British women prefer men with stubble because they are deemed to be more macho, according to a new survey.
It's the brooding looks of the likes of George Clooney and an unshaven Brad Pitt that do it for the ladies, the study by Northumbria University revealed.
Apparently, hirsute men look more aggressive because hair on the chin makes the jaw look bigger and draws attention to the teeth as weapons.
It seems that women deem a clean-shaven man is more clean-cut and therefore not as aggressive and probably less likely to be the Tarzan that they are looking for. Writing in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers said the findings might be down to evolution.
British women aged between 18 and 44 were asked to judge 15 men's faces which were digitally altered to look shaven and unshaven. It discovered that stubbly men were rated more attractive, more masculine and dominant and therefore better matches as potential partners.
The men's faces were altered to show five levels of hairiness – full beard, light beard, heavy stubble, light stubble and completely clean-shaven.
Writing in the journal, the scientists said that "beardedness" sends sociosexual signals out to the opposite sex because it shows "sexual maturity".
They said: "Facial hair may have been sexually selected by females on the basis of associated male success, despite its threatening appearance. Clean-shaven faces therefore may suggest appeasement, as well as being an obvious sign of sexual immaturity."
When it came to picking men for short-term flings or long-term committed relationships, men with stubble came top for both because they were rated high in masculinity. However, they did not like men who were "too masculinised".
The study authors are now planning to take their research around the world to see if there are international variations on stubbl