In the past, when a man had a beard, it signified they were someone important, such as a doctor or psychologist. Many men in that time grew beards to look the part and to avoid having to shave every day. It was also beneficial (according to some men) to have a beard to scratch when “deep in thought.” While this was true, many men still preferred the clean-shaven look that was considered normal.
Today, though, facial hair is becoming much closer to the norm than a clean-shaven look. At the very least, it is a well-established trend that is still growing in popularity. Modern men are sporting an array of looks ranging to the wizard-Esque Dumbledore full beard to closely cropped stubble. There’s one question that many men want to know the answer to: Does facial hair make a man less or more attractive to women?
The Preference of Women
There are some women who find masculine, well-groomed characteristics attractive. While this is true, a woman’s preferences also change based on their specific mating goals, according to bossmanbrand.com. Some believe that facial hair is a polarizing characteristic. It’s something some women appreciate and find attractive while others view it as a turn-off.
One particularly insightful study related to the effects of men’s facial hair on the perception a woman has regarding a man’s dominance, masculinity, and attractiveness. In this study, the researchers asked participants to rate several male faces based on how attractive they found them. The faces were then altered digitally to show different levels of facial hair ranging from clean-shaven, a light stubble, a heavy stubble, a short beard, and a full beard.
For every new alteration, the women who were participating were asked to rate each face based on social maturity, attractiveness, dominance, aggression, and masculinity. They were also asked to indicate their level of desire for the male as a short or a long-term partner.
Based on the results of this study, the women polled found the men with light stubble the most attractive. In fact, these were the men who were preferred as both long- and short-term partners. Also, women perceived the male faces with a full beard as the most socially mature, aggressive, and masculine. It was also shown that the participants found these men to look the oldest. The men who had a light beard were thought of as being the most dominant.
Another study was conducted by Dixson and Brooks in 2013 and it relied on a similar process. However, in this situation, the reactions and judgments of both women and men were recorded as related to the faces of men with varying levels of facial hair.
Like the initial study mentioned above, women found that men with stubble were the most attractive (note that in this study the stubble was heavier than in the first). While this is true, women rated the men who had a full beard as the best for their healthiness and parenting abilities.
Put simply, as a man’s facial hair increased, the ratings from the women related to masculinity increased, as well. This was especially the case for the women who were recorded as being at the fertile point of their menstrual cycle. The men who were studied had very similar judgments of facial hair but did find that full beards were just as appealing as heavy stubble. Men were also noted as stating that there was an increased perception of overall masculinity as the facial hair increased.
What Do These Studies Prove?
So, the question is, do women find men with beards more attractive? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. The studies showed that individuals who had an intermediate level of stubble were considered to be more attractive and appealing as a sex partner, while men with full beards were perceived as being someone with a good ability to father children and to be more invested in their offspring.
Based on these results, it can be concluded that a man should opt to grow a beard based on their personal relationship goals along with the goals of their chosen partner. It appears a guy will find it easier to be noticed and even considered more sexually appealing if they have some stubble on their face, and this is especially true when the main is also well-groomed and well dressed. Combine all this with flirtatious touching, sexy eye contact, and the right conversation for the best results.
When is a Full Beard a Good Idea?
Men who are in a comfortable and long-term relationship, or who want to find one, can benefit from the full-beard look. This is particularly the case if the man wants to be seen as a “father figure” or the fatherly type. Women who are looking to settle down with a family will likely be more attracted to a man with a full beard (based on the findings of the studies mentioned above).
Full beards offer other benefits, as well. For example, the full beard results in a man being perceived as trustworthy, masculine, and healthier. Beards help individuals build rapport with their partners, demonstrate positive personality traits, and even stand out in a crowd. The key here is for men to keep their beard trimmed and well-groomed for the best results.
While all this is true, there are some women who don’t care for facial hair on a man at all. This means there is still a chance for those men who put time and effort into keeping their face clean-shaven. However, just like with several other mating cues, most women will base their like or dislike of facial hair and what they consider attractive on the relationship dynamic they are searching for. A guy may be more likely to attract the relationship and partner they really want by altering their facial hair at least slightly.
With the information here, a man can make an educated decision regarding their facial hair. While there is no black-and-white answer regarding if a man with more facial hair is more attractive, the information here provides a lot of insight into the women’s psyche.