Current Psychology

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 136-149

First online:

The Intermingling of Social and Evolutionary Psychology Influences on Hair Color Preferences

  • Verlin B. HinszAffiliated withNorth Dakota State UniversityDepartment of Psychology, North Dakota State University Email author 
  • , Casey J. StoesserAffiliated withNorth Dakota State University
  • , David C. MatzAffiliated withAugsburg College

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Hypotheses were tested as explanations for why men and women have specific hair color preferences for mates. Traditional evolutionary psychology approaches suggest that men should prefer light hair on women because it signals youth and health, while women should desire dark hair on men because it signals maturity and stability. Repeated exposure predicts people prefer the hair color on mates they are exposed to most frequently. Uniqueness implies that men and women should desire the least prevalent hair colors on potential mates because of its scarcity and rarity. Findings primarily support traditional evolutionary psychology predictions and occasionally the repeated exposure hypothesis, but not uniqueness predictions. Sex and regional differences indicate that social and evolutionary processes combine to influence hair color preferences.


Repeated exposure Uniqueness Evolutionary psychology Hair color preferences Sex differences Regional differences Mate preferences