A guy’s typical morning routine often involves a good facial wash and a decent shave. Well it turns out men who are seeking long-term partners should probably do without the latter.
A recent study in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology found that men with beards were judged as more attractive for long-term relationships.
Researchers from Australia and Finland asked 8,250 women between the ages of 18 to 100 to rate images of men in terms of physical attractiveness for short-term and long-term relationships.
The images were altered to present the men as clean-shaven, with a light stubble, a heavy stubble and a full beard.
Beards are in
The female participants judged those with heavy stubble as most attractive for short-term relationships, with light stubble coming in second place.
Full beards on the other hand were judged as most attractive for long-term relationships.
“Stubble was judged as most attractive overall and received higher ratings for short-term relationships than full beards, which were more attractive for long than short-term relationships,” the researchers wrote.
(Image credit: Popular Beard Styles)
Beyond facial hair, the researchers also manipulated the men’s jaw lines, cheekbones and brow ridges to make them appear either more feminine or masculine.
They found that feminine faces were deemed less attractive than the unaltered versions, particularly when both were clean-shaven.
Sign of dominance
In explanation, the researchers suggested that full beards were an indicator of a man’s social dominance and good health.
“Bearded men are rated as older, more masculine, more socially dominant and aggressive looking than clean-shaven men,” added the authors. “Sexual selection via female choice has shaped the evolution of male ornamentation in many species.”
Health and parenting skills
A preceding study three years ago in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior found that specific types of facial hair played a big role in how others perceived an individual.
Men with full beards were perceived by women and other men as healthier than those without facial hair.
Both genders also perceived men with full beards as better parents, as full-bearded men were seen as more capable to “protect and invest in offspring.”
There might be some merits to the health claims, as a study the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry found that beards are able to block almost 95 per cent of harmful UV rays, which would reduce the likelihood of skin cancer.
Ditch the razor
If you ever needed a reason to skip a shave and rock out with a goatee, here you go. It’s about time to prep for Movember anyway.
Featured image by Jonathan Kos-Read