A new study has found that women find bearded men to be more attractive when establishing a long-term relationship. The findings suggest that a beard may signify benefits, such as enhanced fertility and survival, to females.
The researchers used computer graphic manipulation to morph male faces varying in facial hair from clean-shaven all the way to full-bearded. The faces also varied in masculinized and feminized facial features.
Women then viewed these varying images. The researchers found that very feminine and very masculine features were least attractive. Stubble was seen as most attractive overall, especially for short-term relationships, and full beards were found more attractive for long-term relationships.
Images of men that looks very masculine or very feminine were seen as the most unattractive regardless of the type of relationship.
The authors wrote, “Sexual selection via female choice has shaped the evolution of male ornamentation in many species.”