Get out the razors, hipsters: We may have reached “peak beard frequency,” according to research published in the journal Biology Letters today.
Men’s facial hair trends may be guided by Darwinian selection, researchers hypothesized. So they asked women and men to rate different faces with “four standard levels of beardedness.” The faces that were rarer were rated as more appealing. It’s an evolutionary phenomenon known as “negative frequency-dependent sexual selection.”
“The idea is that perhaps people start copying the George Clooneys and the Joaquin Phoenixs and start wearing those beards, but then when more and more people get onto the bandwagon the value of being on the bandwagon diminishes, so that might be why we’ve hit ‘peak beard’,” study author Prof Rob Brooks told the BBC.
“Peak beard” is reached when the most men in professions not usually associated with facial hear sport beards. The BBC suggests that may have happened in January when a Newsnight
Some say the Rubicon was crossed in January when Jeremy Paxman, the BBC Newsnight presenter, shaved his beard off, saying “beards are SO 2013.”
When “peak beard” frequency is reached, the pendulum swings back toward lesser-bristled chins — a trend we may be witnessing now, the scientists say.
Their study has been published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
Next up? testing how people like faces with varying levels of beardedness.