NEW research has claimed almost half of male beards have traces of faecal matter - even when washed with soap on the same day.

The study involved swabbing and analysing beards in a bid to discover what stomach-churning germs are nestled beneath the surface.

Researchers found the facial hair on 47% of the men sampled contained the micro-organism ‘Enterococcus spp’ - which is also found in the human bowel and in faecal matter.

The majority of participants claimed they had washed their beards with soap on the same day as the test.

The beards were of varied lengths and styles - meaning even shorter beards are bursting with bacteria.

Recent surveys have shown around 60% of men don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, which could help explain the disturbing amounts of bacteria found.

A spokeswoman for Fragrance Direct - which carried out the research with Manchester Metropolitan University - described how it is “essential” for men’s health to care for their beard.

Se added: “Everyone knows to shampoo their hair, but beards need some attention too.

“Men should use beard shampoo when they shower, along with conditioner afterwards.

“Between washes, beard serum should be used to keep it in good condition and the keep hair soft and well-groomed.”