Clean-shaven or bearded? A new study may put this debate, though largely a matter of personal preference, to rest.
A fascinating report released in the May issue of academic journal Evolution and Human Behavior says stubble, despite its itchiness, is worth the discomfort. In fact, men were found most attractive with a 10-day "heavy" stubble as opposed to being fully bearded or clean-shaven.
Researchers gathered 351 women and 177 heterosexual men and had them rate 10 men at four different stages of facial hair growth: clean-shaven, 5-day stubble, 10-day stubble, and bearded. The participants were then asked to rate each guy based on qualities of attractiveness, health, masculinity, and parenting ability.
What's most surprising (or not really) is that the ladies ranked the guys with the 10-day "heavy" stubble as the most-attractive. The journal writes that heavy stubble conveys manliness and maturity - though not as overwhelmingly aggressive as a full-grown beard. Clean-shaven men also ranked high for qualities of health and attractiveness, but the bearded boys gained the edge for "perceived parenting skills." Ranking the lowest of the four categories was the 5-day "light" stubble due to its patchy qualities.