Facial hair has had it’s fair share of moments in the limelight over the centuries and is currently quite fashionable. From a neatly trimmed mustache to a full beard, men around the world are taking their facial hair much more seriously.
From the moment boyhood starts taking a backseat and puberty shows up, boys simply can’t wait for the first sign of those whiskers as a sign of their maturity and masculinity. Although men are clearly enjoying not having to shave everyday, the question remains – do women like men with facial hair and find it attractive?
There seems to be much debate surrounding this questions with research results varying greatly. A recent survey on Tinder sponsored by Gillette revealed that a staggering 74% of women prefer men who are clean shaven. In depth studies however reveal a much different picture with a surprisingly small percentage of women being attracted to the clean look. The issue is therefore much more complicated than simple preference and although many women may be unaware of it, they could subconsciously find men with facial hair more attractive. Why? This is where the masculinity factor and a lot of psychology comes into play.
Women are programmed to look for a mate who display strength, dominance, an ability to provide and of course, fertility. A strong and fuller jaw-line fulfills this instinctual need and older, more dominant men often sport facial hair than younger men who are less likely to be able to provide. A younger women may therefore prefer a clean shaven man whereas older women who want more from their man than youth and vigor, look for men with facial hair.
But the question becomes even more interesting when the percentage of facial hair is taken into account. Age once again plays a role here. Fuller beards are often attributed to older men which means that it lowers their attraction factor. Unless of course a full beard is worn by a younger man where it may garner more attention from older women.
Take the Tinder survey mentioned above for example. The survey was conducted on college age men with varying degrees of facial hair growth. The fact that 74% of women said they didn’t like facial hair reveals more than what the research intended to find and that is that younger women prefer younger men without facial hair. Another issue with the study is that women were asked whether they like facial hair or not rather than which man with a degree of facial hair or no facial hair they found most attractive. What women like and what they are attracted to can vary greatly.
A Neave and Shields study conducted into the attraction of men with varying stages of beard growth showed that in general, women of all ages prefer a man with light stubble rather than a full beard, partial beard, mustache or facial hair. That light, manly stubble has been a source of attraction for women even when facial hair was not that popular.
Ideally, stubble should be no more than 1 cm in length before a women will start classifying it as a beard. Shaving every second or third day, depending on how fast the facial hair grows, is recommended. The study also revealed another fascinating factor. Women who are looking for a long-term partner are more attracted to men with facial hair than men without. A clean-shaven face is more likely to attract women who have short-term goals and aren’t looking for commitment or even a relationship.
However, getting back to what women like, grooming is a huge factor. In fact, the reason stated by most women that they don’t like facial hair is because it is scratchy, dirty, bushy and in most cases, unkempt. This is another reason the light stubble look is still attractive as little to no grooming is required. This means that even men who have opted to put the razor away for the foreseeable future still need a beard trimmer, pair of scissors and some basic beard care products to up the attraction quotient of their facial hair. Beard products that soften the hair and stop that grizzly unkempt appearance are available. A full beard should also be brushed or combed regularly.
A beard that climbs too far up the cheek bones also needs a little maintenance. Ideally, the line should run under the cheekbones to avoid looking too wild, lowering the attraction. Cutting and trimming regularly is optimal, preferably by a professional barber or even hair stylist. Plaits, braids, twirls, locks and beard decorations are a definite no when it comes to what women don’t like. A man who is well-groomed increases his attractiveness to women.
The food factor also needs to be mentioned with many women citing that they find men with beards distasteful because of the food, liquid and other debris that gets trapped in facial hair. The joke about saving the food trapped in the beard for later has really become old and the fact is that it is simply unhygienic. So guys, clean your beard or mustache after eating and try not to get it stuck in there in the first place.
And lastly, but by no means least, the kiss, the cuddle and the hug play a role in whether women like facial hair or not. Some men have soft beards or stubble while other men’ facial hair can be likened to sandpaper. Guys with longer beards should use beard softening shampoo, conditioner or treatments. Men with rough stubble, take care not to rub your face against the soft and delicate skin on a women’s body. There is nothing that will turn a women away faster than a beard that makes a man unkissable.
So are women attracted to men with facial hair? It seems that even if a women does not like facial hair or prefers a clean-shaven face, she may still be attracted to a man with facial hair. However, ensuring that the facial hair is well-groomed, clean and soft is absolutely essential to cover all the bases.