I dyed my hair brunette for a temporary change a few months ago. It was fun and interesting to see how people acted with me after. It led me to do some research on men’s attraction to different hair colours and why. I found an awesome article on psychology.com. Apparently in a recent article published in the “Scandinavian Journal of Psychology”, Viren Swami and Seishin Barrett conducted two studies in the greater London area. Studies 1 and 2 consisted of 120 and 126 male participants respectively.
1. To determine whether the same woman would be approached by men at one of three nightclubs as a function of whether she was a brunette, blonde or redhead (her hair was manipulated with dye).
2. To gauge whether photos of the same woman sporting the the three hair colors would yield different evaluations by men along the following ten traits: physical attractiveness, sexual promiscuity, intelligence, introversion, neuroticism, approachability, competency, arrogance, neediness and temperamentality.
Brunette: Scored higher than the two other hair colors on physical attraction, intelligence, competence and arrogance. Scored higher than the redhead on approachability.
Blonde: Scored highest on approachability than the two other hair colors, as well as highest on neediness.
Redhead: Scored higher than the two other hair colors on temperamentality and lowest on approachability. This seems to be a manifestation of the “fiery redhead” stereotype.
There were no differences in the findings on impressions of sexual promiscuity, introversion, and neuroticism.
The bottom line
It would appear that blonde women are approached more frequently in a nightclub but are generally judged more harshly along a wide range of traits. This could explain the lower score than the brunette on physical attraction in the photo. It’s logical men subconsciously take into account these traits when making a first impression. Hair colour preference is likely driven by individual idiosyncrasies as well cross-cultural differences (i.e. this is a preference that is rooted in evolutionary principles; that lighter hair is associated with youthfulness, a trait universally fancied by men).