“Women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive. In contrast, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, followed closely by clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. Men and women rated full beards highest for parenting ability and healthiness. Masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increased, and this effect was more pronounced in women in the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, although attractiveness ratings did not differ according to fertility.” - Discover Magazine
One thing that sticks out to me immediately is the fact that the period of four weeks is used here to designate a “full beard”, which is just plain not the case for the majority of guys. At four to six weeks, the majority of guys are just coming out of the awkward stage of what I like to call the “beard hazing” period. That being said, the results here point to the fact that beardedness and desirability are part of our own genetic disposition as a race. In women, the heavy stubble preference, to me, is skewed by the “full beard” error, as the heavy stubble stage is pretty much the only point in the first 6 weeks of growing a beard that looks even remotely cool - and consequently is also where most guys give up and shave.
For guys, the results here speak to the perception of attractiveness in a beard as a genetic predisposition towards desiring to have an awesome one. Another study, which you can find HERE, found that the attractiveness of a beard was also found to be somewhat relative to the amount of other beards around. This was what the whole “Peak Beard” thing was about - the idea that beards will come and go as a fad because they become less desirable when more guys have them. I find this interesting because one thing that it really affirms to me is the idea that the uniqueness of your beard is what makes it awesome. My philosophy has always been to maximize the strengths of your own facial hair rather than work to make it like someone else’s.
To me, this says that rather than peak beard truly being a factor, the key to having an awesome beard is to make it your own. Why work hard to be part of the crowd when you can possess a level of bearded glory uniquely your own? So how do you find that awesome beard that is uniquely your own? A beard that makes the faces of clean-shaven men cower in fear of your alpha-maleness? The secret to growing the kind of beard that other guys aspire to have is the same secret to getting almost any good thing in life:
Patience is what get you where you want to be. If you can't work from the beginning with the end in mind, you will always find yourself frustrated by where you are.
Persistence means not giving up, even if things don’t go your way. You gotta roll with it, everyday. That is life. If you can’t accept that pretty much everything in life is a process that never really ends, you will never find satisfaction in making it happen.
Confidence ties it all together - believing in yourself enough to know you can keep going until you get what you want - and knowing that it is really you that wants it. These three qualities are what you need to get pretty much every good thing in life: