Created By: MarqFJA on July 22, 2011 Last Edited By: Telcontar on March 18, 2012
Troped

Kaleidoscope Hair

A character's hair changes color repeatedly.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Successfully launched on the 18th March 2012.

Image caption:
Idiot Hair: Rainbow Edition

Hair Colors are an easy way to distinguish one perosn from a person at a glance. At times, it might drive a person to dye or even bleach their own hair to change its color (blonde is a common goal, due to the stereotypes of it being more glamorous). But some people aren't satisified with just one hair color. Oh no. Their hair has to keep changing color frequently. The new shade can be common, implausible, or even outright impossible. The changes must happen a number of times, and they may be justified by use of hair dye, or any sort of Applied Phlebotinum -- up to and including actual magic (though it's not necessarily a case of Magic Hair). It doesn't even have to happen to real hair, so characters who constantly swap wig colors come under this trope.

The color changes may pass without comment from others in the work, or drive someone up a wall trying to figure things out. Sometimes, even the subject of the changes might not appear to notice or care; in other cases, they might be pleased. The changes can be accompanied by a makeover, but this is less likely if they take place regularly or are a result of mood swings. Hilarity can ensue if the character hates what happens to their hair while being powerless to stop it.

This trope can occur in any medium, but some are more common than others (e.g. video game examples are near non-existant). Naturally, this includes real life, though due to the effects of repeated dying [[hottip:*:that is, hair becoming rough, bleached, falling out, loosing oils, breaking, and generally becoming a pain to care for and style,]] most people dont do it. Due to happening many times on a single person, it isnt a type of Expository Hairstyle Change. Usually.

Compare Kaleidoscope Eyes for the same thing in a different place, and Multicolored Hair, which is strictly about hair that is simultaneously of multiple colors/shades. Of course, the two tropes may overlap sometimes. Compare and contrast Power Dyes Your Hair, where the color change only occurs due to a transformative power-up, and Expressive Hair, when the hair changes style.

One of the Common Mary Sue Traits, along with being a way to give someone a Distinctive Appearance. See also Locked into Strangeness, for permanent hair colour changes. May be a result of someone just wanting to be special or Anime Hair (where it can overlap with You Gotta Have Blue Hair).

Examples

Comic Books
  • Delirium from The Sandman; her hair color changes depending on her mood.
  • Ramona Flowers dyes her hair every two weeks. Scott freaks out about it.

Film

Literature
  • Tonks from Harry Potter often changes her hair color; it is usually a shade of bubblegum, but can turn ginger when shes angry, gray for a disguise, or any number of other colors at her every whim. Justified as she is a metamorphmagus.
  • In Warbreaker the Royal Locks, the sign of Idrian royalty, change color according to the owner's mood. It also can be grown out at will.
  • Acheron Parthenopaeus from the Dark-Hunter series can change his hair color at will. So far it's been black, brown, green, purple, platinum silver, black with red streaks, among others. Justified, since he is an Atlantean god.

Live-Action TV
  • Beka from Andromeda has nanomachines that can change her hair to any colour she wants.
  • Mrs Slocumbe from Are You Being Served? wears wigs, but every one is a different color.
  • Enforced in The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis. Dobie's actor (Dwayne Hickman) was made to dye his hair blonde in order to distance him from a previous role. When the show was well established, he was allowed to return to his natural brown hair color; however, at times he had to go blonde again.

Music

Webcomic
  • This happens to Nanase (whose hair turns black when her magic burns out) and Susan (when she goes through an angst-induced awakening) in El Goonish Shive.
  • Ping from MegaTokyo can change her appearance in response to user feedback. The most obvious changes are to her hair. So far, she's had pale grey, hot pink, and turquoise.
  • For a long time, Peejee from Something*Positive would have constantly changing hair, until Randy got tired of changing it.
  • minus's hair changes from strip to strip, ranging from red to blue and green without comment then again, she is omnipotent. It adds to her surreality.
  • Flipside has Crest's wizard girlfriend who can change her hair's color and style based on her emotions.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Not surprisingly, Professor Crazyhair in Yakkity Yak.
  • In Hercules, Hades's hair turns from blue to bright orange whenever he is angry. Since his hair is made of fire, this is justified.
  • Parodied in Perfect Hair Forever Coiffio has a Super Saiyan-esque hairdo that continuously changes colors.
  • Subverted with Roger from American Dad!, who has a collection of wigs that he swaps around for roleplaying. Many of them are different in color.


Indexes: Hair Tropes, Hair Colors, Amazing Technicolor Index, Personal Appearance Tropes.
Community Feedback Replies: 46
  • July 22, 2011
    fluffything
    • Danny Phantom's hair changes from black to white whenever he transforms due to his ghost powers.
      • Likewise, his Opposite Sex Clone, Dani's, hair also changes from black to white.
      • His arch-nemesis, Vlad Masters (Plasmius) has the opposite happen. His normally white/gray hair turns black.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, pretty much any Saiyan's hair turns gold whenever they go Super Saiyan.
    • Hades's hair turns from blue to bright orange whenever he is angry. Though, since his hair is made of fire, this is justified.
  • July 22, 2011
    dalek955
    • In Warbreaker the Royal Locks, the sign of Idrian royalty, change color according to the owner's mood. It also can be grown out at will.
  • July 22, 2011
    KTera
    • Beka from Andromeda has nanomachines that can change her hair to any colour she wants.
  • July 22, 2011
    KamenZero
    Tonks from Harry Potter often changed her hair color. I can't remember if this was some sort of charm, or if she just used regular magic to change the color.
  • July 23, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^ Dude, she's a metamorphmagis. Have you even read/seen Harry Potter? That's like the defining point of her character. And a charm is regular magic.
  • July 23, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    See also: Locked Into Strangeness, for permanent hair colour changes.
  • July 23, 2011
    Octagon8
    I swear we have another YKTTW covering this... I recommend merging.
  • July 23, 2011
    MoG2
    Typical Mary Sue trait.
  • July 23, 2011
    StarryEyed
    • Ping from Megatokyo can change her appearance in response to user feedback. The most obvious changes are to her hair. So far, she's had pale grey, hot pink, and turquoise.
  • July 24, 2011
    MarqFJA
    The Danny Phantom and Dragon Ball Z examples are strictly Power Dyes Your Hair.

    ^^^ Really? I'll have to check.

    ^^ Yeah, that too.
  • July 25, 2011
    KamenZero
    Noir Grimoir: I haven't read Harry Potter since the 7th book, just days after it came out here, so excuse me if my memory is foggy. all I remembered about Tonks was that her hair was different colors every now and then.
  • July 25, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Sorry, It's the same for me, but I just have a really good memory for books. It always confuses me how people can't remember key aspects of characters, not nit-picky dialogue or something, but the obvious, overarching things that define that character. I mean, it's not like it was just said in passing. But sorry for sounding accusatory.
  • July 25, 2011
    Angewomon
  • July 25, 2011
    NocturneByChopin
    Acheron Parthenopaeus from The Dark Hunter Series can change his hair color at will. So far it's been black, brown, green, purple, platinum silver, black with red streaks, among others. Justified, since he is an Atlentean god
  • July 26, 2011
    NESBoy
    Sonika is a Vocaloid example.
  • August 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Would Mrs Slocumbe from Are You Being Served count? She wears wigs, but every one is a different color.
  • August 29, 2011
    MarqFJA
    ^ No, she doesn't.
  • August 29, 2011
    azul120
    Parodied in Perfect Hair Forever.
  • August 29, 2011
    Dracojounin7
    The comic El Goonish Shive, when Nanase's magic burns out and her hair turns black... also when Susan goes through an angst-induced awakening... first the dark blue dye leaves her hair, returning to its normal blonde color... then it turns into legitimate, permanent dark blue.
  • August 29, 2011
    Taeraresh
    Delerium from Sandman might count. Her hair color seems to change depending on her mood.
  • September 2, 2011
    IlGreven
    For a long time, Peejee from Something Positive would have constantly changing hair, until Randy got tired of changing it.
  • February 22, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Violet of Ultraviolet hasn't been mentioned yet? Odd.
  • February 22, 2012
    CrownClown
    In The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, the Marquess made a potion that causes her hair to change color depending on her mood.
  • February 23, 2012
    Dawnwing
    In the Harry Potter example, it's spelled metamorphmagus - with a u toward the end instead of an i.
  • February 23, 2012
    azul120
    • Coiffio from Perfect Hair Forever has a Super Saiyan-esque hairdo that continuously changes colors.
  • February 24, 2012
    Chabal2
    As a gag in Yu Gi Oh Abridged, one episode has the villain's hair change color every single scene he's in.
  • February 24, 2012
    FireWalk
    Is this the same thing as characters who dye their hair different colours as a quirky thing (Such as Ramona from Scott Pilgrim, or the Something Positive example? I'd also say it's different Power Dyes Your Hair,or the creator being messy about their work.

    It's often a sign of a powerfully magical yet whimsical or vain character.
  • March 8, 2012
    Rytex
    I suppose Ramona Flowers could count, but she herself says she dyes it every two weeks or so. Scott freaks out about it.
  • March 15, 2012
    Telcontar
    Right.

    This was tagged Up For Grabs, so I've done an overhaul of the main section. I've added all the examples mentioned and one of my own, and sorted them. The description has been expanded slightly, and I've worked out what indicies to put it on -- did I miss any? I'm happy to adopt this trope for launching and all.

    Is a page image possible? It would have to be a collage, probably from a webcomic.
  • March 15, 2012
    animeg3282
    In The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making The Marquess changes her hair several colors using magic.
  • March 16, 2012
    yogyog
    In Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Clementine frequently re-dyes her hair.
  • March 16, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^^ Already have, but three people have described it as working in three different ways -- mood, a potion, and magic. Which is it?

    ^ Added; thanks.

    At the moment, the main thing to work on is expanding the zero-content examples. I've looked at the trope pages and can't find any extra information on them, so could someone give me more?
  • March 16, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Twilight from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic once evolved into rapidash. changing her main and tail into fire. only happens once though
  • March 16, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^ Not an example as far as I can tell, sorry.

    I've done more on the description, mainly adding character reactions. The hottip works in the wiki, but not here. I hope to put together a (partial) Playing With page soon.
  • March 16, 2012
    MarqFJA
    ... <sheds Manly Tears> You have no idea how long I've spent bumping this draft for some actual feedback on how to improve the description. And you did it all within just a couple of days. Thank you!
  • March 16, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^ Thank-you, too. This is the first YKTTW I've really worked on, since I was never sure how to begin; I can build on a frame, but there has to be something around first. This one looked like a good trope worth the effort. If you want to take it over again, that's fine by me. :-)

    Anyway, a Playing With page. I'm really unsure of how accurate this is, so feedback would be greatly appreciated and very much needed.

    Basic Trope: A character's hair color changes frequently.
    • Straight: Alice's hair changes color often.
    • Exaggerated: Alice's hair never stops changing color, going to something new every few seconds.
      • Alice's hair changes between neon colors and patterns.
    • Downplayed: Every few weeks or months, Alice's hair changes color.
      • Alice's hair changes color regularly, but the difference is almost unnoticeable.
    • Justified: Alice dyes her hair a new color every Saturday.
    • Inverted: Everyone in Alice's world has ever-changing hair color, but Alice's remains constant.
    • Subverted: Alice isn't changing her actual hair color, she is swapping a collection of wigs around.
      • Alice is actually changing which of her many bodies she is using; they are all identical, apart from hair color.
    • Double Subverted: Alice has undyed hair beneath the wigs, except there's only one wig after all, which she was dying; her scalp is too sensitive to use such chemicals.
      • Alice frequently swaps which body she uses, but they do all have the same hair color; in each body, she has to dye her hair to a different hue to make it seem like her hair is changing colors when she switches body.
    • Parodied: ???
    • Deconstructed: Alice's unpredictable hair color means she can't get a job because her employer thinks she's immature.
      • Alice is only recognised by her hair, so when it changes nobody knows who she is.
    • Reconstructed: Alice finds an employer who doesn't care about her quirky hair.
      • People learn to tell who Alice is by other features that don't change.
    • Zig Zagged: ???
    • Averted: Alice has lasting hair color.
    • Enforced: The person illustrating the story keeps running out of paints and isn't good at getting the same hue twice, so Alice's hair changes color.
    • Lampshaded: Alice notices her hair color changing a lot and wonders why it happens.
    • Invoked: Bob sends Alice many shades of hair dye because he doesn't like her current brown hair.
    • Exploited: Bob notices that Alice's hair changes color depending on her mood, and uses this to understand and talk to her better.
    • Defied: Alice doesn't want her hair to change color, and gets a wig and permanent dye to prevent it.
    • Discussed: Bob and Charlie talk about how Alice just got many shades of hair dye and will probably begin dying it a lot soon.
    • Conversed: "In a cheap story like this, a way to make a character more interesting is to give them randomly changing hair colors."
    • Played For Laughs: Alice's hair changes color at the most inappropriate times, with a loud bang.
    • Played For Drama: Alice is desperate to find a way to stop her hair changing color because she feels it is ruining her life.
    • Plotted A Good Waste: ???
  • March 16, 2012
    animeg3282
    The Marquess uses magic to change her hair color. There may be different versions of the story. I read the kindle version, which I assume to be the same as the eventual paper book
  • March 16, 2012
    MarqFJA
    Did a few tweaks to the description for wittiness points. Any help would be appreciated.

    ^^ The Subverted example there is actually more of a Averted example (or Defied, if she specifically rejects the trope's concept). I'd say Subversion of the trope would be revealing that it's a collection of wigs that the character is swapping rather than changing her actual hair's color, or if the character is swapping between multiple otherwise identical bodies with different hair colors. A Double Subversion, on the other hand, would be that after being shown to change hair colors like a straight example, it's suddenly revealed that she's wearing a wig over her undyed hair, implying the aforementioned subversion... but then it's also revealed it's her only wig, which she had been dyeing several times, with the explanation that her hair/scalp is too sensitive/allergic to be dyed.
  • March 16, 2012
    Telcontar
    I've edited one phrase that was slightly reduntant and clumsy, but other than that, it looks good; I have a tendancy towards dictionarying.

    On to subversions, those slippery things... I'll edit this in to my above post if it's right.

    • Subverted: Alice isn't changing her actual hair color, she is swapping a collection of wigs around.
      • Alice is actually changing which of her many bodies she is using; they are all identical, apart from hair color.
    • Double Subverted: Alice has undyed hair beneath the wigs, except there's only one wig after all, which she was dying; her scalp is too sensitive to use such chemicals.
      • Alice frequently swaps which body she uses, but they do all have the same hair color; in each body, she has to dye her hair to a different hue to make it seem like her hair is changin colors when she switches body.
  • March 16, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Flip Side has Crest's wizard gf (forgot her name), who can change her hair's color and style based on her emotions. Though it's more Power Dyes Your Hair.
  • March 17, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^ I'll add it for now, since if the changes are based on mood then it fits, and hopefully Wiki Magic will take care of the name. I've done some poking around and I can't find who it could be.

    Anyway, I think this is ready to launch, and apparrantly at least five others do too. I'm going to wait a little while, though, in hopes of getting more feedback on the Playing With page and the revised subversion section. The examples would be happier with slightly more content in each of them, but most of them have something so that's okay.

    I've put together a collage image from minus, but the caption doesn't display properly in YKTTW; therefore, if you check the Wiki Sandbox at the moment the whole page is in there, where it displys properly. What are some thoughts on it?

    I'm also not going to launch until Marq FJA pokes his head in again, in case he wants to launch it instead. If he isn't here by, say, the 24th then that's forfit. :-P
  • March 17, 2012
    JoeG
    Dobie Gillis repeatedly changed from blond to brunet for no apparent reason.
  • March 17, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^ Added, after some background research. Please remember to provide content and context in examples.

    For Playing With, I've realised my "justified" description isn't right; Alice needs a reason to dye her hair. Can someone think of a good one? The only one I can come up with at the moment is that she has dissocative identity disorder and, say, "Alice" likes brown hair but "Daniel" likes red.
  • March 17, 2012
    MarqFJA
    ^^^ Nah, you can launch it if you want. You did most of the work, after all.

    ^ I'd say Justified Trope would be not about the why, but rather about the how. Your justified example is correct; a straight and unjustified example would simply be the character's hair color frequently changing either between episodes with no apparent explanation, not even a comment like "you/I have dyed your/my hair again". IIRC, it's not as easy as fiction implies to remove an already existent dyed color and then dye the hair again.
  • March 17, 2012
    Telcontar
    ^ Which example – original or "revised"? I think you mean original, so I'll leave that be. I'm editing the subversion bit into my long post now too, for ease of copy-pasting. And thanks.
  • March 17, 2012
    DavidScript
    Roger in American Dad is an example of a subverted variant of this trope. He regularly role-plays and often changes his wigs he collects that, likewise, are different in color.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0anxljdjau74htadmd93ifcc