Hirsute men of the world, rejoice! Scientific evidence has finally arrived to prove what you’ve known along: That beard looks great on you. Ladies love it, and men do, too.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales conducted a study of 351 heterosexual women and 177 heterosexual men that evaluated the qualities of 10 men from photographs of them clean-shaven, with light stubble, with heavy stubble, and with a full beard. Women rated the men with about ten days’ worth of growth far and away the most attractive of the bunch, making little distinction among the rest. Men were fonder of the full beard, perhaps in appreciation of their fellow men’s efforts in the grooming department.
Participants of both genders indicated that the more hair, the better in terms of perceived health and expected parenting ability. Masculinity ratings, too, rose as men’s beards grew to fullness; men and women seemed to pick up on a sense of increased virility in boldly bearded men.
The researchers suggest that their findings might be mitigated by varying cultural perspectives on the desirability of facial hair, as mustaches, sideburns, soul patches, and the like go in and out of fashion. So if you’re capable of growing a beard, it can’t hurt to give it a try; it seems to work for George Clooney.