What Type of Facial Hair Do Women Prefer? There's a right way and a wrong way grow that beard
Men’s facial hair has seen more than its fair share of trends come and go over the past century. Some good, some that boggle the mind. If you find yourself wondering if women of today prefer a man clean-shaven or as burly as a lumberjack, you’re not alone.
We’ve done some digging, and would like to offer up a little insight.
Women Love Stubble
According to one study, women favor heavy stubble. Particularly the growth that equates to about 10 days of not shaving. Based on this research, women rated heavy stubble as being most desirable and most indicative of maturity, dominance, and aggression. Stubble, you could say, is a nonverbal cue to the opposite sex that you’re a manly man.
But Also Not?
However, research also suggests that the rate of attraction is inversely proportional to its saturation. So, a bearded man will be most attractive to the opposite sex when beards aren’t the norm, and a clean-shaven man will be most attractive to the opposite sex when everyone’s walking around with facial hair. This explains why beards go in and out of style so frequently.
But the question remains, will women like your facial hair?
Good Facial Hair Options
What It Is: You know what it is.
Level of Maintenance Involved: To achieve a clean-shaven look, you need to be willing to shave your face every few days. The exact timing depends on how fast your facial hair grows. For the pinnacle of clean shaves, try your hand at a straight razor. And of course, you’ll need a good moisturizer too (we recommend caffeinated shaving cream and aftershave from Pacific Shaving Company).
Opinion: A clean-shaven man plays it safe, but not necessarily in a bad way. He’s preppy and timely, and he has a 9-to-5 job that requires him to look approachable. You can’t go wrong with a clean shave. We’d give it a 6 on the attractiveness scale.
What It Is: Hair growth above the upper lip.
Level of Maintenance Involved: Depends on the type of ‘stache you try to pull off. A chevron mustache is a thick, full mustache that’ll probably require less maintenance once it’s fully grown than, say, a handlebar, which will require styling with wax. Regardless of the mustache you grow, there will always be some maintenance involved since you’ll have to trim it every so often.
Opinion: Mustaches are… interesting. They’ve had a history of strange connotations, from being sexual, to indicating a swinger or a porn star, to telling people you were a gangster. Today, the ‘stache has outgrown all of those connotations and developed a new, 21st century one–that of a confident, borderline cocky, dapper hipster. But hey, some guys can really commit and pull it off. Seriously! So, to each his own. Just don’t try this look out if you don’t have enough facial hair to achieve anything other than a patchy, barely there micro-stache.
What It Is: The hair growth that results from approximately 2-5 days of not shaving.
Level of Maintenance Involved: This can vary for every guy, depending on the way your hair grows in. Some men may be blessed with perfectly even-growing hair. Most of you, however, might have hair that grows in patches or varying levels of thickness, and will, therefore, need some shaping to achieve a nice “effortless” stubble look. You can do this by removing all hair outside the natural areas of growth on your face, including the tops of your cheeks, your low neck, etc. Use a set of clippers 1 or 2 times a week to maintain the stubble or it could appear unkempt.
Opinion: There’s a reason why there’s even a term for the “5 o’clock shadow”. Women love stubble on most guys. Just make sure your job allows it. Some offices are only accepting of clean-shaven faces and already grown facial hair, leaving little room for experimentation in between.
What It Is: The hair growth that results from approximately 8-10 days of not shaving.
Level of Maintenance Involved: Like light stubble, this will vary depending on your biology. You will most likely need to maintain its shape and trim the length every other day so that it stays clean, rather than scruffy.
Opinion: Based on those articles we talked about earlier, heavy stubble is the most attractive thing you can do with your face. This particular breed of facial hair looks very masculine and exudes just the right amount of done-undone grooming. If you can pull off a nice, even length of heavy stubble, we say go for it.
What It Is: Full, thick hair growth in the chin, upper lip, and lower cheek areas.
Level of Maintenance Involved: Beards of any length will need maintenance in terms of shaping, trimming, and moisturizing with conditioners and oils (we recommend one with several essential oils, like the Wisdom Beard Oil from Can You Handlebar).
Opinion: Full beards have connotations of older gentlemen or dapper hipsters with tattoos who only drink pour over coffee. They’re old-fashioned but masculine. They are attractive, and can totally be pulled off when done right. Just be careful to keep the gradation between the cheeks and the beard natural-looking, otherwise you’ll run the risk of having a chinstrap and those aren’t cute.
What It Is: Full, thick hair growth on the chin, upper lip, lower cheek, and sideburn areas. Typically, this beard is approximately 2 inches in length or more at its longest.
Level of Maintenance Involved: Like a shorter beard, this breed of facial hair will require a certain degree of meticulousness and care in the form of shaping, trimming, and moisturizing, otherwise you’ll run the risk of looking like a slob.
Opinion: Men with long, well-maintained beards have a sort of sexy scholarly thing going for them. They appear sophisticated yet gruff, like a man who can crunch numbers and also chop down trees or wrestle a bear. However, there’s a fine line between a full beard and an ultra-long, borderline terminal length beard, which is no longer attractive. Just… long.
Facial Hair to Avoid
If you can’t grow a full mustache, it looks sloppy and creepy. You’re better off with a clean-shaven look.
Goatees can certainly be pulled off by some. However, we think that goatees are reminiscent of the 90s and of guys who aren’t sure what they want.
Soul patches (aka Flavor-Savers) are weird, no matter how you spin it. Avoid.
Chinstraps are attention hogs. They require a crazy amount of maintenance, and, they look unnatural because of it.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
These are just opinions, of course. The best advice we can give you regarding your facial hair is to experiment, find a style that fits your look, career, and grooming habits, and go from there. The best mustache, stubble, or beard is one worn with confidence. So, wear yours with pride.
And of course, if you ever grow weary of your ‘stache, a new look is only a shave away.