Men seeking a long-term relationship should dump the razor and invest in a beard comb, according to research into how attractiveness can be linked to hair length.
According to a study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, women view men with stubble as more attractive for short-term flings than men with full beards, which were seen as more attractive for long-term relationships.
Investigators asked 8,520 women to rate photos of men for physical attractiveness in general, for a short-term or long-term relationship.
They manipulated the images to morph their facial hair from clean-shaven, through light and heavy stubble, to a full beard.
The researchers also altered the men’s brow ridge, cheekbones and jawline so they appeared more or less masculine.
Feminine faces were judged to be less attractive than unmanipulated faces when both were clean-shaven, while extremely masculine and extremely feminine-looking faces were judged the least attractive.
Stubble was judged most attractive overall and received higher ratings for short-term flings, while full beards were seen as more attractive for long-term relationships.
The study’s authors suggested beards may act as a signal of men’s age and masculine social dominance. They also said strong masculine facial features, such as a pronounced brow ridge and robust jawline, may signal underlying health.
“Sexual selection via female choice has shaped the evolution of male ornamentation in many species,” the study’s authors wrote.