Men with beards are seen as more attractive prospects for a long-term relationship than their clean shaven peers.
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, arrived at this conclusion following a study of 8,250 women. Each participant was given a series of photographs of men both with and without beards. They were asked to rate them on overall attractiveness and who they believed would have better “relationship longevity”.
The women surveyed said that men with beards were best option for a long term relationship, whereas men with stubble were voted the most attractive overall. Beards were found to give men “an older, more masculine, socially dominant and aggressive appearance”.
The researchers found that women were less attracted to faces that were either too masculine or too feminine. Facial hair brings a sense of balance to both kinds of faces which, in turn, increases their appeal to women. Beards could also “mask the unattractive features of having overly feminine or masculine face shapes” the authors wrote.
These results back up previous research, which also showed that women tend to prefer men with either stubble or a beard to those who are clean shaven, so “the widespread popularity of shaving remains an important paradox for research to address”.
The full study was published in the academic Journal of Evolutionary Biology.