Men, you have a simple choice: If you want respect from other men, grow a beard. Aiming to attract a woman? Shave it off.
A study reported in Behavioral Ecology used pictures of men from New Zealand and Samoa in normal poses and making angry faces, both with full beards (over six weeks of growth with no trimming) and sans facial hair, to determine how the men were perceived. Researchers showed the before and after photos to 200 women, and asked the women to rate the men’s attractiveness. It didn’t matter the country — the women found the clean-shaven men significantly more attractive.
(PHOTOS: Beards at Berlin Fashion Week)
The researchers from Canada and New Zealand didn’t stop there. They then showed the pictures, including the angry ones, to other men, who said the beards made the 19 people in the photographs look older and angrier.
But there remains a bit of reason to hang onto the facial hair, as both men and women claimed that bearded men had a sense of “gravitas,” and men said the beard gave an appearance of a higher social status and earned the men more respect.
But this new study left on important group out of the mix: the stubble-adorned man. A full, six-week beard looks entirely different from a few days or even a couple of weeks of stubble. The Daily Mail reports that other research suggests light stubble actually draws the most favorable response from women.