Young man relaxing on park bench

Beards boost male beauty

Fashions come and go and the elaborate moustaches and mullet hair-dos of 70s and 80s have given way but it seems facial hair may be making a comeback for men. As young men have been embracing the beard in recent years, and as we approach Movember, a new study has found that women do like a bearded man when it comes to long-term relationships.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Queensland photographed 36 men at three stages of facial hair growth: clean shaven, light stubble (five days of growth), heavy stubble (10 days of growth) and a full beard (at least four weeks of untrimmed growth). On top of this, the photographs were altered on occasions to look either more masculine or more feminine.

The researchers then asked 8520 women to view the pictures and rate how attractive they thought each man was as well as how attractive they were for a short-term or long-term relationship.

It emerged that men with light and heavy stubble were considered the most attractive but were considered by the women as best for short-term relationships while men with beards were thought to be best for long-term relationships. The results also showed that full beards and heavy stubble did the most to reduce the effects of small changes in face shape. So the thought is that beards and stubble can hide overly masculine or feminine face shapes. This may be why bearded men are favoured for long-term relationships as other studies show that overly masculine men are subconsciously regarded as less caring and considerate and therefore less appealing as a long-term partner.

It’s a cautionary tale though ladies … admire the hirsutery by all means but beware what lies beneath.

Source: Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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