Apologies to all of you guys out there who struggle to grow facial hair, I have some bad news for you.
Not only has a study deemed men with beards as being more attractive to women, but it has also suggested bearded men also make better boyfriends.
Maybe it is time then to put the razor and shaving cream down and just let your facial hair do its thing.
Now, as someone who dates a clean shaven man who I think is pretty great (hi Tom), this study is going to need solid evidence to convince me it has some standing.
Especially since surely facial hair doesn’t have an impact on whether a man is a good boyfriend or not as that is more down to personality.
So why is the study claiming otherwise?
Research paper The Masculinity Paradox: Facial Masculinity and Beardedness Interact to Determine Women’s Ratings of Men’s Facial Attractiveness, which was published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, looked at the association between men’s facial hair and women.
Led by Barnaby Dixson of the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, the study asked 8,520 women to rate men, both with and without facial hair, on a spectrum of ‘relationship longevity’ to see which ones were deemed long-term relationship material.
It turns out the bearded selection came out on top!
Presenting the study participants with a variety of male faces, the researchers manipulated these images using computer graphics to have a range of facial hair from clean-shaven to stubble to full-on beards.
Also asking the women to rate the men according to how attractive they found them, every single one of the 8,520 taking part rated the bearded images the highest compared to the clean-shaven ones.
The women also said they would consider these men as being long-term relationship material whereas clean-shaven men were more suitable for casual relationships.
And what’s more, the bigger the beard the more they were considered as being marriage material.
Discussing this, the research paper said:
Results showed a significant interaction between beardedness and masculinity on attractiveness ratings. Our findings suggest that beardedness may be attractive when judging long-term relationships as a signal of intrasexual formidability and the potential to provide direct benefits to females.
Male-typical facial features such as a pronounced brow ridge and a more robust jawline may signal underlying health, whereas beards may signal men’s age and masculine social dominance.
However, masculine faces are judged as more attractive for short-term relationships over less masculine faces, whereas beards are judged as more attractive than clean-shaven faces for long-term relationships.
In other words then, to the women taking part in the study having a beard is a sign a man has a good mix of both masculine and feminine features therefore making them a potentially good partner for the long-term.
However, I would argue that just because these women thought bearded men would be more suitable for long-term relationships, that doesn’t necessarily mean in reality they would be better boyfriends.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.