Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right


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The Independent Online

Much like the ‘man-knot’ (male top knot) and man-cup (make-up for men) before it, the phenomenon of the hipster beard has not escaped the attention of the A-list.

Drawing inspiration from every dandy strutting around Dalston with a mighty crop of facial hair clinging to their chin like a small, wiry mammal, they’ve eschewed the smooth-shaven look favoured by the stars of the past for an altogether more Victorian style.

The trouble is, so many men have followed suit, society has reached somewhat of a beard peak. A new study published in the Biology Letters suggests that because of its overwhelming popularity, facial hair is no longer considered attractive.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales found that when test subjects (1,453 heterosexual or bisexual women and 213 heterosexual men) were shown a succession of clean-shaven men followed by blokes with beards, they rated second group more attractive than the first.


But when test subjects were shown photos of men with facial hear first and the clean-shaven men second, it was the un-bearded individuals who were deemed the most desirable.

“It appears that beards gain an advantage when rare, but when they are in fashion and common, they are declared trendy and that attractiveness is over,” researcher Robert Brooks told the Guardian.

“These trends usually move in 30-year cycles from when they are first noticed but, with the internet, things are moving a lot faster. If guys aren’t getting any joy with their beards, they will quickly change.”

So, are we less attracted to men with beards already? Take the A-list beard challenge above and find out where you stand on this all-important issue. Ryan Gosling's career is counting on your opinion.