IT HAS often been said that blondes have more fun, but now there's even more reason to reach for the bleach.

According to scientists, women who dye their hair are more confident, less inhibited and have better moods than those who remain au naturel.

Those with lightened locks are also more likely to ask someone out, complain at unfair treatment, be more adventurous in the bedroom, ask for a pay rise, or be assertive with friends.

The research, carried out by Mark Sergeant at Nottingham Trent University, involved asking hundreds of women of all ages how they felt before and after dying their hair.

Mark said: "Colouring your hair may seem like an art to most people, but there is actually a lot of science behind it.

"The changes we noted in the study in particular participants' behaviour and psychology were significant.

"Not only were their confidence and mood levels elevated, but also their inhibitions seemed to be mitigated, with many reporting feeling more attractive and sexually exciting," he said.

This would support the "blonde bombshell" theory, with screen stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner enjoying success not least because of their blonde locks.

The younger women in the survey, which was funded by Clairol, said they coloured their hair to get noticed or to re-invent themselves before a big event. Older women turned to the bottle to cover up grey hair and get a confidence boost.

Matthew at Affinity Hair Design in Bournemouth confirmed that at least 60 per cent of the salon's clients wanting a change of colour opt for a lighter shade.

"Most say they want a different look and feel that blonder tones are more lifting and more flattering," he said.

"Now that winter is approaching, cool, whiter blondes are out and warmer blondes are in. Honeys, caramels and minks are perfect for the season. Think Sienna Miller or even Elle McPherson, whose hair looks brown in certain lights but it's actually blonde."

Mark warned that blonde tresses aren't for everyone.

"We have to consider people's existing hair colour and skin tone before they can take the plunge."

Helen A'Court is the owner of A'Courts Hair in Winton.

"In our opinion, blondes are - rightly or wrongly - perceived as having more fun and being more attractive to men," she said.

"Blonde is also associated with sunshine and brightness and that's why I think a lot of people want to be blonde themselves.

"We believe brunettes are absolutely beautiful, while blondes can look more approachable."

She said that this season's shades incorporate coppery, golden tones. Celebs who carry this off well include Jennifer Aniston and Beyonce.

"Our latest colours which are just in this week are from a range called Thriller. They are all about sultry and glamorous women who are also very powerful, street-wise and heroic. The idea goes against the whole dumb blonde stereotype which can only be a good thing."

But Adrian at Studio 56 in Christchurch believes that any change of hair colour or style is enough to give someone a boost.

He said: "When people have their hair done, it immediately makes them feel happier and more confident. I'm sure brunettes would say the same thing.

"It's a case of feeling and being yourself. If you think you might be a blonde trapped in a brunette's body, or are blonde with roots coming through, you are bound to feel better with some highlights."

Contrary to the findings, he said that more clients are coming in to change from blonde to rich warm browns, or at least have softer colours put through very blonde hair.

"Most of my staff have all gone darker, and I noticed a change in them as soon as they had it done. It's like Posh Spice going for the dark crop recently - it's creating that wow factor.

"Whatever colour they are, people want to be noticed. Our job isn't about a particular shade or cut. It's about making people feel good."

  • While working on advertising for Clairol, copywriter Shirley Polykoff is credited with posing the perennial question: Is it true blondes have more fun?