The Kind Of Facial Hair Women Find Most Attractive, According To Research

The kind of facial women prefer most.

Woman daydreaming and man with short beard DariolaVera | DAPA Images | Canva / Susannah Townsend | corelens / SanneBerg | Getty Images

Facial hair can easily influence our perceptions of guys — whether they're clean-shaven or rocking a lumberjack 'stache — we know whether we want to date them or not based on their facial hair alone.

I've been making the case for facial hair on men for as long as I can remember.

But not just any facial hair — I'm talking a healthy dose of stubble. A six o'clock shadow, if you will.

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Clean-shaven feels nice to touch, but the look is a little too baby-faced for my taste — and a full beard can be too aggressive, not to mention painful if you're on the receiving end of a makeout session. (One YourTango staffer, who shall remain nameless, compared smooching a fully bearded guy to sticking your mouth into a broom).

But some solid scruff? Now that's sexy. It's like the manly version of "effortlessly chic."

Heavy duty scruff is all about the three 'M's: Maturity, masculinity, and mysteriousness. Case in point: Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?

And now — finally — my fellow scruff-loving ladies can rejoice. Science has spoken, and it turns out, heavy stubble is sexier. Even better, researchers have even determined the exact length of time your guy needs to achieve it.


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In 2020, the Evolution of Human Behavior set out to prove our point when they showed 351 women and 177 heterosexual men photos of 10 men at different stages of facial hair growth: clean-shaven, "light" stubble, "heavy" stubble, and fully bearded. 

They asked participants to rate each face for attractiveness, masculinity, health, and parenting ability. Women ranked the heavy stubble as the most attractive, which takes about 10 days to achieve.

The researchers of the study predicted that women may judge bearded faces to be more attractive than clean-shaven faces but that the threshold masculinity may be little, with lightly stubbled faces considered most attractive. 


As it turns out, women's preferences for masculine traits are known to become stronger during the more fertile, period of the menstrual cycle when the benefits of mating with a more masculine partner can be realized.

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However, their theories were proved wrong.

Clean-shaven men and those will full beards were considered equally as healthy and attractive. 

The least attractive? Both men and women agreed: Light stubble — about 5 days' worth of not shaving — is the least sexy.

So, for at least half the time it takes him to reach his sexiest, he will be his least attractive? Hey boys, beauty is pain.


What do you think? Do you find facial hair sexy? What length do you prefer?

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Michelle Toglia is the Executive Editor at Elite Daily, overseeing the site's entertainment, news, style, dating, and experiences coverage.