New survey of women reveals the hottest type of facial hair a man can have

New survey of women reveals the hottest type of facial hair a man can have

The fashion brands you associate yourself with, the hair gel you use and the ripped muscles on your arms might account to nothing if you don't have the right facial hair. Having a beard, a moustache, or – god forbid – an unsightly soul patch can make all the difference. All you have to look to is all the before and after pictures of guys that have shaved off their beards – why, why would anyone do that to themselves?

Ryan Gosling looks better with a beard, as does Chris Hemsworth, and it turns out that it's not just in our heads. A new study published in Evolutionary Biology has found that women are more attracted to men with facial hair, and especially to one particular type.

More than 8,500 women took part in the study, during which they were asked to look at various pictures of men's faces. Each face was either clean shaven, bearded or covered in stubble. Analysing each photo subjectively, each woman was then asked to rate the images in terms of sexual attractiveness.

The rather impressive sample size showed some very interesting results, with women finding men with no facial hair whatsoever 15 to 20 per cent less attractive than those with hair. It didn't matter if it was beards or stubble, but the clear result was that some was better than none at all.

Danielle Sulikowski PhD, author of the study and professor of psychology at Australia's Charles Sturt University, said it's because facial hair is a sign of masculinity. Just as men seek wide, child-bearing hips and full bosoms in women because these traits signal fertility, facial hair in men has everything to do with our natural instincts. A man with facial hair triggers the idea that he is strong, dominant and ultimately a good specimen to mate with for the sake of creating an equally strong and thriving species.

And the one style of facial hair that proved to be most popular among the 8,500 women was not a full-blown bushman beard or a perfectly twizzled moustache – it was good old-fashioned stubble. The women rated it as the sexiest type of facial hair, something Sulikowski believes it because it's a "happy medium". This type of facial hair shows your ability to grow hair – indicating you're manly and strong – but not in a way that hides the facial features underneath. Stubble all the way.

And for those of you lamenting your inability to grow anything more than a few patchy bits of chin fluff – fear not, because other studies have found that people who can't grow beards are less likely to become bald as a result. It's thanks to a number of factors, including the fact that we have sweat glands on the top of the head, and because beards retain facial heat, men go bald as compensation.

Well, hop to it – you better start trimming your beard or coming up with a way to fake it, because it looks like the way to a woman's heart is through your stubble.