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Brian Delaurenti and Johnathan Dahl, collectively known as The Gay Beards, are more than just two attractive best friends with impressive facial hair. The well-coiffed duo has captured the hearts of their Instagram followers (which top off at 146K) and YouTube subscribers with a unique talent: accessorizing their beards.
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Though they sky-rocketed to Internet-fame with their uber-popular glitter beards, the Portland-natives and self-described hipsters have also decorated their facial hair with everything from Cheeto puffs to Legos to kale salads, each of which they photographed and posted to social media.
Combined with the high-quality production of their photos, their impeccable style and, of course, their bar-none beards, the 25-year-olds and their stellar facial hair have taken the men’s grooming world by storm.
Pret-a-Reporter caught up with The Gay Beards for a quick game of 20 questions, where Delaurenti and Dahl dish on everything from best grooming practices to the one thing they’d never attempt to put in their beards. (Hint: If it moves, you probably won’t see it on their faces anytime soon.)
1. When and how did you meet?
The Gay Beards: The year was 1998 and we met through a mutual friend one evening after school. It wasn’t even an hour later that we were best friends. Some things in life just make sense, and our newly discovered friendship was certainly one of them.
2. Who grew the beard first? At what age?
Brian: I began growing out my beard shortly after Halloween of 2013 on a whim.
Johnathan: I began growing mine out a few months later, best friends do everything together, right?
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3. How did you guys get started with your Instagram and YouTube channels?
TGB: One summer afternoon in 2014, with fresh beards in tow, we yammered away about creating an art project based around beards. Being avid gardeners (which probably doesn’t surprise anyone being that we’re from Portland), one day a good friend photographed us with some freshly cut flowers in our beards. Needless to say after posting those photos on Instagram, the rest was truly history.
4. Why “The Gay Beards” for your name?
J: The name really says a lot about our humor, specifically the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We wanted to create something that was funny and inspirational, all at the same time. Not to mention, it’s quite an eerily accurate description.
B: Our aim was not to promote the fact that we are gay, because in all reality, that does not define us by any means. However, so many individuals out in this world struggle with accepting themselves due to social stigmas attached to various sexualities and gender identities. We hope that our name helps remove some of that negativity, especially if it encourages even one person to feel less isolated for being who they are.
5. What are your day jobs? Or do you blog full time?
TGB: Both of us are currently weening off of our day jobs and hope to be stay-at-home-beards very soon. By trade, Johnathan is a musician, and Brian is a painter and photographer.
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6. Who grows the better beard?
TGB: We’d have to say that to us, most all beards are “better” in their own right. Some are longer, others are darker, coarser, fluffier, etc. As long as they can hold even one flower, that’s a beautiful beard to us.
7. You have a video on how you care for your beard, but what’s your number one most important tip for beard care?
Brian: Be good to your beard with showers that aren’t too hot, and lots of beard oil.
Johnathan: Keep that bad boy trimmed! Even if it’s the tiniest bit at a time, make sure to snip the wild strays.
8. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen men make with their beards?
TGB: Not growing them out. So many men have the ability to grow these insanely ferocious face manes, and they choose not to. Often times we find though, even with our own experiences, they don’t grow them because they didn’t know they could. Everything is worth trying once, especially a beard.
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9. Best part of having a beard?
B: They breathe well in the summer and protect your face from too much sun.
J: They are built-in heaters for the winter, keeping your face frost-free.
10. The worst part?
TGB: Trying to eat anything. Sandwiches and soup are the absolute worst when it comes to staying out of our beards. Anyone with a beard probably understands that soup usually is followed with a shower.
11. Do you ever wear your decorated beards out in public in Portland?
TGB: We’ve done it before, and we definitely will be doing it again. Last time we went out and about with flowers beards, the city gave us plenty of honks and waves. We don’t know that we would get that kind of reception everywhere, but Portland is definitely a city that shares the love.
12. Is there anything that you would never put in your beard?
B: I tried last summer to get us to do Ladybug Beards, but needless to say Johnathan wasn’t having it. So I guess we are still conquering the whole “living things inside our beard” category.
J: He’s crazy.
13. From the looks of your Instagram, you started with flowers in your beards. How did that evolve into other things, like food?
TGB: As they say, one thing just led to another. Flowers are always a good fit in a beard, but our minds tend to wander and it wasn’t long before we were making lists upon lists of possible beard decor. We still feel like the possibilities are limitless.
14. How do you clean your beard after putting things like glitter in it?
TGB: Most people think that the glitter is much harder to get out of our beards than it actually is. Usually we can comb/shake most of it out (making for the most eco-friendly clean up). The few bits that are left over usually are gone after a good shampoo and shower.
15. Any stories of glitter beards gone wrong? Or have you ever tried putting something in your beard and found it just doesn’t work?
TGB: Glittering our beards is a pretty mellow process and we haven’t run into any issues yet. One time though we attempted Skittles Beards with vaseline. We lost a little bit of our dignity on that day, as well as a lot of Skittles.
16. Do you guys have a favorite look?
TGB: Both of us tend to be big fans of anything colorful or vintage. If we can play off of these elements in any way, whether it be with our clothing or beard decor, it’s probably a favorite look of ours.
17. Who has the best beard in Hollywood at the moment? Of all time?
TGB: There is an episode in Fox’s Scream Queens where Nick Jonas sports a pretty sexy beard. That one.
18. You guys also have great style. Any favorite designers or stores?
TGB: Thank you kindly! We love brands from all over, but we are fond of Urban Outfitters, H&M, ASOS, and Pendleton. If we are being honest though, thrifting is where we find most of our favorites items to wear.
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19. You currently sell prints of your beards. Any plans for more merchandise in the future? Maybe branded beard oils?
TGB: There are a lot of things we have coming up, some of which are still a secret. We plan to have lots of goodies available after the first of the year, and you never know, you just might see a few beard product collaborations ahead.
20. Would you ever consider shaving?
TGB: We’ve said before that we very much would be willing to shave for a cool million. The way we see it, donate half to charity, move somewhere tropical for 6 months, and reemerge when the beards are back in business!
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