Men have a need to express themselves whether they are conscious of it or not. They find different mediums to do this in. It could be through their work, sports, art or their fashion sense. An example of a man who has been able to achieve different styles of self-expression is the seventeenth-century Flemish artist Antoon van Dyck. He was a successful painter at the court of King Charles I creating elegant art works for the royal family and its subjects. His style was so well received that it was among those emulated for more than a century and a half. He was not only appreciated for his work. His personal appearance also drew admiration.

Antoon van Dyck or Sir Anthony van Dyke as he was also known wore a distinctly unique beard. This was depicted in his self-portrait as well as those he painted of King Charles I. It is a style that combines a moustache and goatee, which however were detached from one another. The soul patch, located just below the lower lip in the chin area is optional. The cheeks should also be clean-shaven. There have been various adaptations of this particular style that can include a curled mustache. The basic components however must remain the same.

Creating a Van Dyke beard is better when starting from scratch. Being completely shaven will help establish an even base for this style. Hair will be able to grow out at the same time, constructing a uniform appearance. The stubble should reach about one fourth of an inch before shaving, taking one to two weeks before it can achieve this length. It is quite possible to begin with previously grown facial hair as opposed to starting fresh. The difficulty however lies in the ability to control the eventual result.

Sculpting the Van Dyke begins with washing the face with warm water to open up the pores. A good shaving cream is then lathered on the cheeks, above the lip and the chin area. The first step is to create a circle beard. Shaving off the side burns and any hair that is on the cheeks is how this is completed. Anything below the jaw should also be taken out while leaving the chin and hair beneath it untouched. The only other areas that should remain are the moustache and the soul patch. There should be about an inch worth of hair left on either side of the mouth left for shaping the Van Dyke. This is what will constitute the general area of the beard.

Rinse the face to wash away any excess shaving cream before beginning with the precision portion of this style. Only minimal amounts of it should be applied on the areas that will be trimmed off. Begin with the neck area and shave everything below the Adam’s apple. This should create a small and distinct goatee. It could appear slightly pointed and can be styled using a tiny amount of wax. The moustache will then have to be disconnected from the goatee using some scissors. This should appear very neat and shaving off any additional stubble should be done to highlight the sharpness of this style. Finally, the area around the soul patch should remain clean. These three areas should look distinct and stand out against the backdrop of the face.

There are different ways to grow a beard. The Van Dyke is just one of those that provides a man the opportunity to express himself through his personal style. It must be remembered however that this requires regular maintenance. Letting the surrounding hair grow for more than a week will undermine the sleek effect that this beard can give off. Meticulous care might have to be provided to ensure that the Van Dyke appears as it is meant to be.

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