Mothers are sensitive to men’s beards as a potential cue of paternal investment.
In a recent study in July 2019, four research psychologists did a deep dive into mating strategy theories that women’s preferences for androgen-dependent traits in men are stronger when the costs of reducing paternal investment are lowest.
Authors and researchers, BJW Dixson, S.Kennedy-Costantini, AJ Lee, and NL Nelson wrote that in the past research the facial masculinity is strongest among non-pregnant women than pregnant women, and in two other studies discovered that patterns in the women’s preferences for men’s beards, or facial hairs, were evaluated of a man’s masculinity, dominance, age, fathering, and attractiveness but particularly significant higher preferences for beards when judging fathering and dominant male by mothers.
The judgement of parenting skills were higher for bearded stimuli during pregnancy among women having their first baby, whereas the mothers’ sensitivity to beardedness as a masculine trait denote parental investment, providing evidence that women’s mate preferences could reflect sexual selection for direct benefits.
From the research in the School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane AUSTRALIA, Dixson wrote that bearded males enhanced the fertility or survival, genetically speaking, and with real direct benefits. Men with a robust jawline reflect overall underlying health whereas a bearded man is judged by age and masculine social dominance.
Beards are judged within this research as demonstrating that they are more attractive than clean-shaven faces for long-term relationships.
However, masculine faces are judged as more attractive for short-term relationships over less masculine faces.
Women find well-groomed, masculine characteristics attractive and that facial hair dominated the findings as appealing as heavy stubble. Men also noted a greater perception of masculinity as facial hair increased from stubble to length in a beard.
Overall, these discoveries yield that an intermediate level of facial stubble is more attractive for a sex partner while a full beard is perceived as indicative of someone with good fathering ability and more investment in offspring.
For men looking to get noticed by the opposite sex the facial stubble on their cheeks especially with nicely dressed and otherwise well-groomed, AND, add in some sexy eye contact, flirtatious touching and the right conversation may reignite the passion of his long term partner or attract the interest of someone new.
Men in comfortable long-term relationships may benefit from a full-bearded look, trustworthy, ready to settle down as the father and looking healthy. The full beard can build rapport with a partner, demonstrate a positive personality, and stand out from the crowd.
Having said all this there is a contingent of women who do not care for men’s facial hair at all. For the male who likes his smooth cheeks, there is someone there for you.
The last finding was that depending on the length of the facial hair will depend on the type of relationship the partner seeks by the attraction of the beard /stubble.