Psychology of Hair Colors

Girls with different hair colors
Different hair colors - Photo: Depositphotos
Blondes are sexy but dumb, redheads feisty and cannot be trusted, while brunettes are dependable and smart. We all have heard these stereotypes and also worse ones. Deep inside we feel that hair color should not make any difference in how someone is perceived or treated, yet it still happens and are you really free of having any ingrained preconceptions?
In a study of 13,000 women the University of Queensland found out that blondes make 7 percent more money than their darker haired sisters. Which is interesting, since blondes are also the subject of many jokes all expressing that they are not esteemed to be very intelligent.
The Scandinavian Journal of Psychology also conducted two tests of how men react to different hair colors in a clearly defined range of circumstance and over the past years there were several reporters who went blonde for a day to see if they were treated differently.
And the results confirmed it. Blonde women got approached more often by men, they got better tables in restaurants and were considered to be alluring, flirtatious and gentle, yet with a gullible side. Brunettes could not complain about a lack of attention either, however it was clearly less, at the same time they were approached with more friendliness by other women.
Surveys also showed that brunette women were considered to be better in their profession, have more successful careers, better grades in school and are, in general, smarter when it comes to making financial decisions.
The results of all of those studies and tests are very similar, and they do confirm some of the cliches that are out there. Blonde women do in general get more attention and are considered to be more fun and vivacious, but also naive, easy and ditzy.
Brunettes are looked at as more elegant, more sophisticated, trustworthy, stable and dependable, while Redheads get very mixed grades with passionate as the common denominator and feisty, sexy on the good side, bad tempered and insincere on the negative.
The perception of hair color and connected attributes is perhaps as old as civilization. Even in the old Greece the ancient gods were assigned different hair colors and in Caesar's days the women of Rome had ways to dye their hair blonde and when it got too damaged they used wigs. Fair hair then was a sign of nobility. The worst part of the story of blonde occurred in the middle of the 20th century when blonde hair and blue eyes were considered to be the outward feature of a superior race.
Red hair was not high on the wish list for many centuries and got many women in fatal trouble during the times of the inquisition. It happened regularly that red hair and unfortunate events in a village were enough to bring a woman to the pyre. Red as the hair color of the witch has later been used in cartoons and various movies.
Blonde today is the color of the trophy wife, the models, the sexy sirens and also the color of innocence and childlike playfulness. Red, especially since Rita Hayworth, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman stands for luxury, seduction and confidence. Newer movies like “Legally Blonde” have done their share to boost the image of said color, and the stereotypes are slowly changing.
Brunette is perhaps the most neutral color, since black with all of its boldness, still inspires visions of strength, power and lascivious sensuality.
It is still the blondes and the redheads that get the most attention. And the jokes. Both colors in their natural appearance are very rare with blonde counting only about 2 percent of the world's population and red even less with 1 – 2 percent. The tendency is that both colors are about to be extinct.
But despair not, we have chemistry and a multi-billion dollar industry that does its best to kindle our desire to change our hair color whenever we feel the need for a change. Many women have gone through a range of colors in their lives and can perhaps, from their own experience, confirm that different hair colors may indeed result in a different way their peers are treating them.