Now that summer is over, you can start growing out that cold-weather beard for the winter. As an added benefit, it might land you a long-term girlfriend in the process. According to a new study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, when straight women are looking for a serious relationship, they prefer men with a full beard.

Researchers from three Australian universities took photos of 16 randomly selected men from when they were clean shaven, had five days of stubble, 10 days of stubble, and at least 14 weeks of untrimmed beards. They had a group of 8,520 heterosexual women rate the photos they saw for general physical attractiveness, how attractive they’d be for a short-term relationship, and how attractive they’d be for a long-term relationship.

The four stages of facial hair growth, as illustrated by Jon Hamm.

The four stages of facial hair growth, as illustrated by Jon Hamm.

The results show that women want to cuddle up with a bearded man for the long term. Overall, heavy stubble was rated the most attractive, followed by light stubble, full beards, and clean-shaven faces. But that changed when women were specifically asked about long-term relationships. Full beards were found most attractive for a long-term relationship, but that association didn’t exist for short-term relationships.

The researchers also manipulated the photos to make the faces appear more “masculine” or “feminine,” but found that women liked the unmanipulated photos best on average. They think that beards can help mask more “masculine” traits that women might find unattractive for a long-term partner.

Also, in evolutionary terms, they may associate beards with being an alpha male who can provide for them. “In other studies, we know that men view other men who have beards as quite dominant, more mature and high ranking, so we know that a full beard can become a sort of status symbol,” researcher Danielle Sulikowski told News.com.au.

So if you want to get noticed by everyone, go with heavy stubble. But if you’re looking for a life partner, go full lumberjack.

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