Photographed by Michael O'Neal.
Welp, here's hoping you weren't one of the dudes who opted for a beard transplant last month. Quartz reported today that the "hipster beard" — one that's long, thick, and lumberjack-like — is now headed out of style. But, this isn't a simple issue of fashion. This time, science is dictating facial-hair trends — and Quartz has the data to back it up.
Rob Brooks, the author, was inspired to conduct a study exploring how “negative frequency dependence” (NFD), a phenomenon that explains preference for more rare genetic traits, might play a role in facial-fuzz fads. Quartz photographed 36 men at various stages of facial-hair growth — clean-shaven, five-day growth, 10-day growth, and full beard — and asked volunteers to rate the photos according to attractiveness. The volunteers either saw all men clean-shaven, all of them with beards, or six men from each of the four levels of growth. As the author predicted, both the clean-shaven look and the full beards were rated higher when they were perceived as more rare. The takeaway: The appearance, or absence, of facial hair is more desirable when it's less popular — basically, beards may be considered less attractive as they become more common.
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