Top of the Crops: Cheryl Cole voted hair icon for 2011… beating Kate Winslet, Rihanna and Beyonce

By Liz Thomas

Hair she is: Cheryl Cole has won as been voted Britain's hair icon for 2011 with thousands envious of her thick, full locks

She has gone from brunette and bouffant to blonde and sassy but whatever Cheryl Cole does with it, the nation’s women love her hair.

The 28-year-old has been voted Britain’s hair icon for 2011 with thousands envious of her thick, full locks.

The star beat the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Winslet, and singers Rihanna and Beyonce to top the poll, which was voted for by 5,000 women in the UK.

Despite accusations of “fakery” in the controversial L’Oreal adverts because she regularly used hair extensions, Miss Cole’s tresses are the ones most British women want to emulate.

The singer and beauty brand L’Oreal came under fire in 2009 when proclaiming a new shampoo’s ability to revive her “weak, limp, lifeless” hair in a series of television adverts, even though she was using extensions.

This year she was criticised for her look on American version of The X Factor, from which she was axed after just four days work and replaced by singer Nicole Scherzinger.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: The former Girls Aloud singer has a contract with L'Oreal

Miss Cole adopted a bouffant, voluminous 70s style that prompted critics to call for her to sack the stylist.

The singer took some months off after the humiliation of being dropped from the show, but emerged on her 28th birthday in June showing of sleek blonde locks.

The star has told how she feels sexier than ever now she has put on weight.

Beaten: Rihanna came after Cheryl Cole in the poll

Miss Cole shrunk to size six after battling malaria but is now around a size eight.

She said in a recent interview: ‘The curves are back, well and truly. I’ve got my boobs and bum back and, yeah, I like it. I think it’s sexy.

‘When I’m really thin is normally when I am working non-stop. I don’t put any emphasis on thinking, ‘Oh, I’m thin at the moment.’

‘Right now I’ve got my curves back because I’ve had time off, I’m at home cooking, I’m more relaxed. I’m not defined by being seven pounds heavier than I was two months ago - I think it is really unhealthy to go there.’

The survey by hair loss treatment MediGro also found that a quarter of the nation have dyed their hair lighter this year, while 21 per cent have opted for a darker style.

One third of the nation’s women regularly use straighteners and a 26 per cent now use dry shampoo to maintain their look.

The survey found that women spend as much as 45 minutes styling their hair daily, equating to 273 hours a year.

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