If you find yourself swooning over guys with facial hair, you’re not alone — and science has an explanation for you. Turns out, it’s biology: Women are predisposed to think that guys with scruff are better boyfriend material.
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Women rate men with beards as more attractive for long-term relationships than guys with clean-shaven faces, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
As Marie Claire reported, facial hair obscures how “masculine” or “feminine” a man’s face is. If a guy’s face is “too feminine,” (i.e. he has a softer jawline), women are less likely to find him attractive, according to the report.
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If it’s too masculine — he has a super sharp jawline, for example — women are more likely to think the guy is good for a short-term relationship, but not for a long-term commitment.
Or, in other words, we all want to make sharp-jawed bad boys like Harry Styles “good for a weekend,” but, like Taylor Swift, we don’t really believe those flings will last.
In contrast, according to the study, men with beards were viewed as more attractive long-term partners. That’s because facial hair gives men on both sides of the “too this” or “too that” line an edge by masking what’s going on with those cheekbones and jawlines, and helping women focus on other things, like their soulful eyes or caring personalities.
So the next time you find yourself mourning because Liam Hemsworth was forced to shave his beard for a movie, remember that science is on your side.