Men find brunettes more attractive and intelligent than blondes

They say gentlemen prefer blondes – but it seems that only holds true when they are out on the town.

For, while they are more likely to chat up a fair-haired lady on a night out, men actually find brunettes more attractive, a study has shown.

University of Westminster researchers sent a woman to three London nightclubs with her hair dyed brunette, blonde and then red, and watched how many men approached her. 

The dark side: A number of celebrities have traded their blonde locks for brunette in the past year, including 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord

They then returned to the clubs and asked 130 men to rate pictures of her in the three guises.

She was chatted up the most as a blonde. But she was rated most highly for attractiveness and intelligence when brunette, the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology reports.

University of Westminster researcher Viren Swami said that his results may reflect a shift in fashion, with brunettes now being idealised in the way that blondes were several decades ago.

He said: ‘In the Sixties and early Seventies, when Jackie Kennedy was the ideal, brunette hair became the ideal for women generally. Then, in the Seventies and Eighties, blondes became the ideal.

New colour: The famously blonde Louise Redknapp also went brunette recently

‘But more recently, there has been a backlash against blondes and the dumb blonde idea has become dominant.’

As a blonde, the woman was chatted up 60 times in total.  This compared with 42 approaches as a brunette and 18 as a red-head.

Speculating on why the woman, or ‘confederate’ in researcher-speak, was rated more attractive when brunette but chatted up more as a blonde, Dr Swami said: ‘One possible explanation is that men were more likely to assume sexual intent on the part of our confederate when she was blonde.

‘Perceptions of the blonde confederate as being more needy may have reduced men’s fear or rejection or fear or an aggressive response, which increased their likelihood of approaching her as a blonde.’ 

It is also possible that men link blonde hair with youth and vitality, and so the ability to bear children.

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