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.