CHERYL Cole has been voted Hair Icon of 2011 in a new survey, fighting off competition from the likes of Rihanna and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The 28-year-old also beat actress Kate Winslet and pop star Beyonce in the poll of 5,000 women, as having the locks that most would like to emulate. Cheryl victory comes despite her use of hair extensions - most notably in a controversial 2009 L'Oreal advert in which she claimed a new shampoo had revived her 'weak, limp, lifeless' hair.

Earlier this year she was also criticised for her appearance during her short-lived stint on the US X Factor - when she arrived at the auditions sporting a voluminous 70s style hairdo. She opted for a change of image after being dumped from the show after just four days of filming - and appeared on her 28th birthday in June sporting newly-dyed blonde hair.

The survey also revealed that Cheryl is not the only person who has changed their hair colour in 2011. According to the results a quarter of women decided to colour their locks a lighter shade, while 21 per cent chose to turn their tresses darker.                                             –Metro