Women find men who wear full beards more suitable for long-term relationships, suggests new research.
Women tend to find beardedness attractive when judging long-term relationships, perhaps as a signal of formidability among males and the potential to provide direct benefits, such as enhanced fertility and survival, to females, the study said.
"Results showed a significant interaction between beardedness and masculinity on attractiveness ratings," the study said.
For the study, Barnaby Dixson from University of Queensland in Australia and his colleagues used computer graphic manipulation to morph male faces varying in facial hair from clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, and full beards, with additional differences in brow ridge, cheekbones, jawline, and other features so that the same man appeared more or less masculine.
Stubble was judged as most attractive overall and received higher ratings for short-term relationships than full beards, which were more attractive for long-term relationships.
Extremely masculine and extremely feminine-looking males were least attractive, irrespective of relationship context, the study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, showed.
"Sexual selection via female choice has shaped the evolution of male ornamentation in many species," the authors wrote.
(With agency input)