Beards are still living in their moment. They’re everywhere from the workplace, models, and actors are growing them. Even Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is allowing his facial hair to have a moment in the spotlight. When it comes to what’s in, everyone has an opinion and a recent survey confirms that most women prefer men with beards, with one caveat.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia held a survey that asked nearly 1000 American women between the ages of 18 and 70 to share their feelings about beards. They were given 30 images of 3 different men with different looks. Those same 3 men had photographs in a pile with a full-beard look, a clean-shaven look, and photo altered images to make them men appear more “feminine” and more “masculine.”
The participants were shown these images one at a time on a screen and asked to rate how attractive they thought each image was based on what they felt the long-term and short-term relationship would be. They rated each image on a scale of 0 to 100 and beards were clear winners for most of the women.
Men who presented with what the researchers defined as strong masculine faces, meaning wide cheekbones and solid jawlines, and were fully bearded, were given the highest rates from the women in terms of most attractive.
We clearly love our facial hair. Of course, not everyone does like men to be hairier, and this is where it gets a little more interesting.
The research team, led by Ph.D. student Tessa Clarkson, also showed the participating women images of parasites, like public lice and ticks, and asked to rate how much they disliked, feared, or avoided them. They wanted to see how or if the evolutionary idea that beards are linked to poor grooming habits was in play for those that disliked beards. And yep, there was a connection.
Turns out, women who scaled men without beards higher than those with beards were also more likely to be grossed out or afraid of those parasites. The team says this indicates that women who prefer that clean-shaven look, are likely turned off by beards because they think they’re filthy.
The women were also asked to rate their “disgust of pathogens,” including body odor, mold on food, or stepping in dog poop. They were also rating their “disgust of immoral behavior,” including cheating, small crimes, disloyalty, and “disgust of sex.” The researchers then looked at the data to see how those feelings played into their rate of attractiveness to the photographs.
The results showed that women were more likely to prefer beards if they had a higher score for “disgust of pathogens,” which the researchers said this finding suggests women felt beards were a marker for good health. Those women disgusted by immoral behavior also liked a harrier chin, which the researchers said could be a result of having more traditional relationship view
This article was originally published on