Lets face it

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
August 23, 2011, 9:28 PM GMT+0

Are you male and looking for a date? It might be a good idea to shave beforehand, our survey suggests, as we discover that two thirds of British women prefer the appearance of a man without a beard, compared to less than one in ten who like the more hirsute type.

Perhaps relatedly, our poll also discovered that nearly two thirds of men do not currently have facial hair, leaving just over a third of men a little on the hairy side. However, of those who do have facial hair, more than half describe it as stubble, while just three in ten hairy men have a full beard and moustache.

  • 66% of British women prefer the appearance of a man without a beard
  • While 6% prefer the appearance of a man with a beard, and 27% have no preference either way
  • Fortunately for the two thirds of women who aren’t keen, only 37% of men currently have facial hair
  • While 63% of men revealed that they did not currently have facial hair
  • Female aversion to beards seems to dissipate with age, as 80% of 18 to 24 year olds prefer the appearance of a man without a beard, compared to 59% of those aged 60 and over
  • However, although older women seem less bothered about facial hair on men, it seems male hairiness decreases with age, as 51% of 18 to 24 year old men say that they have facial hair, compared to just 31% of over 60s
  • 52% of men describe their hair as stubble, with 18 to 24 year olds especially sporting this look (80%)
  • 29% of men have a beard and moustache, particularly the over 60s (42%)
  • 11% of men have a moustache only, and this look is most popular among the 40 to 59 age group (18%)

The dubious honour of ‘Longest Moustache in The World’ goes to Badamsihn Juwansinh Gurjar of Ahmedabad, India, whose moustache measured in at 12 and a half feet in 2004, breaking all previous records. The moustache reportedly took 22 years to reach such a length.

Toothbrushes and emperors

Other well-known moustaches include that of Charlie Chaplin (the ‘toothbrush’ style worn by the actor when famously satirising Hitler in the 1940 film, The Great Dictator). The look became popular in America in the late 19th century, and was introduced to Germany by visiting Americans. The previous style in Germany had been the ‘Kaiser’ moustache, which was perfumed and turned up at the ends, and so called because of its similarity to that worn by then-emperor Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Movember: helpful hairiness

The 66% of British women who prefer a face without facial hair may find it hard to believe, but moustaches can also be used as a force for good. The annual month-long event ‘Movember’ involves the growing of moustaches in November to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and depression.

The charity's director of fundraising Mark Bishop is keen to point out the many moustachioed benefits. He told the BBC, ‘We can get to guys in their 30s and 40s in a way that has just not been possible…Men are acting proactively around their health in a way we've not seen before.’

Men wishing to take part must grow a moustache (but no accompanying beard) for the entire month – before, two thirds of women may be happy to know, shaving it all off come November 30th.