Fun facts first: This beard style did not originate in France. Neither did the fork it got its name from.
The term French Fork means a fork with 2 prongs. A French Fork Beard is a Full Beard trimmed (or styled) into 2 “prongs” at the bottom.
This type of utensil was introduced to Europe through France, hence the name. But it actually originated in the Middle East - just like the beard it describes. First spotted in the Persian Empire, this particular style of beard has had periods of popularity throughout history: As far back as the Viking Empire, across the 14th Century Renaissance to 19th Century German aristocracy, the French Fork Beard has seen it all.
Nowadays, it’s considered a fancy style rarely seen in the wild. However, it can be pulled off neat enough to make it socially acceptable, so why not give it a try?
French Fork Beard Variations
The classic French Fork Beard is pretty well defined and does not offer tons of variations.
The length of the beard is the main variable here. A Full Beard is definitely required, but once you get there, your French Fork Beard can vary anywhere from 3 to 7 inches in length.
Beyond that, you can play with the neckline, cheek line, and mustache to mix things up a bit, but leave the Full Beard as a base to stick to the classic definition.
There is one exception: Brad Pitt, being the beard icon he is, sometimes pulls off a Circle Beard styled into a French Fork.
Some people consider Captain Jack Sparrow to rock a French Fork Beard - but we disagree. While technically featuring two prongs, they’re braided, and therefore make this a whole different beast: The Jack Sparrow Beard.
What Face Shape Best Fits a French Fork Beard?
When kept neat, the French Fork Beard fits many face shapes.
It adds an interesting “jagged boxiness” to the bottom of any face, so if your face shape is Round or Oval and that’s your goal, this might be worth a try.
If your face is boxy already, like a Square or Oblong shape, this might look too extreme. Also, heart-shaped faces might be a hit or miss.
Famous Wearers of the French Fork Beard
Never quite making it mainstream (or at least there is no photographic evidence to prove it), the French Fork Beard was worn by some well-known people throughout history.
Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard (no kidding…) has been depicted with a...well, Fork Beard.
The first Norman Kind of England, William the Conqueror, seems to have sported a French Fork Beard.
Italian artist Paolo Uccello wore a French Fork Beard as full as it gets.
German Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849 - 1930) rocked a mighty French Fork Beard.
Brad Pitt rocks one based on a Circle Beard - and looks good doing so. As Brad Pitt usually does.
How to Trim a French Fork Beard
- Relax and let it grow for 4-6 weeks. You want some good material to start with.
- Define your neck- and cheek line, and give your new beard a bit of a clean up by trimming outlier hairs.
Use a good Beard Wax to separate the bottom of your beard, shaping the 2 prongs
- Use a precision trimmer to shape the actual beard into the shape desired.
If you want to stick with the French Fork Beard, we highly recommend trimming it, as it’ll look neater and require less maintenance. But if you’ve got a Full Beard and simply want to give this one a try without committing, use wax and see how you like it.
Whichever way you go, keep it neat. It’s a wild style, but it’s not supposed to look unkempt.
Enjoying bursts of popularity over the last 1000 years or so, the French Fork Beard is named after the 2-pronged fork popularized by France in the 14th Century. It’s a Full Beard, typically 3 - 7 inches long, which splits into 2 “prongs” at the bottom.
It’s a wild style not often seen nowadays. But if you have a Full Beard and are in the mood for something crazy, why not give it a try?
Even though split, this is still a big beard, and needs big love. The French Fork Beard is meant to look neat and clean, so make sure you keep those lines trimmed and treat it with the Best Beard Products out there.