It’s a classic argument, blondes have more fun, but brunettes are smarter. Well what if we told you it was all nonsense?!
Well, we think it is – we know insanely accomplished and brilliant blonde women, and brunettes who certainly know how to have a good time (while kicking butt in the corporate world too!). But there are many studies out there testing people’s perceptions of women with blonde and brunette hair, and some might surprise you.
You may assume that “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (ah, Marilyn!), but as it turns out, a study conducted by the University of Westminster in the U.K. and the Scandanavian Journal of Psychology suggests that men in fact prefer brunettes.
The study was conducted with a fair-skinned woman going to three different nightclubs with her hair dyed brunette, blonde, or red. It was done professionally so that she looked natural, and the goal was to see how many men approached her.
She was approached the most as a blonde, second as brunette and least as a redhead, but when further inquiries were made with men at those same clubs, they said they found her as a brunette more appealing overall. To them, she came across most attractive, intelligent, approachable and dependable as a brunette, more temperamental as a redhead, and needy as a blonde.
Now you may say that some of these comments are just stereotypical, but it was unusual to see that men didn’t prefer blondes overall, as past studies have shown. Interestingly enough, women of all hair types have said they prefer men with dark hair (and so do lionesses! Crazy right? Male lions with dark manes are more likely to be pride leaders).
Fun fact! Natural blondes have significantly more hair than brunettes, because evolutionary science tells us that hair evolved in part to protect our scalp from the sun’s rays. With less pigmentation than brunettes, blondes developed more hair to get that protective barrier.
A separate study done in the U.K. in 2011 surveying 2000 men, found that almost a third said they preferred brunettes. When this study was conducted in other countries such as France, U.S., Spain, Italy and Brazil, the most preferred hair color was black.
So what does this all mean? Psychologists tell us that women who are not naturally born blondes tend to go blonde because they want to stand out. And they succeed – because only 10% of the population is actually naturally blonde. In a sea of dark-haired women, a blonde is certainly going to turn heads. But it seems that old stereotypes die hard, because in the recent financial hard times, we have seen more blonde women dying their hair dark in order to be perceived as more professional in the office, and thus less likely to be laid off.
There are a few things we do know: blonde hair is much rarer than brunette locks, so if you’ve got it, we’re sure you rock it! We also know that in a world of 7 billion people, it’s imperative to find yourself and stand out – and if hair color (whether red, pink, blonde, black or tri-colored) helps you define yourself, we embrace it. In the end, however, it’s simply a trait, not who you are.