Study: Ladies, for Long-Term Relationships, Don’t Fear the Beard

Bearded Man

There is that faction of women out there who wouldn’t touch a bearded man with a 10-foot pole. Sure, some find it itchy to the touch, while others don’t want a man who appears unkempt. That said there is a solid amount of women out there who do not fear the beard.

According to a new study conducted by researchers from Australia’s University of Queensland, Charles Sturt University and the University of New South Wales, a sizeable amount of women looking for a serious relationship will turn to a man with a face full of fuzz.

Reads the study: “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.”

To draw their conclusions, researchers gathered a group of 8,520 of heterosexual women to analyze 16 randomly selected photos. In these photos, women were presented with images of men who were clean-shaven; had five days worth of stubble; 10 days worth of stubble; and an untrimmed beard that’s been growing for at least 14 weeks.

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Subsequently, the group of women were asked to look at the photos and rate the men in them in terms of general physical attractiveness, how eye-catching someone would be in a short-term relationship and how desirable someone would be for a long-term relationship.

In all, men with heavy stubble were rated the most attractive, followed immediately by those with light stubble. Men with full beards and those with the clean-shaven look came in third and fourth, respectively. That said, when women were asked about who they felt would be better for a long-term relationship, the men with full beards came out on top. 

As for the guys with lesser facial hair, they proved to be more appealing to women looking for shorter-term relationships.

While all beards come in at a different rate, growing one and keeping it maintained is certainly a major commitment in and of itself. Perhaps, then, when a woman sees a man with such a beefy beard, she knows that this is a person capable of sticking it out through thick and thin.

-Adam Grant

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