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Is a Beard the Way to A Woman’s Heart? Study Reports Women Most Attracted to Heavy Stubble

Update Date: Apr 29, 2013 01:22 PM EDT

The definition of attractiveness has been known to change over time, with different trends becoming popular based on different societies. According to a new research, the beard might making its way back as a popular facial feature. The study done by researchers from the Evolution and Ecology Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia found that the majority of women and men stated that heavy stubble, which is usually acquired after ten days of growth, was the most attractive facial hair feature in men.  

The research team gathered 351 female participants, 177 heterosexual men, and 10 other men who served as models for this experiment. All 10 of the male models were photographed in four different ways, which were fully shaved, light stubble, heavy stubble, and fully bearded. Light stubble was defined as five days of beard growth and heavy stubble was 10 days of growth. These photographs were shown to the volunteers, whose job was to rate their levels of attractiveness in each stage.

The researchers concluded that men and women agreed that men with heavy stubble were the most attractive out of the four options. Men with light stubble were rated the lowest while heavy beards and full shaven faces tied for second. In order to control for possible contributing variables, the researchers asked women for their menstrual cycles and the types of oral contraceptives that they might be using. These factors did not seem to affect their perception of heavy stubble as the most attractive facial hair feature.

Despite concluding that men with heavy stubble are considered to be the most attractive, the researchers did not have a logical explanation as to why women and men agreed on this stage of beard growth. The researchers reasoned that heavy stubble could be attributed to masculinity and maturity, whereas light stubble could be seen as unattractive due to the patchy nature of this stage of hair growth.

The study was published in the Evolution of Human Behavior

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