While men feel other men look better with a beard, women prefer men sporting nothing more than heavy stubble, a study has revealed.
Australian researchers have said women may be put off by beards as they make the wearer look more aggressive. Men, however, value the macho look.
For the study, scientists photographed ten young men with four lengths of facial hair-clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and fully-bearded. They then showed the pictures to more than 500 men and women and asked them to rate the models’ looks, health and masculinity.
Both sexes agreed that the hairier a man was, the more masculine he appeared. Similarly, both said men with light stubble seemed the least healthy. However, they disagreed when it came to the appeal of a beard.
The men rated a full beard and heavy stubble as being equally attractive – while the women clearly preferred the heavy stubble, the journal Evolution and Human Behavior reports.
The University of New South Wales researchers suggested women may be wary of ultra-masculine men because they tend to have ‘lower romantic attachment’. Men, however, respect macho traits.
The topic has been studied before but with mixed results. The study also showed that women rate men with full beards as having the best parenting potential. The researchers said this may be because beards make men look older, more mature industrious. A beard may also help convey sincerity and ambition.
Mumbai women speak:
Tara Gehhi, 29, a software professional said, "I prefer men who are clean shaven. Beards make men look shady and fierce. I like the metro-sexual man." Ursula Samson 25, said, "Beards look good on older men as it gives them a mature look. Younger men look better clean shaved. I would have never married my husband if he had a beard. But today I feel I would have never stayed married to him if he didn't have a beard."
There were some women in Mumbai who liked the bearded look. Chaya Sharma 45, said, "I have seen most men in my family with beards and so I feel a man is incomplete without a beard." Anamika Khan, 39, said, "Beards make a man look mature and I like the mature look."
The women in Mumbai it seems have a mixed view of whether they like a bearded man or a clean shaven man. But it seems like younger women like men to be clean shaven while older women prefer bearded men which would suggest that a beard symbolises responsibility and maturity.