From moustaches to mutton chops, the different forms of facial hair are numerous. And it is this choice that makes picking a style so difficult.
But worry not, gents, for science is on hand to help. A recent study asked women to rate which facial hair fashion they found most attractive and the results show a resounding winner: heavy stubble.
The study, helmed by Dr Barnaby Dixson of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, polled over 8,500 women to get the results, and researchers believe stubble scored the highest results as although it acts as a signal of a man’s age and social dominance, it doesn’t overly get in the way.
Participants in the study were presented with photosets of 16 different men, with facial hair ranging from clean-shaven to fully-bearded, and then asked to assign a score to each.
They were also asked whether or not they’d consider a relationship with the man based on his beard and, if so, whether that relationship would be long- or short-term.
Whilst stubble won out, beards still beat the baby-faced, and were deemed the most likely to succeed in long-term relationships. Heavy stubble was preferred for short-term flings.
So what can we learn from these results?
If you’re looking to settle down, let it grow. If you’re looking for something short-term, stubble up. And if you struggle to sprout a beard, maybe hit the gym – because, according to this research, nothing says formidable like some fulsome facial hair.