Men with long beards are everywhere around us and it has become fashionable quite a lot. In the past the long full beard was common for weathered sea captains and fish finger proprietors, but today many men are growing their beards and keeping it well trimmed and nice looking. In November there is also a global movement for growing beards as a symbol of support to men who struggle with prostate cancer.
If you are a man, you may wonder if your full beard would be attractive for some lady. On this question the researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Stirling have conducted a study that has been released in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
In the study were involved 919 predominantly heterosexual women in the age range of 18 to 70 years old. These ladies received three face male pictures and asked to rate their attractiveness in terms of short and long-term relationships. The male faces were with beard and without a beard having clean-shaven face. The women were given questionnaires in which there were the five levels of ‘masculinity’ defined with full beards, a prominent jaw line and brow, and a deep set of narrow eyes. The questionnaires were measuring attitudes like their revulsion in response to parasites that live on the body, and their desire to have children.
The results were the following, women generally found “masculine” faces more fanciable than “feminine” ones, and this distinction was not based whether the face was bearded or clean-shaven or in terms of a potential short or long-term relationship.
Yes, bearded men were considered more attractive than clean-shaven men, as they seem to be physically and socially more dominant. However, before considering ditching the razor, have in mind that not every participant was a fan of the beard. Namely, some women reported higher levels of disgust for ectoparasites (fleas and lice) that maybe found in beards and that made the men with beard less appealing.
The team of researchers stated the following about the results of this study:
This could be interpreted as evidence that facial hair is preferred as a marker of health among women with high pathogen concerns, or that facial hair masks areas of the face that would communicate ill health.
The study co-author Anthony Lee, from the University of Stirling, explained this fear of ectoparasites in The Guardian:
This is likely to be the case for the majority of our evolutionary past. In modern times, with increased grooming and overall better hygiene, this link between hairiness and carrying ectoparasites may no longer exist, but the evolved tendency may still persist.
Lee continues with the explanation that men should not base their decisions of beard growing on a single study, but in fact they should do what they feel is best for them. If the person who you are with at the moment or the one that you meet likes you, then she would not mind whether you have a facial hair or not, and for sure she will like you the way you are.