The Grooming Manual
It’s a divisive question. Especially since beards have become so popular over the last several years. Guys from all walks of life are now rocking thick facial hair - it’s not just for the tough guys and the ivy league professors anymore.
But do beards really make men more attractive? Or is it all just about the current social and style trends?
It’s an important question if you’re considering your own personal style. Should you stay clean shaven, grow out some stubble, or go all out with a full, thick beard? How will your look influence your personal and professional life?
Researchers have asked the same questions. Consider their findings and your own preferences to find the look that is best for you.
How Women Judge Facial Hair
Looking for a no-strings-attached relationship? Or are you seeking a mate for life? Turns out your facial hair can send different signals about what you’re looking for and what can of partner you could be. That’s according to some recent research conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia.
The research team wanted “to determine what role, if any, beards play in sexual attractiveness, masculinity, and short- and long-term relationships.” To do that, they gathered data from over 8,500 female participants who were shown pictures of the same men with varying lengths of facial hair. They then had to judge which men were most sexually attractive overall, which were most desirable for a fling or one-night stand, and which were the best candidates for marriage and commitment.
Overall Sexual Attractiveness: Stubble
Guys with heavy stubble growth of about 10 days were judged to the most sexually attractive. Second place went to short growth stubble of about 5 days. Full beards and clean shaven were ranked much lower.
Short Term Relationships: Stubble
Women who were looking for a little fun but nothing too serious chose the scruffy stubble look. This time it was short stubble growth in first place followed by long stubble in second.
Long Term Commitment: Full Beard
The thicker the beard, the better for women looking for a long term, committed relationship. Heavy stubble came in second place here, so clearly facial hair sends some important signals. The study’s authors suggested that “beardedness may be more attractive as it ‘indicates a male’s ability to compete for resources.”
Facial Hair Sends Mixed Messages
The results of this study shouldn’t make you instantly change your mind about your facial hair. They also don’t mean that clean shaven guys are doomed to never find a mate. Instead, the study reveals the current social and sexual preferences of heterosexual women and gives clues as to why those may change over time.
Researchers have also found that facial hair can send mixed messages to the opposite sex. Guys with beards are usually judged as being older and more masculine. One of the co-authors of the University of Queensland study has also done research that associates beards with traits like generosity, sincerity, industriousness, and confidence.
But at the same time, negative traits can be linked to beards. Antisocial traits like social dominance and aggression are also connected to facial hair. So rocking a thick beard doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be attractive to everyone.
Creating Your Personal Style
Before you decide whether to change your current facial hair style, consider how it will influence how others perceive you. How does your facial hair change your own self-perception? These are important questions since you want to make a good first and lasting impression, both in personal and professional settings.
Regardless of how you choose to style your facial hair, make sure you’re using the best grooming products for men - including a natural shave cream for men, an alcohol-free aftershave, and a natural beard oil. Because regardless of whether you’re clean shaven or have a thick bed of whiskers, shave irritation and flakes are never a good look.