3

votes

Male facial hair.

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 09, 2011 at 6:29 PM

After reading the question on female body hair, it occurred to me that the matter of male facial hair is similarly rooted in culture. While there are certainly many women who find male facial hair attractive, it seems that the majority of women prefer their men to be clean-shaven, or at the very least, without a thick beard. Naturally, this plays into what men do (i.e. they shave because they want to be seen as attractive).

Since facial hair is natural on men, however, why don't most women find it attractive? Shouldn't the norm be to find facial hair attractive, and the exception to prefer shaved faces?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Julius Caesar apparently preferred to have his beard plucked. Yowch!

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 12:27 AM

I'll quote myself: "Shaving comes in and out of fashion, and it became widespread in Egypt in the 6th century B.C., and in Europe by the 4th century B.C. where Alexander the Great urged his soldiers to stay clean-shaven to prevent their beards from being pulled in battle. Some anthropologists say that it puts forth an image of youth, although some ancient Greeks as well as ancient Romans thought the beard was a sign of virility."

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 12:26 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beard

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Could be a testosterone sign that works in a relative way *within* different ethnic groups: so that the more facial hair you have relative to others in your ethnic group the more testosterone. But this is pure speculation. Soon hopefully I'll have the time to look up journal articles again instead of just dropping quick comments here and there ...

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Could be, I don't know if beard growth is related to fitness. It's possibly related to testosterone, but given racial differences in the ability to grow facial hair, I kind of doubt it. Anybody else know? Cites?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:17 AM

And anyhow, can't the beard itself be a sign of genetic fitness? Isn't it manly to be able to grow a nice thick beard?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:13 AM

Related thread (in which disappointingly few men praise beards): http://paleohacks.com/questions/11448/dudes-do-you-shave-your-beard-less-while-paleo

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:09 AM

So if you like men with beards then that means you like men who *aren't* transparent -- i.e., mysterious?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 09, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Plucking? Ouch, that sounds painful! :P You can try something like sugar wax (you can make your own, and find recipes online) or threading, which is something I'd like to have done someday (for my brows). :)

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:53 PM

If I'd ever had it that bad I would have to agree. Soft beard hair would definitely win out over that!

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Win for my soft beard hair!

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Sorry ladies, I ain't giving up the beard. But I do keep it trimmed and fairly short.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I have ended up with abraded, red skin after a hearty make-out session, but I'm a total delicate flower.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:11 PM

Valid point. Though after a few minutes it's not as noticable.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:06 PM

The look..I'm with you. The feel...not so much.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 09, 2011
at 08:20 PM

Don't knock it until you've tried it...

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Chuck Norris does not have to shave, he just wills his beard to grow to his desire.

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Sorry--I misread a point or two in your response.

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:05 PM

I agree that it's intuitive that we'd be "above" using these primitive cues, but there's a lot of empirical evidence indicating that these subtle cues play a role in attraction. And yes, symmetry depends upon prenatal development, but this means that great symmetry indicates more resilience to environmental stressors--this is why its a reliable indicator of fitness. If you're interested in this stuff, I have a file full of references I can give you. (Also, preferring symmetry is not the same as demanding supermodels.)

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18 Answers

3
1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

on March 09, 2011
at 09:57 PM

Full beards can be crazy hot.

Clean-shaven (especially with a strong chin) can be crazy hot.

Weird, sporadic peach fuzz hair and overly-designed facial hair...not so hot.

3
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:57 PM

I like both, with beards and without. A really messy beard is off-putting in the beginning but if I was already with a guy and he let his facial hair go crazy I wouldn't care. Kind of like you're less likely to hook up with a blind date if you show up with bed-head, but they'll see you with it later and it won't matter then.

By the way, a lot of the signals that say "bad mating partner" to primitive people are not as necessary now because we have better technology to know what's going on. For instance, we're educated enough to know that just because someone's face isn't perfect doesn't mean they don't have good genes. Facial development depends HUGELY on prenatal and early childhood nutrition. I tend to agree with the Weston Price folks that there's no reason for any human face not to look at least pleasant if not downright beautiful. If a person is ugly, something went wrong with them along the way. Doesn't say anything about their DNA code though. Your best defense, if you snag someone who isn't model material and you have kids with them, is to ensure your offspring are as well-nourished as possible from pre-conception onward.

Paleo as a defense against teh ugly? Maybe. That's what the evidence seems to say.

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Sorry--I misread a point or two in your response.

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:05 PM

I agree that it's intuitive that we'd be "above" using these primitive cues, but there's a lot of empirical evidence indicating that these subtle cues play a role in attraction. And yes, symmetry depends upon prenatal development, but this means that great symmetry indicates more resilience to environmental stressors--this is why its a reliable indicator of fitness. If you're interested in this stuff, I have a file full of references I can give you. (Also, preferring symmetry is not the same as demanding supermodels.)

2
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:11 PM

Not sure of the overall answer - but anecdotally: My wife has threatened me with violence if I shave my beard off.

2
65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:04 PM

What about Chuck Norris? Maybe the power is in the beard.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Chuck Norris does not have to shave, he just wills his beard to grow to his desire.

2
Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

on March 09, 2011
at 06:40 PM

This is an interesting thought--the one issue that comes to mind for me, though, is that lack of facial hair makes more of the face visible, and there are several facial features (e.g., symmetry, jaw breadth, etc) that are reliably linked to genetic fitness, and thus predict attractiveness. So maybe this has something to do with the preference for clean-shaven men--they're more "transparent." ...?

Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

(1902)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Could be, I don't know if beard growth is related to fitness. It's possibly related to testosterone, but given racial differences in the ability to grow facial hair, I kind of doubt it. Anybody else know? Cites?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:09 AM

So if you like men with beards then that means you like men who *aren't* transparent -- i.e., mysterious?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Could be a testosterone sign that works in a relative way *within* different ethnic groups: so that the more facial hair you have relative to others in your ethnic group the more testosterone. But this is pure speculation. Soon hopefully I'll have the time to look up journal articles again instead of just dropping quick comments here and there ...

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:17 AM

And anyhow, can't the beard itself be a sign of genetic fitness? Isn't it manly to be able to grow a nice thick beard?

1
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on March 09, 2011
at 09:49 PM

My wife likes me hairy. I'm a lucky man.

1
16ac9720030cbf0908f56da404ab01b9

(289)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:08 PM

I'm so attracted to a man with a thick, well sculpted beard that I'm almost irrational about it.

1
922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:02 PM

Man, am I the only one that really likes stubble on a man's face?

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:53 PM

If I'd ever had it that bad I would have to agree. Soft beard hair would definitely win out over that!

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I have ended up with abraded, red skin after a hearty make-out session, but I'm a total delicate flower.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:11 PM

Valid point. Though after a few minutes it's not as noticable.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Win for my soft beard hair!

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:06 PM

The look..I'm with you. The feel...not so much.

1
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 09, 2011
at 08:16 PM

This begs the question of hairstyle in general. I've already stated that I find women shaving bizarre, but I'm so used to bare-faced men that I don't blink an eye, and I don't have a strong preference, either. As for head hair, it's amazing that I don't find the vast array of hairstyles noticeably weird either -- in fact I quite like to see the diversity.

1
Medium avatar

on March 09, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I can only grow a beard on the left side, so unless I want to date circus women, I've got to shave it.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 09, 2011
at 08:20 PM

Don't knock it until you've tried it...

1
C491ff8ce20d5c17f8f7ff94392a9570

(1617)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:46 PM

Personally, I find beards very attractive. I think almost any man's looks are improved by one. I suspect facial hair preference is as cultural as any other body hair preference.

0
Medium avatar

(7073)

on March 10, 2011
at 10:07 AM

IMHO I think unshaven men are far sexier. For example, look at this picture of Hugh Laurie, starring in BlackAdder. When I saw this in the 80's I did not even stop twice to look at him ;)

male-facial-hair.

Compare this with a shot of the very self same man, nearly three decades later. For the first time I actually sat up and though 'woah':

male-facial-hair.

What makes me react like this? I am not sure. Beards ARE scratchy, but there is something inexplicably attractive about a man with facial hair. I guess I just answered my own question over here, the answer being: there is something inexplicably attractive about women with no body hair. i guess it is time to get the razor out again ;)

p.s. I have a different opinion on full-length beards. Something to do with ZZ top, perhaps.

0
F337bbc2a2e83b09d3fbad37c865716a

on March 10, 2011
at 01:30 AM

good point. my best guess is that they just think the beard would get in the way of kissing if they were in an intimate relationship. I'm female, but I'm not really interested in relationships and don't care a lot if someone has a beard or not.

Women have the same problem sort of on other parts of their body. It's natural to have hair on legs, but we're expected to shave if we want to show our legs. I think it's a hassle, so I just wear long pants all the time so I don't have to shave my legs ever. I guess there's the advantage of being able to do that. It would be considered weird if you wore a mask to cover a beard.

I do have a little bit of facial hair (just a little), but since I'm female, there's even more of an expectation not to have facial hair. I got my mustache hairs laser treated off and now I'm working on my beard hairs. It takes a very long time and about a thousand treatments to get rid of, though. At least I don't have a visible mustache anymore.

0
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 10, 2011
at 12:15 AM

This thread makes me wish I could grow a solid beard. Drat!

Unfortunately, mine comes in patchy. Anyone have an idea why? or how to fix.? The patches are nearly symmetrical.

0
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 09, 2011
at 11:54 PM

my husband has a beard and i L.O.V.E. it. hes like sexy rugged super-dad. he was clean shaven when i met him 10 years ago, grew the beard about five years ago. cant imagine him without it. he keeps his fingers crossed that the 70s will come back and his burt renyolds-esque un-waxed-barrel-chest and beard will be back en vogue.

0
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 09, 2011
at 08:28 PM

some men look good with beards, others don't. People always think I am many years younger if I shave, so I prefer to leave a short beard, without it my face feels incomplete. personal choice

0
6f68447df0904e5381ed977f76bf284e

on March 09, 2011
at 07:22 PM

i love a clean shaven man - the less body hair the better! beards, goatees, mustaches, all just get in the way. It's not an age thing tho,...Even as a teenager it was the graying men that really did something for me (clooney, cal ripken, etc). Hubby, 16 years my senior still hasn't got any gray hair and always jokes with me that I'll leave him for someone who does.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:02 PM

i like plucking the beard hair out. i dont like knife or similiar near my face. i would like to try a primitive waxing. Do you know one?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 09, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Plucking? Ouch, that sounds painful! :P You can try something like sugar wax (you can make your own, and find recipes online) or threading, which is something I'd like to have done someday (for my brows). :)

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Julius Caesar apparently preferred to have his beard plucked. Yowch!

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