London, March 5: Guys, shave off your beard before going on a blind date.
A study has found that women rate men more highly if they shaved their beards off.
Being bearded also made them seem older and more aggressive.
But gents who are fond of their facial hair would be happy to know that having a beard commands respect, particularly from other males, the Daily Mail reported.
Science gives us various theories as to why men are able to grow beards, from protecting the delicate facial skin from sunlight to buffering blows to the jaw in a fight.
It is even suggested that a beard is a sign of a strong immune system. The theory goes that disease-carrying parasites thrive in body hair and so if a man can sport a beard without getting ill, he must be extra healthy.
Women are supposed to be drawn to strong, healthy men but previous research into whether beards are attractive has produced mixed results, so scientists from New Zealand and Canada decided to conduct their own research.
The found 19 men with full beards - defined as six weeks of growth without any shaving or trimming - who agreed to help and photographed them as they were and when making an angry expression.
Beards where then shaved off and the men photographed again.
The pictures of the men - who were from New Zealand and Samoa - were then shown to more than 200 women, who were asked to rate them for attractiveness.
Women from both countries rated the clean-shaven look as significantly more attractive, according to the journal Behavioral Ecology.
When other men were asked their opinion, they said that men pictured looked older and angrier when bearded.
However, both sexes said that facial hair added gravitas, with bearded men perceived to have a higher social status and command more respect from other men.
The results suggest that beards send a signal of masculinity to other men but do little to attract women.
Researcher Paul Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge in Canada, who has sported a goatee for more than 20 years, said the findings were made more sound by the inclusion of men from different cultures. (ANI)