Alright guys, it’s time to shave off that scruff because scientists say that beards have reached their peak. Researchers at the University of New South Wales (Australia) have reason to believe that big, bushy beards are no longer hot.
The research team recruited 1,453 women and 213 men and asked them to rate the attractiveness of different images of men’s faces. Some participants were shown mostly full beards, while others were shown images of mostly clean shaven men. A third group was shown a mixture of different types of facial hair, from bald face to James Harden-sized beards.
What they found was that the rarer the facial hair type, the more attractive it was to both men and women. I’m sure that you’ve noticed that for the last few years the popularity of beards has been high. So why then are they suddenly so unattractive? Well, it’s their popularity that’s made them unattractive. It’s an evolutionary phenomenon known as “negative frequency-dependent sexual selection.”
“Big thick beards are back with an absolute vengeance and so we thought underlying this fashion, one of the dynamics that might be important is this idea of negative frequency dependence,” one of the study’s authors Bob Brooks said. “The idea is that perhaps people start copying the George Clooneys and the Joaquin Phoenixs and start wearing those beards, but then when more and more people get onto the bandwagon the value of being on the bandwagon diminishes, so that might be why we’ve hit ‘peak beard.’”
In other words, the rarer a trait is, the more attractive it is.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise because if you think about it, who are women going to be more attracted to in a room full of bearded men? One of the sixty guys with big bushy beards or the one clean-shaven man? Obviously the clean-shaven man because he is unique. The ability to resist jumping on the bandwagon communicates self-confidence, and confidence is the single most important trait one needs to demonstrate if they ever want to attract the opposite sex.
So though the study that beards are no longer attractive, the lesson to be learned is that being unique and resisting popular trends will help you catch the eye of a cutie. But don’t mistake that for an endorsement of peacocking. Wearing a fuzzy hat and glow-sticks might make you unique, but you’re an asshole first.
Just be yourself, look how you want to look, and you’ll be fine. It just helps if you’re clean shaven or stubbly for the next little while.