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

This beard style adds a classic mustache to a goatee while keeping the mustache and chin beard separated at the corners.

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

The Look

A Brief History

This facial hair style has been around since the 17th century 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 he called the “Van Dyck”.

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

Famous Historical Figures with Van Dyke Beard Style

This style was popular in the 17th century, gaining an imperial status after Antony van Dyck himself painted King Charles I of England sporting the dashing mustache-goatee style.

Famous Historical Figures with Van Dyke Beards

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

But Van Dyke style thrived as famous historical figures wore it proudly.

The list includes 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, this style 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.

Clean and Contemporary

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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.


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

Tools needed:

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As with any journey, preparing your face for this beard style will require some time.

You should shave your face clean and let the hairs grow back for around a week.

You can start with a full beard, but it’s better to start with new hairs because it will be easier to for styling and trimming. You need about a ¼” of beard hairs.

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

How To Style and Shape a Van Dyke Beard Style

Step 1 – Prep

1 week before you start shaping your beard into this style, shave your entire face clean to allow a consistent beard hairs 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 hairs on the bottom and the sides, until just above Adam’s apple.

Step 4 – Rinse

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 hairs.

Step 5 – Use a Beard Comb

Use a beard comb to even the hairs out and see if you’ve might miss some part.

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, trim the hairs on the chin to a sharp point.

If you grow a soul patch, keep it.

For the unsteady handed men, 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 scissors like a pro because you’ll better get the sharp points and clean lines that this facial hair style is famous for.


Don’t Run with Scissors

This is a tightly styled look, so it requires precision. At this step, grab your scissors and carefully trim the hairs 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 here 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.

If for any reason you want to buy a beard wax, here is a list of best beard waxes.

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

Photos from: Lisa Young © and mackoflower ©

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