Van Dyke Beard Style – Everything You Need To Know About This Imperial Style

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What do P. Diddy, Viggo Mortenson and King Charles I of England have in common? Besides fame and fortune, if you guessed a Van Dyke beard, congratulations! You really know your beard-history!

The Look

The Van Dyke beard style adds a classic mustache to a goatee, while keeping the mustache and chin beard separated at the corners.

Both the mustache and chin beard are pointy, giving this beard style its distinguished, sharp look.

A Brief History of the Van Dyke

The Van Dyke is a classic style that has been around since the 17th centur, when the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck came up with the brilliant idea to combine a goatee and classic mustache into an inspiring new style that either he or an admirer dubbed the “Van Dyck”.

Over time, the style has been spelled with some variation, leading to the contemporary spelling, “Van Dyke.”

Famed Historical Figures with Van Dyke Beards

The Van Dyke was a popular style in the 17th century, garnering the prestige of an imperial status in style after King Charles I of England was painted by the inventor himself, Anthony van Dyck, sporting the dashing mustache-goatee style.

Anthony van Dyck beard

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As time passed, of course, other beard styles grew in and out of fashion.

But famous historical figures who have been known for daring the Van Dyke include American Civil War legend General Custer, Russian revolutionary and controversial figure Vladimir Lenin, and the king of the fried chicken chain, Colonel Sanders.

Clearly, the Van Dyke is a beard sharp and distinct enough to grace the visages of some major political and imperial figures.

Clean and Contemporary

The last couple of years, the Van Dyke has been resurging as a beard style. With its clean edges and sharp trim, it is quickly becoming a preferred look amongst distinguished contemporary figures, from P. Diddy, to Viggo Mortenson, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Johnny Depp.

Christian Bale beard

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The Van Dyke is #8 on our list of 20 trendy and popular beard styles for black men, and while it’s a sharp look for any face shape, it’s especially a choice style for men who have rounded baby-faces.

Preparations For Van Dyke style like Viggo

If you want to go for a royal style like the King of Gondor himself, then there are a few items you’ll need to make sure you have handy before embarking on your bearded journey.

Tools needed:

As with any journey, preparing your face for the Van Dyke journey will require preparation.

About a week before you shave and trim your way to the Van Dyke, you should shave your face clean and let the hair grow back in consistently for that week.

You can start with a full beard, but it’s better to start with new hair because that will make it easier to style as you are trimming. You will want about a ¼” of beard hair.

Once the week of prep work ends, you’ll be ready to learn:

How To Grow a Van Dyke Beard

Step 1 – Prep

1 week prior to the Van Dyke  shave your entire face clean to allow for consistent beard hair growth

Step 2 – Lather up

Generously lather your face with shaving cream

Step 3 – Creating “Circle beard”

Basically, you’ll want to shave until you have a “circle beard.” Start by shaving the sideburns and cheeks. Leave about two inches of hair on both sides of the mouth.

Razor away all the hair on the bottom and the sides, until just above the Adam’s apple.

Step 4 – Rinse

The excess hair and shaving cream. All you need from here on out is enough shaving cream to smooth the way for the razor without covering up all the hair.

Step 5 – Use a Beard Comb

Unholster your beard comb and comb the hair out so you can keep the process orderly.

Step 6 – Creating and Shaping the Goatee

Shave and clean up the chin beard into a goatee. The Van Dyke is known for the pointy chin beard, so if you have long enough beard hair, trim the chin hair to a sharp point.

If you grow a soul patch, it’s a popular look to keep the soul patch.

For the un-steady-handed, we have a guide with tips on how to trim a beard with scissors.

You can also use an electric trimmer instead of scissors, but if you know how to handle beard scissors like a pro, you’ll be better able to get the sharp points and clean lines that the Van Dyke is famous for.


Don’t Run with Scissors

The Van Dyke is a tightly styled look, so it requires precision. At this step, grab your scissors, and carefully trim the hair connecting the corners of the mustache to the beard.

We also have a guide that shows how to trim a mustache for anyone looking for pointers. Like the goatee, the mustache in the Van Dyke is also pointed.


Wash again and check for any patches of missed hair. The Van Dyke is distinct for its clean edges.

Comb Your Beard

Comb the hair out and then use beard balm or wax to style en pointe.

You can also make your own DIY beard wax, and since this style requires styling every day, in addition to regular shaving and touching-up, making your own beard wax is a cost-effective option.

At this point, you should be looking in the mirror and seeing an imperial visage, dignified by a Van Dyke style, with pointed mustache and goatee. It’s a style fit for royalty.

Photos from: Lisa Young © and mackoflower ©

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