It’s no secret that some women find beards irresistibly sexy. A well-groomed and looked-after beard can give your look a masculine edge and make you stand out from the crowd. However, we thought it was high time that someone looked into what women think about them – not just anecdotes and opinions, but what do the facts look like?
Luckily for us, several existing studies, surveys, and reports look into the topic in great detail – covering everything from which types of facial hair are considered most attractive to what a beard says about you and even the reasons some women might not find them appealing at all. This article breaks down all the key takeaways to read at your leisure. So without further adieu, let’s find out – do women like men with beards?
What Does the Research Say?
Facial hair is considered more attractive than being clean-shaven.
According to this study on a sample of 76 female undergraduates from Northumbria University in the UK, men with facial hair are perceived as more attractive by women than clean-shaven men. However, the study recognized a certain degree of diminishing returns as to how much facial hair was deemed most attractive, with stubble or a light beard being favourable over a full, heavy beard. If you want some more advice on your options, check out our article on the best short beard styles for men.
Stubble makes you a more attractive sex partner.
If these results are anything to go by (and there do seem to be several other studies that recognize a similar trend), stubble is considered the most attractive level of facial hair to most women. This is perhaps because it shows an ability to grow a beard but with a higher level of obvious hygiene and self-maintenance (regular shaving or trimming).
Though stubble was rated the most attractive type of facial hair, studies seem to suggest that this depends largely on the relationship goals of the individual woman in question. The above study suggested that women love beards more often if they intend to start a family.
We should specify here that by ‘life partner’, we mean someone that will make a good father who is more socially mature and is in good health. According to the same study by Neave & Shields, women perceived men with beards to have the better inherent fathering ability, social maturity, and overall masculinity than their smooth-chinned and stubbly counterparts.
Beards make you appear more masculine and healthy.
According to the same study, men with beards were perceived as more masculine and more aggressive. A beard also presented itself as an indicator of good health (though you should regularly comb and shampoo your beard for the healthiest look). With the exception of aggression, these are all attractive qualities in and of themselves, so the answer may not be as ‘clear cut’ as you might have thought.
Beards are more attractive to women in developed and urban areas.
In this study, a very interesting observation of 4483 straight women from over 30 different countries was that masculine facial features are considered most attractive to women when they live in a more developed region with greater levels of urbanization, better overall health, and stronger economies. This applies to beards and jaw size, brow prominence, and other inherently masculine facial features. This means that your chances of wooing a partner with a generous helping of facial hair are much higher in the US or Canada than they are in third-world countries.
Beards may be more attractive on men with less masculine facial features.
According to certain studies on what qualities women find most attractive, the most attractive faces to heterosexual women are likely to combine features of maturity with more childlike or less masculine features. This is because – while masculinity is a desirable feature among women – it’s not the only important characteristic in a potential partner. Other attributes like expressive facial features and desirable grooming attributes also come into play to find a ‘healthy balance’ of masculinity.
With this in mind, you may find that women like beards on you if you have otherwise less masculine features. You may benefit from a more trim facial grooming approach if you’re a man with very masculine features already. Obviously, it does come largely down to personal preference from the woman in question.
Reasons beards may be less attractive.
Thicker facial hair can sometimes hold a connotation of uncleanliness. This means that if your partner has a particularly strict approach to hygiene, a beard may actually make you slightly less attractive). According to this study, there’s a certain degree of truth to this idea (although there is research suggesting beards can actually make you healthier, but that’s a debate for another article).
As beards also increase your perceived masculinity and aggressiveness, they may be less desirable amongst women who have a preference for non-threatening and less dominant partners. So if you like a woman who can take charge, a clean-shaven look may be the better option for you.
Everyone has their personal preferences. We’re not ones to generalize with statements like “a beard will make you 100% attractive to every woman you meet” because it’s simply not true. However, it’s interesting to see the statistics on the topic and answers to the question “why do women like beards?”.
Every woman is unique, and if you’re in a relationship, the best way to find out if a woman finds a beard attractive is simply to ask her. However, if you’re single and just trying to gauge the overall opinion, we hope you’re finding this article helpful.
Do women like kissing men with beards?
This is a difficult question to answer as there’s not an awful lot of research on the topic. However, ask any woman who has kissed a man with stubble, and she’ll tell you it can get quite scratchy. If you do a quick google search, you’ll likely find several different blogs, discussions, and Q&As that pretty consistently tell you that moderate levels of facial hair are less comfortable for your partner when making out. It seems though that most women don’t mind a little scratchiness as a trade-off for the extra visual appeal.
Beards, however, are usually long enough to circumvent the annoying scratch of a light stubble. While not quite as comfortable as a clean shave, the softer touch is easier on the skin. You also run the risk of the odd stray hair in your mouth, so do women prefer beards when it comes to kissing? The answer is we don’t know. The best advice we can give is to proceed based on your partner’s own preferences.
If you do have facial hair, one way to make kissing your partner a little more comfortable for them is to use a good quality beard oil. These types of products will not only condition your beard to keep it looking healthy and feeling soft but usually leave gentle lubrication that alleviates the scratchiness during intense makeout sessions.
Do Women like grey beards?
Unfortunately, this is another question that’s hard to find a definitive answer to due to the lack of any significant research. We know that beards can make men appear older, so if you’re a silver fox that is already subconscious about your age, adding facial hair to the mix may not be the best idea.
However, if your concerns are about overall attractiveness, a well-groomed grey beard may boost your appeal to your partner or potential dates over the clean-shaven look. The prevailing opinion appears to be that women like grey beards, so long as they are well-groomed and looked after and embraced with confidence. To keep that beard in shipshape condition, check out our guide on the worst grooming mistakes for men.