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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – So much for stubble burn.

A new study shows that a man’s facial hair is directly linked to his perceived attractiveness.

During the study, which was published in the May issue of Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers took photos of 10 men at four different stages of beard growth.

The researchers then had 351 women and 177 heterosexual men study the photos and rate each face for health, parenting ability, attractiveness and masculinity.

Women ranked the “heavily stubbled” faces with about 10 days of growth as the most attractive, while clean shaven men were ranked about as healthy and attractive as those with a full beard.

However, men sporting a beard received top rankings for perceived parenting skills and healthiness, and masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair growth progressed.

Surprisingly, light stubble was ranked low on all four benchmarks by both men and women.

Researchers say the study shows that facial hair directly influences judgments of men’s “socio-sexual attributes.”

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