The preserve of artists and royalty, the Van Dyke beard puts its wearer in excellent company. Sophisticated yet creative, it speaks volumes – here’s how to make it work for you.
What is a Van Dyke beard?
Named after the 17th century Flemish painter who made it famous, the Van Dyke beard consists of a goatee underneath – but not connected to – a mustache.
When it comes to choosing a mustache to team with your Van Dyke facial hair, you’re looking at a wealth of options, although a natural mustache usually works best. This is a really creative style that leaves your cheeks smooth and includes that definitive, all-important gap between your mustache and beard. The result is a clean, well-framed look that will stand the test of time.
How to grow a Van Dyke beard
Growing a Van Dyke beard takes some commitment, but it’s well worth the time put in. You want to start with an all-over beard about 2cm long. Once you’re appropriately grizzled, start:
Step 1: Comb your beard and mustache neatly downwards. Use your beard trimmer without the comb to trim a (slanting) line from the side of your mustache down to your jaw on each side.
Step 2: Continue both lines below the jawbone, and connect them with a straight line along your neck. Symmetry is key here: watch the Van Dyke beard guide below to see what we’re talking about.
Step 3: Remove the remaining hair on your cheeks and neck, without going too close to the outline of your beard and mustache.
Step 4: Trim your mustache below the corner of your lips to leave a gap above your beard, and shape your mustache to a style that suits you. Trim two semicircles around your soul patch, too.
Step 5: Put on the trimmer comb, and trim the hair on your chin evenly to the length you want. For a neater effect, tidy up with the rotary shaver.
The Van Dyke beard is the facial hair of kings
A beard with real history, the Van Dyke has been sported by English royalty, Roman emperors, and (of all people) Vladimir Lenin. When worn outside of period dramas, it speaks to a certain degree of roguish sophistication. Keep your Van Dyke beard closely trimmed to bring it up to date, and wear with kingly pride.
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