We May Have Reached "Peak Beard"

Take note, hipsters

Apr 16, 2014
Outside Magazine

Grant Heslov, from left, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney pose with their award for best picture for "Argo" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)    John Shearer/Invision/AP

Beards are back, but maybe not for long.

New research suggests that we may have reached "peak beard," a scenario in which the attractiveness of facial hair begins to decrease. As more people grow beards, their potential partners find the look less becoming.

The new study found that once we reach "peak beard," the pendulum swings back toward clean-shaven men. To get these results, researchers asked men and women to rank different levels of "beardedness." Both groups indicated that beards and less-bristled chins were more attractive when they were rare.    

"This pattern in preferences is consistent with negative frequency-dependent selection," researchers wrote.

In other words, your choice to grow a beard isn't free will at all, but part of a larger evolution-driven trend.

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