Answer to your shaving doubt

Chee Loh
3 min readApr 21, 2021

Facial hair has a strong influence on people’s judgment of an individual’s social-standing and sexual attributes. Although it’s well recognized that facial hair has a significant impact on how women perceive the attractiveness in men, these judgments are reported anecdotally and often contradictorily.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Barnaby Dixson, a human behavioral ecologist at the University of Queensland, published research in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, exploring the role of male facial hair in sexual attractiveness, masculinity and the impact on long and short-term relationships.

Some 8,520 women were recruited and divided into three groups with each group being exposed to images of the same men, with varying degrees of facial hair, ranging from clean-shaven faces to more and more beard.

The images depicted the men with clean-shaven face, five-day growth of light stubble, ten-day worth of heavy stubble and finally a grizzly thick beard after one month of facial hair growth.

The participants were asked different questions, rating sex appeal based on the images.

The first group was tasked to rate the man for overall attractiveness, the second group was asked to rank the man for desirability for a short-term fling or a one-night stand.

Lastly, the final group rated the same man on perception of the role as a candidate for marriage and long-term commitment. The participants were also asked to correlate the masculinity of the man in relation to his facial hair.

The effect of the menstrual cycle on the perception of sexiness and facial hair was also studied.

Needless to say, women rated full-bearded men to be most masculine and healthiest. The masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increases. This effect was more pronounced in women during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, although the attractiveness rating did not differ according to fertility.

Overall, women reckoned men sporting heavy stubble were sexiest, followed by short stubble. Men with full beards or completely clean-shaven were perceived to be least sexy.

Men with light stubble were also rated to be attractive for short-term flings or one-night stands, followed by men with heavier stubble suggesting the scruffy look appeals to women looking for fun.

However, when it comes to long-term relationships, women would choose men with heavy stubble and full beards to have long-term commitment.

The authors concluded that men with beards are often associated with being more mature, masculine, industrious and self-confident.

It is true that some men are more blessed than others when it comes to facial hair. According to statistics from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, more men with hairless faces have begun seeking hair transplants.

In 2014, nearly 14,000 men around the world had hair transplants to enhance their beard.

As predicted, the beard transplant is more popular among Asian men, where nearly 4,200 men had the facial hair transplant.

My favorite English actor Helen Mirren famously said: “Sometimes nudity is sexy. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes being clothed is more sexy than being nude.”

As most trends in life, the attractiveness of certain trends will be fashionable for an interval and evolve as time progresses. This particular study is the most robust evidence so far demonstrating that facial hairiness can be seductive, and yet too much hair can dampen the sexiness.

And more importantly, the perception can vary according to the hormonal fluctuation in women. For those not so follicularly blessed by luscious hair on the face, shave the hair transplant idea off your mind, and just stay nude. You can always find other ways to stay sexy!

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