point, your facial hair must have grown to uncomfortable length. If you feel the urge to shave, then do it on the sides but make sure that the van dyke beard style will still be achieved.

Form a circle beard

By the time your facial hair has formed into a circle beard, shave off the rest leaving only the circle of hair above, to the sides, and below your mouth.

Remove the hair that connects the mustache and goatee

At this point, when all is left for removal is the hair that connects the mustache and goatee, you have to imagine the shape of the mustache and goatee that will look best on you before finally cutting it. There’s a range of van dyke beard styles to choose from. There should be a specific style that will look best on you.

photo by: Kordite