Psychological Studies

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 369–375 | Cite as

Hair Color and Courtship: Blond Women Received More Courtship Solicitations and Redhead Men Received More Refusals

  • Nicolas GuéguenEmail author
Research in Progress


Previous research on the effect of hair color on people’s evaluation and behavior has revealed discrepant results and the real effect of both male and female hair color on their mating attractiveness has never been tested. In Study 1, female confederates wearing blond, brown, black or red colored wigs were observed while sitting in a nightclub. In Study 2, male confederates wearing different colored wigs asked women in a nightclub for a dance. It was found that blond women were more frequently approached by men whereas blond males did not receive more acceptances to their requests. However, in both conditions, red hair was associated with less attractiveness. Evolutionary theory and differences in mating preferences are used to explain the blond hair effect. Scarcity of red-haired individuals in the population and negative stereotypes associated with red hair are used to explain the negative effect of red hair.


Hair color Blonds Attractiveness Courtship behavior 


  1. Ayton, P. (2005). How do men feel about women’s hair colour? A survey of male attitudes and reactions to women’s hair. London: Unpublished manuscript, City University.Google Scholar
  2. Bozon, M., & Héran, F. (2006). La formation du couple. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  3. Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Clayson, D. E., & Maughan, M. R. C. (1986). Redheads and blondes: stereotypic images. Psychological Reports, 59, 811–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunn, M. J., & Searle, R. (2010). Effect of manipulated prestige-car ownership on both sex attractiveness ratings. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 69–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Feinman, S., & Gill, G. W. (1978). Sex differences in physical attractiveness preferences. Journal of Social Psychology, 105, 43–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Frost, P. (2006). European hair and eye color—A case of frequency-dependent sexual selection? Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 85–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gray, J. (2008). Human hair. In A. J. McMichael & M. K. Hordinsky (Eds.), Hair and scalp diseases: Medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatments (pp. 1–19). London: Taylor and Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Guéguen, N. (2007a). Bust size and hitchhiking: a field study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105, 1294–1298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Guéguen, N. (2007b). Psychologie de la seduction. Paris: Dunod.Google Scholar
  12. Guéguen, N. (2009). Menstrual cycle phases and female receptivity to a courtship solicitation: an evaluation in a night-club. Evolution & Human Behavior, 30, 351–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guéguen, N., & Lamy, L. (2009). Hitchhiking women’s hair color. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 109, 941–948.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heckert, D. M., & Best, A. (1997). Ugly duckling to swan: labeling theory and the stigmatization of red hair. Symbolic Interaction, 20, 365–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jacob, C., Guéguen, N., Boulbry, G., & Ardicioni, R. (2009). Waitresses’ facial cosmetics and tipping: a field experiment. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29, 188–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Juni, S., & Roth, M. R. (1985). The influence of hair color on soliciting help. Social Behavior and Personality, 13, 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kenrick, D. T., Groth, G. E., Trost, M. R., & Sadalla, E. K. (1993). Integrating evolutionary and social exchange perspectives on relationships: effects of gender, self-appraisal, and involvement level on mate selection criteria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 951–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Long, D., Mueller, J., Wyers, R., Khong, V., & Jones, B. (1996). Effects of gender and dress on helping behavior. Psychological Reports., 78, 987–994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lynn, M. (2009). Determinants and consequences of female attractiveness and sexiness: realistic tests with restaurant waitresses. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 737–745.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Manning, J. T., Scutt, D., Whitehouse, G. H., & Leinster, S. J. (1997). Breast asymmetry and phenotypic quality in women. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18, 223–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Matz, D. C., & Hinsz, V. B. (2000). Many gentlemen do not prefer blonds: perceptions of, and preferences for, women’s hair color. Paper presented at the 1st meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Nashville, Tennessee, February 3–6, 2000.Google Scholar
  22. Mermet, G. (2010). Francoscopie. Paris: Larousse.Google Scholar
  23. Millsted, R., & Frith, H. (2003). Being large-breasted: women negotiating embodiment. Women's Studies International Forum, 26, 455–465.Google Scholar
  24. Price, M. K. (2008). Fund-raising success and a solicitor’s beauty capital: do blondes raise more funds? Economics Letters, 100, 351–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shackelford, T. K., Schmitt, D. P., & Buss, D. M. (2005). Universal dimensions of human mate preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 447–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Swami, V., Furnham, A., & Joshi, K. (2008). The influence of skin tone, hair length, and hair colour on ratings of women’s physical attractiveness, health, and fertility. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49, 429–437.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Swami, V., Rozmus-Wrzesinska, M., Voracek, M., Haubner, T., Danel, D., Pawłowski, B., et al. (2008). The influence of skin tone, body weight and hair colour on perceptions of women’s attractiveness, health and fertility: a cross-cultural investigation. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 321–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Takeda, M. B., Helms, M. M., & Romanova, N. (2006). Hair color stereotyping and CEO selection in the United Kingdom. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 13, 85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Management de Bretagne-SudUniversité de Bretagne-SudVannesFrance

Personalised recommendations