Since hipsterism became one of the biggest trends, men have been sporting more and more facial hair.
Walking down any street in America today, a person is almost certain to spot significantly more facial hair on display than a decade ago.
But is facial hair on a guy attractive to the opposite sex?
Despite the rise of the beards in recent years, there has been no consensus on whether a majority of women seek out a bearded man, relationship wise.
Luckily, this question has been answered. And the results are somewhat definitive.
The Journal of Evolutionary Biology published a study that stated that, yes, straight women find bearded men attractive.
But how did the journal come to this conclusion?
After all, a study is only as good as the work that went into it. However, it turns out that The Journal of Evolutionary Biology used a rock solid testing method. And no, it was much more exhaustive than just asking, “Do you like bearded or clean-shaven men?”
Instead, more than 8,500 women were shown pictures of 36 different men. However, there were four photos of each man shown. The first showed them fully shaved. The second showed them with a short five-day beard. The third showed them with 10 days of growth. And the fourth showed them with a full four-week beard.
The results gave this answer: women found the 10-day beards the most attractive.
So there you have it. The full-on hipster beard and the clean-shaven classical look lost out to something in between.
If this were the male face Olympics, then five-day stubble would win the silver medal.
Coming in with the bronze would be full on beards. Clean-shaven faces would get no medal.
The study explained that “extremely masculinized and, to an even greater extent, extremely feminized faces were least attractive when clean shaven.”
Of course, this now leaves another question in the minds of men looking to woo miss right.
What’s the best beard length from five days to four weeks?
10 days is the apparent winner at the moment. But the study didn’t test days between the fifth day, 10th day and fourth-week marks. It could be that something closer to 15 days is the most attractive! Undoubtedly there’s room for another study that identifies the peak times for men to grow out or trim down their stubble.
But there’s another twist. The study did something a little devious with its test subjects.
Some of the faces were digitally enhanced to be overly feminized or masculinized. That means that some of the men appeared more butch or ladylike than they actually were.
These altered photos produced another interesting answer. For short-term relationships, women wanted to be with the masculine guys. This stood for both bearded and non-bearded masculine faces.
So why is this? Well, it all comes down to evolution.
The study states that “sexual selection may have shaped different preference functions in women when judging different androgenic secondary sexual traits in men.” Basically, this means that thanks to evolution, women select masculine-looking males for short-term relationship opportunities.
It all goes back to caveman thinking. The impression is that masculine faces have more short-term benefits, i.e. protection from other tribes, due to the strength that the features convey.
Of course, every person has their perception of beauty. That means that some women find cleanly shaven feminine looking guys attractive. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
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