A new study claims that gentlemen really do prefer blondes, but does hair colour make that much of a difference? Our experts explain why blondes really do have more fun.
Marilyn Monroe or Doris Day, Cameron Diaz or Charlize Theron - Hollywood loves a gal with golden locks.
A beautiful mane of blonde hair oozes glamour and sex appeal. It's feminine, seductive and carefree - hence the legendary quip 'blondes have more fun'.
But can a bottle of peroxide really hold the secret to achieving the best out of life? Does a Jackie really need to become a Marilyn to find her perfect love match - or get ahead at work?
According to latest research, bleaching hair does wonders for a woman's self confidence. Lighter locks make women feel significantly more confident, impulsive, sexually exciting and attractive.
Dr Mark Sergeant, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University, has been investigating how women feel about colouring their hair.
"We looked at how they felt before and after dyeing their hair, and how it influenced a variety of behaviours," he explains.
"The blonde hair factor came about because it was the most commonly chosen colour. Women were saying that men often thought blondes were better looking, more bubbly and exciting. In the same way that a lot of men see redheads as being passionate and very emotional."
It seems there's more to picking up a packet of dye than just vanity.
"Dyeing their hair gives women a chance to reinvent themselves and to put on a new persona," Sergeant says.
"Pretty much every woman said that men were universally bad at picking up changes in their appearance.
"They didn't notice a new hair cut, outfit or shoes. But the thing that men did pick up on really easily was a change in hair colour. It's something so significant. A lot of women were going from brunette to blonde because they knew it would get themselves noticed!"
Transforming yourself into a blonde bombshell is not only guaranteed to turn heads, but it could also improve your sex life.
"After dying their hair women said they felt more sexually attractive," says Sergeant
"They were far more likely to initiate sex with their partner, experiment with something naughty in the bedroom and to ask someone out on a date."
According to experts, women have the natural inclination to act in that way, but dyeing their hair gave them the confidence to do so.
:: COLOUR CONFIDENCE
The motivation for women to dye their hair varies enormously depending on age.
Younger women like to keep up with celebrities and fashion trends, whereas a lot of older women dye their hair to cover up the signs of ageing.
"The change in levels of confidence and women finding themselves more attractive [after dyeing their hair] was huge," Sergeant says.
"Buying a new pair of designer jeans or shoes could make someone feel a little more confident. But in the case of dyeing their hair, it seemed to make women feel a whole lot more confident."
In addition to the romantic aspect, being blonde could also improve your career and job prospects.
"Workplace relationships were significantly altered," Sergeant says.
"Women who coloured their hair said they were far more likely to challenge their boss or request an extension on a project. They would also do things they wouldn't normally consider like asking for a pay rise, promotion or time off work."
Most women start experimenting with hair dye at the age of 20 and will try an average of four shades during their lifetime.
According to statistics, red is the tone which most women test out first, but the colour they stick to the least. Light and dark blonde are the most popular colours followed by chestnut and dark brown. Black is the least popular.
:: IT'S IN THE GENES
Jena Pincott, author of Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? is convinced men's preference for blondes is down to genetics.
"Modern men are attracted to blonde hair for the same reason as their cavemen counterparts: it's eye-catching," she says.
"The human eye is attracted to light, bright colours, so blondes stand out more than brunettes and even redheads.
"As singer Deborah Harry of the group Blondie put it, 'As a colour it's like walking around with your own spotlight. Men can't help but notice'."
Whether you choose to go honey blonde, light ash or pure peroxide, the results are sure to be flattering. And as every model and celebrity knows, a few strips of strategically placed foils can take years off.
"According to a study by Polish psychologists, men clearly prefer blondes when judging the appearance of women older than 25, with the likely reason that blonde hair, or even just blonde highlights, is 'rejuvenating'," Pincott says.
"For some complexions, fair hair minimises lines and wrinkles and brightens faces, whereas dark hair can have the opposite effect.
"Moreover, Western media love blondes. The blonde is perceived as sexy, seductive and capable of having more fun. She's Marilyn Monroe, Barbie, Paris Hilton, Scarlett Johansson, or Cameron Diaz."
But husband-hunting brunettes may want to think twice before making that hair appointment and reaching for the bleach. Several studies suggest that men ultimately seek darker-haired women as wives.
"Another factor in men's hair colour preference is sexual imprinting, the bias for a mate who resembles one's parents," Pincott explains.
"A man with a dark-haired mother might be more likely to choose a brunette for a long-term relationship."
FIVE GREAT DYE JOBS
:: Kylie Minogue
:: Heidi Klum
:: Kate Moss
:: Jessica Simpson
:: Lindsay Lohan
FIVE NATURAL BLONDES
:: Claudia Schiffer
:: Cameron Diaz
:: Sharon Stone
:: Reese Witherspoon
:: Charlize Theron
:: Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? by Jena Pincott is published by Bantam Press, RRP$39.95.