Johnny Depp made waves when he debuted his iconic beard as Jack Sparrow. That beard, but mostly its variations, became Depp’s trademark look through most of the early 2000s. It’s a rocking look, even though he probably kept it to be primed for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.
Only the boldest and brashest people can pull off this look. What really makes it work is the confidence you have in growing it. That said, it’s also a great venture to try if you want a fully authentic Halloween costume.
Let’s Deconstruct, What is the Jack Sparrow Beard?
The Jack Sparrow beard is comprised of 3 elements, a mustache, a chin strap, and chin hair grown extra long. The iconic element to it is the two braids at the chin.
Since the thing most people remember about the Jack Sparrow beard is the braids, you can get away with playing around with the look. After all, a lot of what defined Johnny Depp’s take on it is his beard. He can’t grow a full beard, so it suited him.
On a more basic level, the look has a disconnected mustache and soul patch. The chin strap leaves the cheeks and sideburns bare and has a clearly defined neckline.
Braided & Pirate Beard History
Knowing a bit more context to pirate facial hairstyles might help you get ideas on how to play around with this look. Beard braiding (at least amongst western or European pirates) goes all the way back to the Vikings. Their take on it was very similar to the Jack Sparrow beard, but theirs were usually much thicker beards.
The braided pirate beard was popular for seafaring pirates and merchants, as it allowed greater control over the beard with less maintenance. It wasn’t necessarily universal, as many pirates exhibited a full beard or a Van Dyke goatee.
What Face Shape Can Pull off the Jack Sparrow Beard?
Given how bold of a look the Jack Sparrow beard is, this question is probably unnecessary. If you want this look, you’re going to go for it regardless.
Johnny Depp has a triangular-shaped face, and naturally, he pulls it off rather nicely. That said, rounder face shapes, like the heart-shaped face, oval face, and round face pulls it off well too since the beard style lengthens their features while accentuating their face’s width.
How to Grow the Jack Sparrow Beard
The Jack Sparrow beard is a big endeavor, as it’s incredibly complicated to style and maintains. The more practice you have trimming and styling beards, the better. However, playing around with it and practicing as you go will get you the same results after a while.
Let your beard grow out fully for at least a month. You probably won’t have the proper chin hair length yet for braiding. However, if you want to trim and shape your beard at this point, this is a good time to start.
Styling Your Pirate Beard
Your chin has to be a minimum length of 5-inches to braid it effectively. The rest of the beard can be styled once it reaches a length of 1 to 2 inches.
Styling a beard is easiest when you trim from the outside-in. Removing components is a lot easier than adding them. You want to trim the beard first with either scissors but more likely electric trimmers before using a straight razor or electric shaver to sharpen the look.
Before trimming, clean your beard and brush it so the hairs are generally well-aligned. Start by shaving your cheeks and sideburns down to the jawline, making sure to avoid the mustache.
You can trim your neck hair to your comfort level. Jack Sparrow’s beard grows to his neck, but it can be trimmed closer to the chin if you prefer more definition.
The mustache ends need to be grown beyond the edges of your mouth. However, they don’t fully connect. Use your electric trimmers to shave the connectors where they meet the hair around your jawline.
To trim out your soul patch, use electric trimmers or a plain pair of scissors to give it more of a triangular shape, point downwards. This requires a lot of delicate movements, so proceed with excess caution.
Braiding Your Beard
For most guys, braiding your beard is likely going to be difficult for you if you’re not already familiar with how to braid hair.
Make sure your beard hair is clean. Using beard oil or a conditioner is also recommended since that will make your hair more pliable and easier to work with.
Comb your hair so that it’s uniformly straight, then separate into 6 equal strands. Part them in the middle using your hand so you have 2 groups of 3 loose strands.
You can start with either of the 2 groups. Take the leftmost strand (of the 3) and cross it with the center strand, so that the leftmost strand is in the center. Then take the rightmost strand and cross it with the center (previously leftmost) strand.
Continue with this, alternating each side with the other, then repeat for the second braid. Use either a small elastic band or beads, if you want to stick with the authentic look.
If you’re confused about how to braid, you can look up a video online. This is easier to see.
Maintaining the Look
Maintaining the Jack Sparrow beard can be pretty complicated, depending on how your beard grows in. If you have a thick beard that grows quickly, you’ll need to regularly trim your mustache and chinstrap, while shaving the cheeks and sideburns.
Feel free to play around with your beard style as you please. A pirate facial hair isn’t limited solely to the Jack Sparrow beard. This look is meant to be fun and adventurous. Have fun with it.
Variations on the Jack Sparrow Beard Style
There’s not a lot of room for variety here, but the little room there is will let you adjust the look to your own beard and personality.
Johnny Depp essentially grew out his beard as full as he can, then let his chin hair grow longer for the braids. Shaping the rest of your beard differently lets you play around with what suits you.
If you let your beard grow in more fully on your cheeks, you can give it more of a sophisticated look. Letting your sideburns grow in is another option. You can either let them grow fully to connect your beard or leave them disconnected. Further manicuring your beard can give it a clean, yet still sophisticated appearance.
The disconnectedness of the components is a defining part of the Johnny Depp beard. However, if your beard grows in more fully, you don’t need to stress to maintain distinct separations between your soul patch or mustache with the rest of the beard.