Do Women Prefer Men With Stubble?

Five lovely women tell the truth about men with a five o’clock shadow

Stubble is sort of like the cilantro of men’s grooming topics. Some people love it and some people really, really hate it.

But what we think guys really want to know is: what do women prefer? Scruff or clean-shaven?

We surveyed five wonderful women on the topic.

Here’s what they said.

Jill Newman, Senior Style Editor at Robb Report

Without a doubt, a little facial hair – otherwise known as stubble – can represent a sexy, carefree spirit. It portrays a sort of understated confidence, and can denote a slightly rebellious spirit.

It works particularly well with men’s fashion now because the clothing style is more relaxed and not so buttoned-up. However, not everybody can carry if off. It should suit a guy’s personality.

For instance, it might not seem so natural on a polished-looking banker in a three-piece suit. It should also fit the occasion. If it’s a formal business environment or event, that calls for a clean shaven look and stubble isn’t acceptable.

Sarah Solomon, Social Media Journalist at

I’m personally a big fan of the five o’clock shadow. It’s roguish and got that “I woke up too late to shave but I still look damn good” vibe.

Unfortunately, it can easily wander into ill-fated territory after a few days, and then you just look like you’re having problems growing a beard. On that note, there is some quaint irony in stubble actually taking constant maintenance.

Robin West, Digital Strategy at He Spoke Style

I am a fan of a man with scruff. Always have been, always will be. I don’t know where it comes from either – maybe Dylan McKay had it during the summer episodes? For me, it has serious sex appeal and makes a man look, well, very manly. That said, as with everything, there are guidelines.

First, keep it maintained, especially if you are growing it a bit longer. Once it gets to more than a week or two, depending how much growth you have, the long random strays and curls can come off as laziness or uncleanliness.

The second is that, as a girl, it can be a bit awkward for a while. Actually, it can be terrible. You start dating a guy, it’s those first few dates and you have those great, long make out sessions. Awesome!

Then you go home/wake up the next morning and see you are totally red around your mouth like Ronald McDonald from all that scruff friction that your skin is NOT used to. Our skin gets used to it after the initial shock, but this happens. So be kind, or no more kisses.

Shai Chung, Founder of Drunk On Shoes

A five o’clock shadow is like rocking a crop top – it’s not for everyone and won’t work in all situations. But when it does work, it’s amazing.

I find that guys who have more rugged features and a structured jawline look the best with a little scruff. And, personally, I find it to be a very sexy look.

But just always, always, always remember that it’s all about grooming. Keeping the scruff clean and well-groomed is the difference between being that mysterious handsome stranger or that weird creepy dude.

Mrs. Sacawa, Brian’s Mom

Call me old fashioned, but I do not like stubble. Some may say it’s sexy, but not me. I like a clean-shaven guy.

What don’t I like about it?

Well, first, it’s scratchy. Stubble also makes me think, for whatever reason, that a guy is too lazy to shave. It can look messy and unclean depending on how the person is dressed. Also, on some guys it can grow unevenly and patchy which just doesn’t look good.

Again, I’ll take a clean-shaven guy all the time. (Except if the person with stubble happens to be my son! Though I like him better clean-shaven, which he knows…)

Now that you know what the women think. What do you think? Chime in below.

Featured image via Harper’s Bazaar


Chime In

  • SuperG

    Ha ha at Brian’s mom! Mine dislikes the undercut, but I have it anyway (though incorporated a side part, thus perhaps it won’t affect her as much). Such are the ways of classic women. ;-)

    • Brian Sacawa

      Glad my mom was a hit. Thanks, as always, for chiming in.

  • Jack of Clubs

    We should all listen to your mother.

    • Brian Sacawa

      Haha! She’s going to love seeing this comment. Cheers.

  • beardedman

    As you can see from my pic here on Disqus, I’m in favor of beards for myself. Stubble can be great on some younger guys but for older I’d rather he had a real beard. If he’s built like a beefy hi-line pole climber and wears a hard hat to work, a bushy beard works. But the refined suited man needs to reign it in and keep it neat and short.

    • Brian Sacawa

      Many thanks, as always, for chiming in, beardedman!

  • David J. A. Foster

    I’m a law student and don’t have time to shave every day. But I think people like myself with fairly round faces look better clean-shaven. For the stubble or bearded look I think it’s better to have a more angular face.

  • Luis Martinez

    Ah! The question should not be if others like it, but instead if you like it. As with clothing, if you feel great wearing it, you will project confidence and you will rock. If you don’t, well, you better go back and change, or in this case, shave. Long story short, you never know until you try.

    • Andrew Sheridan

      If only the life of a social creature was summed up by their confidence… sadly, the equation is not that simple.

  • WritingMachyne

    I’ve always been attracted to stubble, but only the “soft” kind, not the prickly kind (tends to get prickly as a man gets past middle age). I’ve asked men whom I didn’t know if I could feel their stubble. One was a construction worker on lunch break sitting among a bunch of others. He let me while the others watched. I thanked him and went on my very merry way. However… I absolutely loathe moustaches or even a few days growth there. I only like the growth on the jaw, cheek, chin area. But once it begins looking like a beard, it’s game over. I HATE beards. Hate moustaches (scuzzy, uncouth, traps food and saliva, sometimes makes its way inside the mouth, just gross).

  • Hefailed

    I’m more concerned not so much with the look, but whether or not I’m shredding the poor woman’s face. In another life time, my girlfriend and I had a heavy, heavy kissing session. The next day, she had a gauze covering everything below the lower lip. She peeled the gauze back and it looked as if she took a header into the cement pavement. She told her parents she wasn’t paying attention and walked into a door. Every since then, I’ve shaven before a date….