Having a beard is a fickle thing.
Studies have shown that having a beard makes you a hot commodity, as women thought men with facial hair were more attractive and someone they’d want to have a long-term relationship with compared to those clean-shaven.
But kids think the total opposite.
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A new study published in Evolution and Human Behavior found that young children don’t find them attractive at all.
“Until very recent history, beards were a very prominent element of men’s faces, and so we must have expectations related to those, and it turns out that adults do,” Nicole Nelson, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia, told NPR.
“We were wondering whether or not all those expectations emerge in adulthood or if they are there throughout their lives.”
The study had 470 kids from age groups like toddlers to teenagers look at pair photos that depicted the same man with a beard and clean-shaven. They were presented next to each other and the participants were asked a series of questions about each photo subjected to physical traits like strength (“Who looks stronger?”), age (“Who looks older?”), masculinity (“Who looks most like a man?”), attractiveness (“Who looks the best?”), and parenting (“Who looks most like a dad?”).
All adolescent age groups associated beards with strength, but not all found them comforting. Young children avoided bearded faces, according to the study, when asked about attractiveness.
“As early as one year nine months, they dislike beards,” Nelson said, “and kids, as they got older, up to about 13 years, continue to dislike beards even more.”
But that changed with age as when kids progressed to puberty, beards were perceived better and found more likable.
However, the jury is still out on whether a bearded life is right or wrong.
“I think it’s a good move if you want to kind of boost your manliness — if you want to look a little more dominant, you want to look a little bit older,” Nelson said. “Those things come along with children being slightly afraid of you. If you want to chat with children, you might not want a beard.”