It’s a new year, and everybody is looking to make changes. Around this time of year, a lot of men change up their facial hair to reflect a fresh start. There are a lot of options out there, but only a few have stood the test of time. If you are looking for a style of beard that is both classic and modern, let us suggest one of our all-time favorites: the Van Dyke.
The Van Dyke beard is named after the 1600s Flemish painter Anthony van Dyke, who was its first and perhaps most famous wearer. Although popular in his time, and worn by even the highest of nobility, such as King Charles I of England, the Van Dyke died out for two centuries before making a comeback in the American wild west. In modern times, the style has been sported by a number of the most dashing Hollywood stars, including Christian Bale and Johnny Depp.
The style itself is rather simple. For the most part, it resembles a regular goatee. The main difference and defining feature of a Van Dyke beard is the separation between the mustache and the rest of the goatee. Some styles involve a longer, pointier goatee on the chin or a curled mustache, while others are simply made up of a short mustache and a patch of hair on the chin.
The Van Dyke is a great style of beard for many reasons.
First of all, the Van Dyke is a highly versatile style. As we already mentioned, it can be shaped and styled in a number of ways while still retaining its classic Van Dyke essence. This means that the Van Dyke works for just about every face shape, from round to square and thin to wide. More on these different approaches later…
Another benefit of the Van Dyke beard is its simplicity. Unlike a full beard, which can take a lot of time and energy to maintain, the Van Dyke is small and easy to care for. Since your cheeks and neck will be clean shaven, you won’t have to deal with beard itch or beard dandruff that sometimes result from a lack of maintenance or unhealthy habits.
Finally, the Van Dyke is a great style because it works well for men with sparse facial hair. If you have always wanted a beard but suffer from patchy, irregular growth for any reason, the Van Dyke is a great solution that showcases the parts of the beard that tend to grow thickest for most men.
1. Outline a goatee
Because the Van Dyke so closely resembles a regular goatee, the best place to start is to use an electric trimmer to outline a goatee. This gives you a basic idea of the shape and size of the beard you are going for.
2. Trim beneath the chin
Unlike with some styles of goatee, the Van Dyke typically stays rather high on the chin. Carefully trim your way up from underneath until the bottom line of your goatee reaches the base of your chin bone. Where exactly this line looks best will depend on the natural shape of your face.
3. Shave your cheeks and neck
The next step is to remove all of the remaining hair that won’t be a part of your beard. Use a razor to cleanly shave your cheeks, sideburns, and neck. For a more rugged look, consider using an electric trimmer with a short guard and leaving a five o’clock shadow.
4. Separate the mustache and chin
Now it is time to really flesh out your Van Dyke. Take your trimmer and remove about a half inch of hair on each side of your mouth where the mustache connects to the rest of your goatee. Then take a razor and clean up so that there is a distinct line between the upper and lower segments.
5. Narrow the chin (optional)
The final step you can take is to narrow the patch on your chin by shaving a bit off of each side. This is a particularly good look for men with slightly wider faces who want a narrower, sharper look.