A team of researchers from Canada and New Zealand studied the reactions of 200 women to find out for certain. After taking photos of 19 European and Samoan men with “six weeks of growth without any shaving or trimming,” researchers then asked their fuzzy subjects to shave it all off. Women then rated the clean-shaven look as significantly more attractive than the beardy one, according to the Daily Mail via journal Behavioral Ecology. (But does it really count if Ryan Gosling wasn’t in one of the photos?)
When other men were asked their opinion, they said that men pictured looked older and angrier when bearded.
However, both sexes said that facial hair added gravitas, with bearded men perceived to have a higher social status and command more respect from other men.
The results suggest that beards send a signal of masculinity to other men but do little to attract women. [Daily Mail]
Well, damn. This totally flies in the face of today’s “I’m a sensitive and shmexy lumberjack, check out my beard and flannel,” default male styling. According to study co-author Paul Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge, beards make a person more intimidating to rivals. But not all beards are created equal. If you were wondering about how stubble fares on the attractiveness scale, Dr. Nick Neave, a Northumbria University psychologist, told the British tabloid that “light stubble” garners the most enthusiastic ratings from women.
“It was almost as if women preferred a man who could grow a beard but hadn’t,” he said.
Ah yes, the ol’ “leave a little something to the imagination.” Who knew it applied to facial hair?
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