Every November, the world is treated to an influx of men with facial hair. Thanks to both the Movember campaign and No-Shave November which have gained popularity with celebrities and random dudes alike, men are growing out their mustaches and beards to raise money and awareness for cancer prevention and men's health initiatives. If you're not a fan of furry faces, this can be a bummer, but for those who love their hirsute hunks, it's a time ripe for celebration.
The history of facial hair is fascinating. It was in fashion for high-ranking men in ancient Egypt to grow hair on their chins, and both kings and queens were known to sport metal beards as signs of their sovereignty. Fast forward to the Medieval era, and English knights had special armor to make room for their mustaches, and today, in India, men part of a traditionally lower caste are posting mustache selfies to subvert the reigning social order. In short, facial hair can indeed by political and reflect cultural values, but, above all, it can be very, very sexy.
If you prefer a clean-shaven face, the following is not for you. Here are six study-based reasons why women find facial hair fine AF.
1. Women Prefer Beards To Mustaches
In a survey of nearly 2,500 women conducted by the dating site WhatsYourPrice.com, over 60 percent found men's facial hair attractive. Of the 1,500 ladies who checked the box for bewhiskered bros, it was beards that beat out mustaches. Only 6.44 percent of women preferred mustaches alone, while 43.27 percent preferred a beard alone. However, most women preferred a full facial coverup, with 50.29 percent choosing both a mustache and a beard as their ideal grooming choice.
2. Stubble Is For Flings, Beards Are For Commitment
According to one study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Behavior, all beards are not created equal. 8,520 women were divided into three groups, each of which were shown pictures of men with different degrees of facial hair. After looking at images of clean shaven men, men with light stubble (5+ days of growth), men with heavy stubble (10 days of growth), and men with a full, thick beard, the results showed that desirability depends on what you're looking for.
Women rated men with light stubble as most appealing for a one-night stand, closely followed by men with heavier stubble. Conversely, women rated men with full beards as most appealing for a long-term commitment and/or as a father for their children.
3. Facial Hair Signifies Masculinity
Although different kinds of facial hair produces different effects in women, all facial hair projects a masculine vibe. Another 2016 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology affirmed that women view men with facial hair to be not only more masculine, but more confident, industrious, generous and sincere than men who do not have facial hair.
4. Beard Length Matters
As the abovementioned study found, beard length can say a lot about a guy. According to Medical Daily, researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australia asked 351 women and 177 heterosexual men to weigh in on men with various phases of beard growth, and rate each bearded face for "attractiveness, masculinity, health and potential parenting ability."
Interestingly, men with a heavy 10-day beard were ranked most attractive, where men with light stubble (5 days of growth) got the lowest scores across the board from both men in women in each category.
5. Bearded Men Make Better Dads
Because bearded men are more likely to be subconsciously (or consciously!) perceived as masculine, it's not a stretch that they also be viewed as being better fathers than their clean shaven brothers, thank to the evolutionary instincts which connect masculine traits with health. A study published in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior suggests that women are more likely to rank a bearded man as a better father than a non-bearded man, and view him as more likely to stick around and both protect and invest in his potential offspring.
6. Women Prefer Beards Even More During Ovulation
The same study which found women view bearded men as more masculine and as better parents also found that this view increased during the fertile part of a woman's menstrual cycle.
The takeaway? Beards are intimately tied to many biological urges, which means that stubbly guys looking to settle down or hookup this November might just find themselves getting lucky with a babely beard fan.