It is no secret that facial hair has come back in a big way. Everything from finely crafted mustaches to unwieldy beards are commonplace, and not just on robber barons and lumberjacks. And while dudes everywhere take great pride in maintaining their facial follicles, are we sure that our female counterparts are actually into this fuzzy fad?

Well, a study done by the University of Queensland in Australia has the answer. The study polled 8,250 women, asking them to rate the attractiveness of computerized images of men, and while the faces stayed the same, the length of facial hair changed – and so did their rankings.

What Is Your Beard Telling Women?

Stubble is Sexy

For starters, most women involved in the study ranked men with light stubble or a short beard more attractive than those with a longer beard or no facial hair at all. Apparently, stubble or short beards telegraph a laid back attitude, as well as a sense of being rugged and masculine. Having 5 o’clock shadow required the ability to grow a light beard in under 10 hours, which is a pretty masculine trait.

beard rub

That said, men with short beards or stubble were also most likely to be voted for a one-night-stand or a short-term-relationship. I guess there is something about stubble that says “I probably won’t be sticking around for breakfast.”

Full Beards are for Dads

Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. Women in the study voted that men with full beards, while less overtly ‘sexy’ than their stubbly counterparts, were far more attractive in terms of a long-term relationship. It actually seems kind of obvious. Big beards are fatherly as hell.

Portrait of handsome single bearded young man with serious expression wearing sunglasses and white short sleeve shirt looking over gray background with copy space

That said, I bet we all know at least one dude with a big old wizard beard who barely has his shit together enough to care for a fern, let alone a human infant. So, while the big beard equals lasting relationship theorem might be a hardwired trait, I think this one could use some recalibrating.

No beard, no thanks

Oddly enough, the lack of any facial hair whatsoever received the most lackluster response of all. Nothing expressly bad, per say, but most women had the least to say about a man with no facial hair. Short beards = sexy; long beards = comforting; no beard = meh.

Handsome young man is shaving his face with razorblade and looking at the mirror

But for those beardless fellows out there, all is not lost. There were a group of women in the study (much as there are in the real world) who find any semblance of facial hair totally repugnant. And, again, while this does constitute eliciting a more significant response, the fact that their response involves disgust is probably a good sign for those peach fuzzy dudes out there.

  • So, if there are any major takeaways here, it’s these:
  • Short beards are sexy, but are not likely to land you in a lasting relationship
  • Long beards are great for attracting commitment, but not casual encounters
  • Guys without beards should find themselves a girl who likes smooth cheeks – they’re out there!
  • All of this is a speculative study polling less that 0.0000023% of all the women on earth, so there is totally room for error in there.

And that’s it! Grow a big beard, grow a short beard, or shave it all – the choice is yours. Just go out there and be the best you can.

(And if you are looking for some dope shaving tips, we got you)