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Germaphobe Women Less Likely To Be Attracted To Men With Beards, Study Finds

New research has revealed that women find men with beards more suitable for long-term relationships, unless of course they're covered in bugs...

A team of academics out of the University of Queensland have invested time and money into drawing a conclusion that I came to years ago -- some men shouldn't grow beards.

The study was published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, and reported that women who are repulsed by lice and fleas are less likely to be attracted to men with beards.

919 predominately heterosexual women were asked to rate the attractiveness of three male faces based upon a range of factors.

These faces were placed on a five-point sliding scale. To the left, their faces were increasingly "feminised" by softening the jawline, the brow bone and the nose. To the right, they were "masculinised," doing the opposite.

Each version of these faces were displayed with and without a beard. Participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of the altered faces for the potential of both short-term and long-term relationships.

The great debate. Image: Getty

The women were also asked to complete a questionnaire about themselves. They were quizzed on their "ectoparasite avoidance" -- essentially, what levels of disgust they feel towards parasites. Their desire to become pregnant or not was also recorded.

Women with high levels of "ectoparasite disgust" rated low preferences for bearded men. The studies senior authors believe this could be evidence to support the 'ectoparasite avoidance hypothesis'.

Essentially, this means women could be more interested in breeding with clean-shaven men due to the notion that hairlessness has evolved in human beings as a response to the dangers of hosting disease carrying parasites.

In layman's terms, there is potential that females are more attracted to males they subconsciously consider more 'evolved'.

But don't dump your hairy hubby just yet. The study also found that as long as you're not a germaphobe, hairy men are hot stuff.

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Across all faces, the masculinised faces were deemed more attractive than the feminised faces. Beards were also the preferred option for both groups seeking short-term relationships, and those seeking long-term relationships.

The researches delved even deeper, indicating that a woman's attraction to beards can be dependent on whether or not she wants to have babies and where is in her menstrual cycle.

The "ovulatory shift hypothesis" suggests that women seek more masculine traits during the peri-ovulatory stage in their cycles, the phase before ovulation and when you are most fertile.

The study's initial findings reported that women were more interested in facial masculinity when they were most fertile, but the final research could not land on definitive proof.

Does this make you squeamish? Image: Getty

When it comes to finding a mate to have babies with, single women and partnered women are seeking very different things.

Single women who expressed "reproductive ambition" rated clean-shaven faces more preferable. Whereas partnered women didn't quite see as much baby daddy potential in bare faced men.

The report is extensive to say the least, and loaded with things you never thought you'd read on paper. The study is co-authored by researchers out of the University of Queensland, and the University of Stirling in Scotland.

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The research, of course, has its shortcomings. Each male face was of "northern European ethnicity," and the majority of female participants were white and from the US.

There is no way to know if similar attitudes would apply for women with more varied ethnicities, or homosexual men. No matter their beard situation, there's a sprinkling of positives and negatives for all men hoping to appear attractive to women.

At the end of the study, only one thing's for sure: you should probably wash your beard just in case.

Featured Image: Getty