Charlotte Hannah
May 06, 2013

Ladies Love a Dude With a 10-Day Beard: Study

Photo credit: CURAPhotography / Shutterstock

Beards: love ‘em or leave ‘em?

In my experience, women are pretty divided on the issue. Some love their guy’s face to be so freshly shaven that it still smells faintly of shaving cream, while others go crazy for a man with a big, bushy lumberjack beard. Others still prefer a covering of sexy stubble.

However, according to a study done by University of New South Wales professors Barnaby J. Dixson and Rob C. Brooks, there’s one amount of facial hair that women prefer over all others. What is this Holy Grail of fetching face fuzz, you ask?

Did you even read the headline? Geez.

When shown four pictures of the same man, each depicting him with a different amount of facial hair growth, women’s obvious preference was for what the study authors call an “intermediate level of beardedness” – otherwise known as a 10-day beard.

From Science Magazine:

“Researchers photographed 10 men at four stages of beard growth: clean shaven, 5-day ‘light stubble, 10-day ‘heavy’ stubble, and fully bearded. Three hundred and fifty-one women and 177 heterosexual men viewed the photos and rated each face for attractiveness, masculinity, health, and parenting ability.”

Women found heavy stubble the sexiest, while clean-shaven and full bearded guys tied for second place in the attractiveness category. Bearded guys were seen as being both the healthiest and the best dads, which the study’s authors concluded is because a beard makes a man appear more aggressive. Heavy stubble appears both mature and manly, but not as aggressive as the beard, which is why it’s the most attractive.

Light stubble, sadly, came up last in all four categories. According to the authors, it’s probably because “a threshold of density and distribution may be necessary for beards to function as an attractive signal.” Which doesn’t explain at all why Johnny Depp and his patchy beard are so popular with the ladies.

My take? It all depends on the guy – the color and thickness of his hair, how fast it grows and so on. Some guys probably look great with a 10-day beard, while others – including this one gentleman I know, who frequently rocks what he lovingly calls The 10-Day and who will be really pleased to hear about this study – already have an awkward half-beard thing going on at the 10-day mark.

Personally, I’d like to see a study that takes into account facial hair styles, as well. For example, the soul patch gets ragged on a lot, but do we really hate it as much as we think we do? And what about the dreaded hipster mustache – does it hold a certain appeal, or do we all agree it’s the worst? Inquiring minds want to know.

OK, but really, I’m very curious: do you have a facial hair preference? Let me know in the comments.