Don’t shut the Gillette factory down just yet, because according to science, the Year of the Beard is over, and all you beardos out there better just shave up if you ever want a date again. As it turns out, we’ve reached maximum beard-ocity in society, which has made facial hair biologically less attractive. Condolences.
Conducted by the University of New South Whales, the study gathered up nearly 1,500 bisexual and heterosexual women to have them responded to 36 photos of both bearded men and their clean-shaven counterparts. Following several photos of bearded men, the ladies showed a preference toward a smooth face.
However, after seeing several photos of clean-shaven men, the women in the study tended to prefer bearded men thanks to a little psychological trick called “negative frequency-dependent sexual selection.” So, basically, if it breaks the trend, it tends to be attractive. Still, though, that’s not good news for beards.
As study leader Professor Robert Brooks explains, “we may well be at peak beard,” so the attractiveness of bearded men may well be diminishing. After all, seeing the same ol’ thing all the time tends to lose its zeal after a bit.
Still, though, Beard Liberation Front founder Keith Flett says that there is “no actual evidence that beards have peaked or are in decline as a fashion statement.” That, and some men—unbelievable, I know—wear a beard not to attract women’s attention, but because they enjoy having one.
So, let the trend die. For when beards are unique and unusual again, only the unique and unusual will have beards.