Let’s talk about the Van Dyke. No, not Dick. (Yes, me hearties, the Cap’n is dating himself with that here reference. The Cap’n remembers Dick van Dyke and walking to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.) Anyway, buccaneers, let’s talk about that style known as the Van Dyke beard. What is it and how can you get one?
The Van Dyke was named after 17th century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck and consists of a mustache and a goatee while the facial hair on the cheeks is clean-shaven. Buffalo Bill wore one and so has Johnny Depp. Now, how can you, worthy swashbuckler, grow your own?
The first step, as always, is to let yer best asset grow. Don’t ye dare attempt to shape anything until ye have half an inch of growth. For some pirates that might take two weeks and for others it might be a month. When yer ready to shape yer best asset, start with yer sideburns. Start near your ears and shave downwards removing most of the hair on yer cheeks, leaving approximately two inches to both sides of yer mouth. Then ye can start on the other side, shave the hair from the bottom and sides of yer neck. Ye wanna stop just above your Adam’s apple. Leave yer mustache and soul patch intact. What ye got now is called a “circle beard,” which was very popular in the 90s. (Darn, there he goes again dating himself. Yeah, I remember the 90s… and the 80s… and even the 70s… possibly even a part of the 60s, but don’t tell anyone.)
The next step is what the Cap’n calls the nitty-gritty. This is where the precision work begins. Start trimming – carefully, very carefully — the hair from your neck until you are left with a goatee (it’s that small, neat facial hair on yer chin). An electric razor will help ye control the overall shape and definition of yer chin hairs. Normally, the Van Dyke beard is a bit pointed.
Next, ye need to disconnect yer mustache from yer chin beard. Remember, buccaneer, it’s only a Van Dyke if yer goatee and yer mustache aren’t connected. Then ye need to trim yer mustache. Remember, cut twice, measure once… errr… hold that… measure twice, cut once. (His rum sometimes gets the better of the Cap’n.) A classic Van Dyke mustache is neat and also a bit pointed. Make sure it looks good and ye didn’t miss any spots. Avast, matey, yer done! Give yerself a hearty pirate “ARRRR!!!” and again “ARRRR!!!” ye mighty swashbuckler.
Then ye just have to maintain it. Remember, a Van Dyke tells the world ye are a pirate of the seven seas. It’s a refined look. And if ye wanna look refined, ye need to comb yer beard on a regular basis. That way ye can check for stray hairs and trim yer mug. Ye need to keep yer lines sharp and ship-shape. Yer beard will keep growin’ and that’s a good thing, but it also means that ye need to pay attention to it on a daily basis. Follow these steps, matey, and ye will be the Belle of the Ball… errr… scratch that… it’s that dastardly rum again. Ye’ll be the (Buffalo) Bill of the Ball…
Or a rogue of the seven seas… a handsome outlaw… like the Cap’n. (At least that’s what the lassies tell him.)
May fair winds be always at yer back!