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Blondes, brunettes, and redheads: who really has more fun?

Changing your hair color? Which way should you go?

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky July 13 2007

brunette with blonde and redhead wigs

Most of us women experiment with hair color at one time or another, and this is not a new phenomenon; women have been changing hair color for centuries. Ancient Egyptians dyed their hair with henna because they believed it made them more glamorous and seductive. European women wore colored and powdered wigs to express their moods as well as their stations in life.

Why do we do it? For many of us changing our hair color – something that we can control - signals that we want to change our lives – which we often cannot. And we know that, for good or for bad, a first impression happens within mere seconds, and often such decisions begin with physical attributes like size, eye and hair color.

In making these first impressions we tend to fall back on long-held stereotypes. We categorize blondes as ditzy, dumb or sexy. We equate brunettes with sophistication and intelligence. We assume redheads are hot tempered or complex. But where did those stereotypes come from and how true are they?

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Blondes

Hollywood must take some blame for the “dumb blonde” stereotype. In the 40’s a lot of starlets trying to get noticed bleached their hair blonde. The technique often worked, garnering them the attention they sought from casting directors. The problem was that many of them were cast in bit parts, typically either a “sex siren” or the “comic relief.” Even when their roles eventually expanded, one thing remained the same - a kind of naive innocence which somehow got translated into “dumb.” Hence the concept “dumb blonde.”

Ironically, going blonde was a smart move for many of these actresses! Marilyn Monroe parlayed her blonde ambition into a monumental career, and remains a inspiring icon for actresses like Pamela Anderson. Goldie Hawn started her career playing the ditzy blonde but quickly proved that there was an incredibly sharp brain behind that funny exterior. Her daughter, Kate Hudson, appears to be every bit as sharp as mom, making careful choices that move her career forward and do not pigeonhole her as a one-note wonder. Nor is there anything “dumb” about their blonde sisters like Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rene Zellwegger, Scarlett Johannsen, and Madonna.

If the “blondes are dumb” stereotype has no scientific support, the same cannot be said of that other cliché, “blondes have more fun.” In my own scientific research for this article, I polled the men in my family, my friends, and the neighborhood. I talked with in excess of 50 men, and 55% stated that they were more attracted to blondes. Of that percentage, more than 80% also stated that they preferred blue eyes. Evolutionary theory would explain this by pointing out that both blonde hair and blue eyes are correlated with youth, and men are attracted to the fertility associated with youth. Whatever the reasons, blondes certainly seem in line for a lot of fun!

Brunettes

So if blondes are dumb, are brunettes any smarter? Although on an individual level there is no correlation of intelligence and hair color, there are a lot more smart brunettes in the world than smart blondes, for the simple reason of volume – there are many more brunettes than there are blondes. This is because the blonde gene is recessive, and some claim it will eventually become extinct. That is, of course, excludes blondes that that come out of a bottle!

Brunettes are experiencing a surge in popularity at the moment. Many of Hollywood’s hottest blondes have taken a darker turn: Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Simpson, and Sienna Miller. Some initially changed their hair color for a specific role, but some have seemed to buy into the new persona they created, believing it would get them more substantial film roles. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Jessica Alba was definitely taken more seriously in her critically-acclaimed role as the dark haired beauty she played on television’s Dark Angel. In contrast, her blonde Invisible Girl in the recent Fantastic Four sequel was panned. On the other hand Drew Barrymore seems to do well no matter what color of hair she sports.

Going back to my poll of male preferences, 40% of my sample prefer brunettes to blondes or red heads. They were split on eye color, though. Brown edged out blue slightly, but green and hazel also made good showings.

Redheads

Most people equate redheads to hot tempers. However, the most famous redhead of all time, Lucille Ball, was actually well known for her even-tempered disposition. Even Hollywood’s famous redheads Julianne Moore, Rene Russo, Debra Messing, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts have much less of a diva reputation than many of their blonde and brunette sisters.

Being a redhead myself, I have to say we have the best of both worlds. We benefit from the same kind of “sexy” image that blondes boast, while still being thought of as intelligent, like our brunette counterparts. Additionally, we have the benefit of being in the minority, which makes us a little more sought after and gives us a certain aura of mystique. Men often find that alluring, which gives us a decided advantage.

While only 5% of the men I polled stated a preference for redheads, I didn’t take offense, particularly since many of them (in my view, wrongly) categorized the strawberry blonde as a blonde, and not (as she should be) on the red side of the fence. I wasn’t surprised that the men who like redheads also wanted green or hazel eyes, as they seem to go together in the minds of a lot of people.

Overall

So who has more fun: blondes, brunettes, or redheads? The truth doesn’t really lie in the hair color. It lies within the woman. If dying your hair brunette makes you “feel” more sophisticated or intelligent, then that is the persona you are going to take on. If bleaching your hair blonde makes you feel sexier, wilder, or heaven forbid dumber, then that is the persona you will embrace. The truth of how much fun you have in life lies deep within you, and how you bring that “fun” girl out to play!

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Comments

Posted on 20/07/07 23:01 by: Emmie

Well, i was born a blonde gradually went to light brown then stawberry blonde which in the eyes of most people qualifies as red because i'm not blonde or brunette. Having been all 3 hair colours it really depends on how much you care what other people think.  If your happy with it then you'll have fun if your not do what you need to do, hair dye isn't your enemy!
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Posted on 20/05/08 03:53 by: Lauren

I'm a natural brunette and have dyed my hair blonde before. Honestly most people I know go for brunettes, possibly because of the girl next door feel. I read in an article that most rich men go for darker hair shades, more than 60% in fact. I don't blame them! Anyone can be any hair color, but there are so many fake blondes in the world today. They're not as interesting and its really just a mask to hide behind. The men who prefer blondes probably read a lot of Playboy and just go by the stereotypes. And no blonde today will ever live up to Marilyn Monroe's brilliance. As for redheads, I think they're interesting and very striking. They're a rare race of people who dare to be wild! Not many people acknowledge red heads, and celebs such as Lindsay Lohan dye their hair to - you guessed it, blonde. Ladies, if you wanna sack a millionaire, stick with your brunette or black shades.
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Posted on 15/06/08 07:08 by: jaley

Blondes have never really been attractive to me.  Brunettes are usually lovely... but redheads, they are fabulous, timeless, and beautiful!


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Posted on 07/08/08 06:24 by: Caoilfhionn

Hey there - you can't claim that none of those "redhead" actresses have tempers! The only one on that list who is a natural redhead is Julianne Moore. Even Lucille Ball wasn't. I happen to think the temper thing is true :)
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Posted on 22/10/08 06:23 by: Zoe

Over the years I have dyed my hair so many times and different colours. I have had jet black hair, bottle blonde, red and brown. Although dark brown/black suits my fair skin better than blonde, guys have preferred me better with darker hair.
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Posted on 07/07/09 12:11 by: MerryDrear

I think raven should be treated by itself because while it technically is brown it's not perceived the same way as obviously brown shades of hair. Hair that appears black isn't even perceived the same way as the very dark brown shades.
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Posted on 15/12/09 02:09 by: Valerie

I have naturally brown hair, but it's a grayish ash brown. Not attractive at all. Also, brown hair ages me. At my age, that's not a good thing. But bottom line, your own opinion is most important. I think what matters most is if the color fits the person.  I do dye my hair.  It's because I want to be able to look in the mirror and not cringe.
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Posted on 07/01/10 05:32 by: Tcup

I have been all the above at one time or another, actually sometimes a couple of colors at the same time....lol. The last 3 years I've been different shades of red, but a constant red. I've had more men approach, compliment, to even plain drooling since I went red. As a child I was a natural blonde, grew up through many shades to a natural dark reddish brown. Then I went prematurely grey in my middle 20's. So I had always wanted the lighter bright copper penny red (the orangey red), didn't want to bleach my long hair, but god had made it easy now. It's my color! With blue sometimes green eyes it not only sets the eyes off that have always drawn attention all on their own, it suits my personality as well, fiery, sarcastic, witty, and extremely ill-tempered with a fuse about the size of a grain of sand, very sexual, generous, and compassionate when not pissed off! LOL Bottom line: your personality, hair style, color and length should all compliment each other! One cannot make the other! Skin tones and eye color contribute as well. With olive skin to medium skin that tans well and blue/green eyes I've been lucky to be able to wear any color of choice and be able to wear it. But I work in a salon/barber shop 5' 2, 105 lbs to 110 lbs average. Been cutting mens hair for 10 years, they love redheads! They are very vocal about it, even my women clients (for color), every one of them has gone red ! It compliments more skin tones then people realize except for Barney purple. LOL It's high maintenance and most women are scared of it. A bright, bold, strong and fun loving color requires the same to present it!
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Posted on 19/01/10 21:07 by: jillian

I was born blonde, and still am. I take it very offensive the whole dumb blonde thing cause it's not true!!!!!! I get called dumb a lot because I'm blonde. Redheads are not mad all the time and people with brown hair are smart but they don't need to brag about it.


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Posted on 12/04/10 20:42 by: DarkkSkyy

I was born a blonde. I still am, somewhere underneath all that black hair dye.  I prefer to have black hair, but I can't really explain why, I guess I just like it more. It's funny to see all the other women with blonde hair, sporting brown, or black roots, because I'm the opposite.
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Posted on 29/04/10 12:39 by: Buble

I am a bit redder these days but I'm a natural dark brunette, like the celebrity you seem to have overlooked - the 'most beautiful woman in the world', natural brunette Angelina Jolie... mmmm...
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Posted on 11/06/10 20:20 by: Cassie

I am a blonde, and always will be. Not all girls with blonde hair are fakes. I'm not. And doesn't matter which has more fun. Some guys prefer blondes with blue eyes, some with red and green eyes. Not EVERY guy prefers brunettes. So don't flatter yourself.
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Posted on 02/07/10 18:32 by: D Rob Green

Real redheads are a gift to the eyes and the senses...
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Posted on 05/09/10 00:18 by: Jessica

Love this article!!! I'm a natural light brunette, and yes, I am smart. Men really prefer me the way I am, which is good. :) Not only do I like my hair color, but I really love REDHEADS! Blondes are nice too....
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Posted on 30/09/10 12:39 by: Chelsea

Well I have been blonde, and light brunette which i am now, and I would say I prefer light brunette because I feel happy, sexy and intelligent. Since I have been brunette I have had a lot more male attention but I think the fact I have big boobs helps. Plus I think brunettes are the new blondes.
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Posted on 09/10/10 02:58 by: rs

I am a natural redhead, with the usual complexion - freckles and pink cheeks, blue eyes. I would really like to go dark brown, like Megan Fox, but don't know what shade would work for me. Currently my hair is great, and I don't really want to screw it up.
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Posted on 12/10/10 12:37 by: Charlie

RS: I'm a readhead too, kind of strawberry red. I've gone dark brown before; it looked good but I didn't look like myself. It was a drastic change plus my hair looked muddy as I grew the color out, which I hated. Just be careful to use a wash-out color rather than a permanent one.
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Posted on 25/03/11 05:39 by: jamie

I am personally a blonde, and am REALLY actually surprising smart! If you change your hair color to be "normal" or fit in with the crowd, DON'T BOTHER, you are totally individual as yourself, and nobody and nothing can change that. Embrace that, hold up your head and BE CONFIDENT!
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Posted on 23/04/11 23:16 by: Pat

First of all there are not a lot of blondes out there so to say that men prefer brunettes... I mean if you go to a singles party unless you're in Sweden there will be very few blondes. With way more brunettes a guy has more chance of a picking and ending up with a brunette.
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Posted on 06/06/11 04:47 by: Morgan

I am a natural brunette, dyed my hair blonde in the past and have dyed it red for the past 2 years. I'm in love with this color and I'm finding that some people I know love the color and others liked it better blonde. You can't  make everyone happy, it really depends on the person, but I personally love my red hair :]
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Posted on 03/07/11 22:51 by: Linda

I'm a natural brunette and I have naturally chestnut hair. I actually love it!!! I have red hair in the sun and in the night I have dark brown with a hint of red! Best of both worlds. But even though I LOVE red hair, I prefer dark brown, it makes me feel natural.
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Posted on 28/08/11 08:43 by: Tom

I just wanted to say, I am one of the 5%, I love redheads! They're sexy, exciting and rare. Blondes and brunettes are great too, but I think the woman I settle down with will probably be a redhead.
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Posted on 06/10/11 17:06 by: Shane

The answer is simple: redheads are better. But a box of hair dye isn't gonna change who you are.
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Posted on 20/12/12 01:47 by: Holly

I'm a natural brunette and i think that nobody should judge each other just about their hair colour. I mean seriously even tho there have been rumors about how horrible blonds are or how mean and judgmental brunettes can be there are some great people out there in the world and maybe some blonds hate brunettes and maybe there are some brunettes that hate blonds but they should just suck it up and stop being mean to each other because it doesn't matter what hair colour you have and if i could make any wish it would be world peace because I'm sick of my school having to go to bulling assemblies about calling each other names and judging people and hurting each other because its just not worth it and if any of you out there did any of this your just proving to people that your a bad person and if any of you think that I'm making a huge deal about this its because it is a huge deal and if you think I'm being a sissy well than go ahead and prove yourself show people the real you and if the real you is a horrible person than that's your fault.
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Posted on 20/12/12 22:31 by: Holly

I'm a natural brunette and i think girls with brown hair have more fun because most of my friends moms have brown hair and are happily married and the rest of my friends moms with blond hair are divorced so I'm pretty much saying that brunettes have a better chance of marriage and that brunettes are smarter than blonds and also some blonds are irresponsible like Britney Spears and ke$ha.
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Posted on 17/01/14 02:46 by: Megan

People say I look better as a blonde, but I'm not a natural blonde.
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