Smiling brunette woman, with curly long hair, wearing in white sweater, sitting at the table and reading a magazine with cup of coffee and smart phone, in cafe with wooden walls, waist up
Image: Shutterstock/Veles Studio

Chances are, you’ve heard all the stereotypes surrounding hair colors, both positive and negative. Blondes are ditzy, but have more fun. Brunettes are wallflowers, but are also more serious-minded and intelligent. People with black hair are exotic. Redheads have a fiery temper. And on and on. The internet is even chockfull of quizzes telling you which hair color matches your personality.

In real life, this is all just plain oversimplification. The ruling trait of all people with black hair isn’t going to be boiled down to “exotic.” Just like not every blonde is a dimwit, not every brunette is serious and not every redhead is feisty. People are more complex than that.

And scientifically, researchers have found that hair color has no correlation whatsoever to personality or intelligence. Scientists found that changing a single “letter” in DNA caused mice to be born with blonde fur, almost like flipping a “blonde switch.” This had no effect on the brain in any way, meaning that hair color does not magically make you dumber or smarter, much less affect your personality.

That being said, there’s no denying certain hair colors have deep, ingrained associations in our culture, even if we as a culture are the ones to cement them. One need only look at the iconic “blonde bombshell” Marilyn Monroe, star of the 1953 movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” to know that. Though Monroe was rumored to have a 168 IQ and was extremely fond of literature, making even that iconic image a shaky example of hair color predicating personality in any realistic sense. But in the movies, she played to our stereotype of the dumb blonde and she played it well. And she’s still plastered on dude-bro merchandise more than 50 years after her death.

It’s also no secret that hair color influences the way people view you. Elle reported that a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology stated that when men look at women, they find brunettes approachable, blondes needy and redheads haughty. Not exactly polite, but that’s science for you.

All in all, it’s not about assuming that a hair color is tied to a literal personality, but just understanding what the color represents. On a positive scale:

  • Blonde hair represents fun, flirtatiousness, innocence, youth and outgoing qualities.
  • Brunette hair denotes intelligence, level-headedness, stability and a great sense of judgment.
  • Black hair represents a complex, mysterious, deep and cultured aura.
  • Red hair represents a sense of adventure, daring, unconventionality, a strong-will, passion and all-around boldness.

So when looking at a new hair color, take the positive traits you’d like to embody right now and work from there.