Have you ever wondered what the society thinks about your beard and what your facial hair says about you in the eyes of the general masses?
Well, we did too.
And as we are the Beard Resource, we decided to uncover the studies and facts behind the real signals of beards and stubble.
So that you can learn what it truly means to grow a beard, and what does your facial hair style really represent.
Are you ready to understand what your beard symbolizes? Great. Continue reading below to find all the nitty-gritty details. ↓
Table of Contents
Facial Hair Symbolizes Masculinity & Manliness
While I’m not a deeply religious person, it’s still very clear that the biblical significance of a beard suggests that facial hair would be a symbol of man, and one of the most evident differentiators between masculine and feminine.
In the Scriptures, the shaving of a man’s beard was considered one of the most humiliating acts that could be done by an enemy. (source)
From a non-religious evolutionary perspective, the beard also symbolizes masculinity, as it grows in response to the male hormones or androgens; testosterone and DHT.
The growth of body hair and facial hair is one of the most apparent distinctive difference makers in the looks between a man and a woman.
No matter what kind of belief-system you live in, you can’t ever really disassociate the beard from its connection to masculinity and the man. Not even in the era of Conchita Wurst and other trickery that challenges our World-view.
In the eyes of others, going from clean-shaven to fully bearded is most certainly going to increase your perceived manliness.
Beards Signify Patience and Self-Restraint
For quite some years now, shaving the beard has been the norm, and growing a beard is not even accepted in many workplaces.
Considering that the average facial hair growth rate is ½-inch per month, it really takes months, even years to grow a big beard.
Growing a beard is comparable to waiting calmly without complaining and remaining unmovable even when you really feel like running. It shows surprising strength of character to lay down the razor and not shave your face when everyone expects you to do so.
When everyone and their dog expects you to shave – and the early growth usually looks unkempt and bad – it takes a lot of self-restraint and patience to carry on and let your facial hair grow in month after month.
For this reason, many people associate big beards with being patient and having the ability to hold back instead of following the masses.
Patience is a virtue, and self-restraint is considered a respectable act. Facial hair signals that you’re capable of both of these, and that really is one of the big subconscious benefits of beards.
Beard is a Symbol of Dominance and Status
More than 150 years ago, one of the History’s greatest bearded men; Charles Darwin suggested that beards evolved to communicate formidability to other males.
Many many years later, a group of Australian researchers ran a study where they showed their 450 adult subjects pictures of happy and angry bearded men, along with pictures that had happy and angry clean-shaven men.
As to be expected, the bearded men were rated higher on the scale of masculinity and aggressiveness.
In a fascinating study published in the Journal of Behavioral Ecology, the researchers found that men with lower voice pitch and higher amount of facial hair were rated as more dominant than clean-shaven men with higher voice pitch.
Surprisingly enough, some evidence suggests that the evolutionary reason for beard growth might not be to appear more attractive in the eyes of women, but instead to show dominance and social status to other men.
This would in part explain the modern-day phenomenon called “beard envy” in which beardless men feel anger, low self-esteem, and jealousy towards their bearded peers.
Men with Facial Hair are Perceived Slightly More Attractive
One of the most pressing beard-related questions we get is this:
The answer is that it depends highly on the individual. Some women prefer clean-shaven men, others like the rugged look of stubble, and some dig full beards.
However, what science tells us is that in general, women tend to rate men with beards and stubble slightly higher on the attractiveness chart than men with smooth cheeks.
Here are some examples:
In a study by Neave et al. women rated men with varying degrees of beardedness as more attractive than clean-shaven men. The winner in this study was the heavy-stubble of about 10-days of growth.
In the abovementioned voice-pitch and facial hair alteration study, the researchers found that women rated the heavy-stubble with a voice pitch lowered by 25hz as the most attractive option, followed by a full beard with a voice pitch lowered by 25hz.
The least attractive rating went to clean-shaven men with a voice pitch raised by 50hz and to men with light-stubble and voice pitch raised by 50hz.
Perhaps the most interesting study comes from Dixson et al. which manipulated men’s images from four different beard lengths in either to be more feminine or more masculine and then showed them to women to rate for attractiveness.
What they found out was that the heavy-stubble was again reported as the most attractive facial hair style, followed by a full beard and light-stubble. The least attractive rating went again to the clean-shaven faces.
Based on the above evidence, your best bet for improving attractiveness in terms of facial hair would be to rock a heavy-stubble.
There is, however, one study which suggests that women may prefer clean-shaven faces over bearded kind, so it’s not all set in stone.
Men seem to think themselves that facial hair makes them more attractive, as a questionnaire by Braun showed that men feel more attractive and confident with facial hair.
To further back this up, a researcher by the name of Nigel Barber found that during the years between 1842 to 1971, whenever there was a greater amount of single men in comparison to available women, beards and mustaches would become more fashionable.
In other words; when the competition for women to marry increased, men would often grow beards or mustaches to make themselves seem like more worthy candidates.
Based on the available evidence, beards are indeed associated with power, dominance, strength, attractiveness, and patience.
Better yet, beards don’t only symbolize those things, but growing one can make men feel more confident and attractive, which increases happiness and improves your quality of life at the same time.
So we can only conclude this…
Beards are freaking awesome, and you should grow one as soon as possible.
Think you can’t grow one?
Don’t worry, we have published multiple articles to help you out, such as this one on speeding up the beard-growing potential, or this one about fixing sparse facial hair growth, and this where we examine the methods of making your beard thicker naturally.