You may have noticed that beards are ‘in’. From designer stubble to full-on lumberjack numbers, hairy men have struck lucky for a good few years now.
But why is it that we find facial hair so hot? It’s not like it has some primal, practical use. Or does it?
Well according to a study conducted by the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, certain types of facial hair affect how we perceive individuals.
For example, women surveyed in the study perceived ‘heavy stubble’ as the most attractive look in men, while a full beard made them believe that a man in question was both healthier and had better parenting skills.
And - perhaps rather predictably - the more facial hair a man had, the more masculine he was perceived to be.
If we move onto the ‘why’ bit, according to a study published in Evolution and Human Behavior, a beard - a little like a piercing or tattoo - is used as a badge or ‘marker’ used to compete for women’s attention.
In the study, researchers from the University of Western Australia analysed 154 species of primates to see how they used physical ‘ornaments’ and ‘badges’ to stand out among their peers.
They found that male primates who lived in bigger societies used flamboyant and distinctive markers to “identify dominance or attractiveness” to females. In other words, they found ways of sticking out amongst the crowd.
This theory sticks; a 2014 study found that the more common a beard is, the less attractive it is.
[Photo: Instagram/Bearded Lifestyle]
As you may have guessed, such ‘markers’ change over time. Twenty years ago you may have found DiCaprio’s curtain hairstyle just as swoon-inducing as a beard, but if you saw that look on a man now, eh, not so much.
All in all, we find beards attractive because firstly, we think they’re masculine, and secondly, a little thing called fashion.
Why do you think beards are so attractive? Or perhaps you hate them? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.