Jun 23 2012 12:00pm

Best Hair Color for a Romance Novel Hero?

Outlander by Diana GabaldonIn the past, Heroes and Heartbreakers has covered why Ladies Do Not Prefer Blonds (as Romance Heroes), as well as The Ginger Hero: Romance’s Redheaded Stepchild. We haven’t done a post on dark-haired heroes, likely because they are so much more ubiquitous than the other two shades.

“Tall, dark, and handsome” is a common descriptor of what we look for in a man (which, one presumes, is what we look for in a romance hero). But it was interesting for us to see how much passion our commenters brought to the topic, when broached. And honestly, when someone starts saying Jamie Fraser from Outlander, it’s kind of the romance novel equivalent of a last word—you can’t argue with anything having to do with Jamie, can you?

He handed me the basket, and headed for the horse-sheds, sun glinting on his hair as though on a trove of gold and copper coins.

But of course we all have our preferences; let’s discuss!

Winter Garden by Adele AshworthWhich color hair is your absolute favorite for a romance novel hero to have? Do you even have a preference?

We found an example of each type:

Dark Hair:

Adele Ashworth, Winter Garden

His skin, darkly bronzed, gleamed from sweat; his hair, thick and nearly black, fell in waves behind his ears and down his neck. With one structure perfectly proportioned in hard, set angles, his clean-shaven face drew attention to a deep, two-inch scar running vertically just to the right of his harsh, well-defined mouth. He looked like a warrior, sleek and untamed, sending signals of rugged masculinity as finely tuned as a concert piano.

Blond Hair:

J. R. Ward, Lover Eternal

The son of a bitch actually bent the laws of physics, he was so attractive. Blond hair was cut short in the back and left longer in the front. Teal-blue eyes were the color of Bahamas seawater. And that face made Brad Pitt look like a candidate for The Swan.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. JamesRed Hair:

E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark-copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me schrewdly.

Please share your thoughts about this colorful topic in comments.



Megan Frampton is the Community Manager, Romance, for the HeroesandHeartbreakers site. Her favorite hair color for romance novel heroes is pitch-black, but in real life, she married a blond. You can find her at Twitter @meganf, or on her website,

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Allison Brennan
1. Allison_Brennan
I think all my heroes (15 or 16) have had brown to black hair, except three -- one with sunstreaked blond hair, one with dark blond, and one with light brown/red.
2. Xhennia
All colors is fine for me, but recently i crave for a redhead :) *why is march 2013 took so long??
Glass Slipper
3. GlassSlipper
Long, black/dark hair is my favorite. Mickey O'Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt's Scandalous Desires was dreamy. He even had curls!

I'll also take it combed into a pompadour, because Terrible from Downside wouldn't look right any other way. ;)

I have to say, though, I have a fairly new love for redheads. I think Toby Stephens started it all for me when he was cast as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. My absolute favorite redhead, though, is Newton Faulkner. Has anyone seen his long, ginger dreadlocks? And his voice!
Vanessa Ouadi
4. Lafka
I'm quite prejudiced for dark haired heroes, I'm afraid. I'm a bit taken aback when the hero's hair are described with such terms as "golden locks", or "copper highlights"...
I don't appreciate less the book even so, but somehow, while reading, my imagination keeps portraying the hero as dark haired and I'm often surprised when the author reminds me that he is not ;-)
Anna Bowling
5. AnnaBowling
Absolutely no preference here. Whatever suits the character is fine with me, but it is nice to see some variety.
6. HEAwanted
I have to admit to a preference for dark/black hair (especially with blue eyes like J.D. Robb's Roarke). However Christine Feehan's Nicolai DeMarco, in Lair of the Lion, also sounds intriguing. "His hair was thick and oddly colored. Tawny, almost golden, it framed his face and fell below his shoulders, where it darkened to appear as black and shiny as a raven's wing."
7. Janga
I don't have a preference for the hero's hair color, but it does drive me nuts when the hero in the book clearly is a blond or a red-head and yet is still tall, dark, and handsome on the book's cover.
Valerie Bowman
8. ValerieBowman
Close-cropped dark brown or slightly curly black are my favorites! I have to force myself to write blonds I'm afraid. TDH = Tall, dark, handsome. The end.
9. NatLL
I have to say that I do like darker hair, but what I am more interested in is hair length. Particularly, I love long hair. Not crazy-down-to-his-bum, but just past the shoulder is great. Add in loose curls or waves, I am hooked!
10. PM Kavanaugh
Like HEAwanted above, I love the hero with dark hair and blue eyes -- like Roarke in JD Robb's series, Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester and Pierce Brosnan, as Remington Steele and James Bond. BUT, my current Northern Italian hero has dark-blonde hair and dark brown eyes, a nod to my gorgeous college-level Italian teacher. There was a reason I LOVED my Italian classes -- all 3 years of them, despite my pursuit of a degree in business.
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