Think of the Van Dyke Beard - sometimes called a Musketeer or a Charlie - as a classic goatee (think chin only) with an awesome mustache.
Like the full goatee, the cheeks are shaven clean, but unlike the full goatee, there’s a visible gap between the beard and the mustache.
(It’s worth mentioning that some consider a connected beard and mustache a Van Dyke as well, but we like to stick to the classic definition - with a gap.)
Van Dyke Beard Variations
The fact that the beard and the mustache are clearly disconnected with the Van Dyke allows for individual styling options.
The length of the beard may vary, and some men go for an anchor-like shape. The most popular individual touch is added to the Van Dyke by focusing on an extravagant mustache. A mustache curled into a handlebar is a classic, but the sky is the limit here.
Last but not least, the soul patch is optional. Usually a part of the Van Dyke, some opt to shave it for an even more distinct separation.
What Face Shape Best Fits a Van Dyke Beard?
The Van Dyke is a versatile style that fits many face shapes: Square, Oval, Round, Heart-shaped… the Van Dyke does it all.
If you have an Oblong face, the Van Dyke might not be the best choice. While a short version of the Van Dyke might look great, stay away from a long beard, as this will only extend the oblong-ness of your face.
Famous Wearers of the Van Dyke Beard
First up - the gentlemen who gave the beard his name, 17th-Century Flemish painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck.
The nickname Charlie stems from King Charles I of England, who’s been painted sporting a mighty Van Dyke.
Probably the most popular proponent of the Van Dyke alive today is Johnny Depp, who seems to be wearing a Van Dyke most of the time when spotted in the wild.
Another Hollywood star wearing a beauty of a Van Dyke is Mel Gibson. That’s as Van Dyke-y as it gets.
How to Trim a Van Dyke Beard
- Grow some good all-round hair to get a good starting point.
- Use a trimmer to remove as much of the hair as you can on the cheeks and on the neck under your beard.
- Trim the hair between the beard and the mustache. Be careful not to trim your mustache too much as that will limit your creativity.
- Optional: Remove the soul patch.
- Decide on the shape and length of your beard and mustache. Carefully use your trimmer to get both to where you want them. Again, careful with the mustache, as getting into the almighty handlebar territory takes time and attention to detail.
- Lastly, shave the areas you’ve trimmed down in the beginning (cheeks, neck, between beard and mustache) clean.
There you go - welcome to the awesome world of Van Dykes!
The Van Dyke Beard is a great first step into getting your individual style going. It fits many face shapes, from Square to Oval to Round, and can be worn from timid to outright crazy.
A beauty to look at when worn properly, the Van Dyke does require regular maintenance. Shave the clean parts often to maintain the classic look, and give that mustache a lot of love, especially if you’re going for one of the more extravagant looks.