Created By: 313Bluestreak on December 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Jess0312 on June 25, 2016

Short Hair Equals Maturity

A character has shorter hair as he becomes older.

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Trope
You have a character whose age range may be from preteen to young adulthood, and because of this, he has a long set of hair. He's may be seen as quite handsome or even badass. As the series progresses, he has become older and more mature. Another difference is that his hair is shorter than it was last time. Perhaps he got tired of it or maybe he's aging up a bit. If the hero doesn't mind having shorter hair, then that's his business.

This also applies to females if they are suddenly tired of their long hair. Younger female characters have long, flowing locks and it tends to be a sign of maturity for them to have it either cut shorter or tied upwards (in a more professional fashion). This is often why we normally see females, usually middle-aged women, are seen with their short hair.

This is often Truth in Television. For a certain reason why this happens to people is often a reflection of fashion. Long hair was fashionable for men from the late '60s through the '80s. If the character grew up during that time period, he would naturally have long hair when he was younger and abandon it when it fell out of fashion in the '90s.

An offscreen Time Skip version of Important Haircut. A subtrope to Expository Hairstyle Change

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Inverted in the Lyrical Nanoha series, where both Teana and Hayate grow their hair longer as their powers and responsibilities grow.
  • In Eureka Seven, after a meaningful talk with Eureka, Talho decides to finally grow up. Not only does she cuts her hair short, she gets rid of her Fanservice for a more sensible attire to reflect her new maturity.

Film
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel cutting her hair represents her completely abandoning her life in the tower and becoming her own person (oh, and saving Flynn's life, too.)
  • White Oleander: Astrid chops her hair to shoulder-length. It's a metaphor for her loss of innocence and growing up.

Live-Action TV
  • On Bones when Zak Addy was about to get his doctorate, Cam tells him that he can't work there as an employee because she couldn't present him as an expert witness due to the way he presents himself (longish shaggy hair and baggy clothes). He goes to Angela for a makeover, which basically consists of a haircut and a new suit.
  • Captain Jean-Luc Picard came aboard the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation with very little hair to begin with, which diminished steadily as he grew more comfortable with the captaincy. Conversely, Commander Ryker began with clean-shaven boyish charm, growing steadily more serious as he Grew the Beard, literally.
  • NCIS: Gibbs' hair has become shorter and shorter over the course of the series; and the only recurring female character that has had short hair is Jenny, the oldest of the women.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Gabrielle cut her hair short. She used to have long fair, but then she had short boyish haircut even though it looked odd for the time period: Greek mythology times.

Professional Wrestling

Western Animation
  • In Young Justice, the fact that M'gann's hair has become significantly shorter is one of the first clues that a Time Skip has occured and that she is no longer The Cutie. Less obvious, but Artemis's hair also becomes shorter in this time period.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • December 20, 2012
    Random888
    This could just be a reflection of fashion. After all, long hair was fashionable for men from the late '60s through the '80s. If the character grew up during that time period, he would naturally have long hair when he was younger and abandon it when it fell out of fashion in the '90s.
  • December 20, 2012
    Larkmarn
    I support this trope. But I think that it applies even more to females, honestly. Younger female characters have long, flowing locks and it tends to be a sign of maturity for them to have it either cut shorter or tied upwards (in a more professional fashion).

    Obviously needs a lot of work, but definitely a trope. Improve the description (and get some examples, but I can think of quite a few off the top of my head) and I'll definitely support it.

    You should make mention that it's basically an off-screen, time-skip Important Haircut.
  • December 20, 2012
    surgoshan
    Someone else suggested a similar trope, mostly for moms in anime.

    Part of it is just that longer hair takes more time and effort to upkeep.
  • December 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    On Bones when Zak Addy was about to get his doctorate, Cam tells him that he can't work there as an employee because she couldn't present him as an expert witness due to the way he presents himself (longish shaggy hair and baggy clothes). He goes to Angela for a makeover, which basically consists of a haircut and a new suit.
  • December 21, 2012
    CompletelyDifferent
    • In Young Justice, the fact that M'gann's hair has become significantly shorter is one of the first clues that a Time Skip has occured and that she is no longer The Cutie. Less obvious, but Artemis's hair also becomes shorter in this time period.
    • In Tangled, Rapunzel cutting her hair represents her completely abandoning her life in the tower and becoming her own person (oh, and saving Flynn's life, too.)
  • February 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Live Television
    • Captain Jean-Luc Picard came aboard the Enterprise from [1] with very little hair to begin with, which diminished steadily as he grew more comfortable with the captaincy. Conversely, Commander Ryker began with clean-shaven boyish charm, growing steadily more serious as he Grew The Beard, literally.
  • February 20, 2013
    Koveras
    • Inverted in the Lyrical Nanoha series, where both Teana and Hayate grow their hair longer as their powers and responsibilities grow.
  • February 20, 2013
    Oof
    This trope definitely applies more to women than it does to men, if only because men tend to keep their hair short throughout their lives and the difference isn't that noticeable.

    • Any movie or television series with a military setting involving young recruits probably applies. They can enter the military because they're finally "of age", and the haircut can be seen as a metaphor for this.
    • NCIS: Gibbs' hair has become shorter and shorter over the course of the series; and the only recurring female character that has had short hair is Jenny, the oldest of the women.
    • White Oleander: Astrid chops her hair to shoulder-length. It's a metaphor for her loss of innocence and growing up.
  • February 21, 2013
    XFllo
    Live Action TV
    • Xena: Gabrielle cut her hair short. She used to have long fair, but then she had short boyish haircut even though it looked odd for the time period: Greek mythology times.

    (I only saw very few Xena episodes so feel free to adjust the example. I'm not sure it's entirely accurate. But I think the implication was that it was a meaningful part of her action girl make-over.)
  • February 21, 2013
    XFllo
    What? What is with the Star Trek TNG example? It doesn't seem to fit at all. Captain Picard was bold from the beginning, and growiing the beard could be some sort of playing with this trope, though hair and facial hair are not quite the same, or are they?
  • February 21, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    Don't we already have Expository Hairstyle Change?
  • February 21, 2013
    Oof
    Good point. Expository Hairstyle Change covers this trope.
  • September 17, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Actually, I'm thinking inversions. Hair grows longer as the character grows older. This was the case on As Told By Ginger where the characters had longer hair in the final season, and it was also the case in Invader Zim, where a series of flash-forwards showed Dib's hair getting bigger and bigger with passing years.
  • September 17, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Isn't "Hair grows longer as the character grows older" pretty much expected already? :P

    Anyways does this count? I guess a flashback or prequel is fine too...
    • Final Fight 3 (which chronologically is a prequel) shows Haggar in his younger wrestling days, having his very long hair tidily tied down. As he becomes a Mayor, he cuts the hair, leaving him with the slicked-back hair more iconic to his design.
  • September 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Arrow: Oliver Queen had a quasi-Beiber moptop before he got stranded on a deserted island for 5 years. Naturally while he was on the island he didn't have opportunity for a haircut, but once he got rescued he traded in the bowl for a more mature look.
  • September 12, 2015
    Pichu-kun
    I remember making a similar YKTTW once. I don't think we have this trope.

  • September 12, 2015
    Exxolon
    Deep Space Nine: Sisko's hair was pretty short to start with but he eventually shaved it completely and grew a Badass Beard. The only reason he had hair to start with was to differentiate Avery Brooks' appearance from Patrick Stewart and his previous role of Hawk in Spenser For Hire.
  • September 12, 2015
    eroock
    Here an earlier stub Used To Have Short Hair in Their Youth.

    As stated in there I believe this trope is too generalizing. The anti-thesis is also true, that short hair is used for characters in younger years. It may depend on the time the flashback is set in.
  • February 10, 2016
    skidoo23
    The character of Clara Oswald on Doctor Who is an example of this trope. She adopted a shorter hairstyle in her final season and with it she was depicted as far more mature than she was in previous seasons. Even her voice got deeper. There is some debate over whether the show snuck in some sort of time jump, but if this trope does get made active, this is a good example to use.
  • February 10, 2016
    GiorgioDaneri
    Discussed in the 90's anime of Sailor Moon and inverted in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. In the anime, Minako suggested cutting Usagi's Rapunzel Hair as one of her many ideas for changing her friend's appearance. Minako explicitly stated that having short hair would make her look more mature. In the manga and crystal, however, Usagi's hair grew past her heels when she was revealed to be the Princess of the moon. Apparently as she was maturing into a responsible fighter, her hair changed to reflect her origins as the magical princess serenity.
  • February 10, 2016
    DAN004
    One Piece: In the flashbacks when Doflamingo is still 26 years old, his hair is slightly longer and spikier than his hair currently (just short and bushy).
  • February 10, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Fan Works
    • Inverted in a lot of fan art for characters. You'd be hard pressed to find adult art of Amy from Sonic The Hedgehog or Misty from Pokemon (though teenage art often uses her design from Pokemon Gold And Silver) with short hair. Sakura from Naruto was frequently depicted with long hair as an adult but the manga jossed that and fan-artists stopped drawing her like that.
  • June 20, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ there, for fanarts especially, longer hair represents growth. While anywhere else, shorter hair represents maturity.

    Don't confuse the two! ;)
  • June 20, 2016
    Waddle
    • The Legend Of Korra's titular character changed her hairstyle from a ponytail to short hair during the Time Skip leading to the fourth and final season of the show. This Time Skip was a hard time of for her, as she left her friends to questioned herself and her status of Avatar after a traumatic event that left her crippled in the previous season, eventually finding peace with herself and maturing from her cocky and Hot Blooded past self. It also had a practical sense, to remain anonymous.
  • June 20, 2016
    WhirlRX
    In Eureka Seven, after a meaningful talk with Eureka, Talho decides to finally grow up. Not only does she cuts her hair short, she gets rid of her Fanservice for a more sensible attire to reflect her new maturity.
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