Created By: DragonQuestZ on February 4, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on September 28, 2014

Cartoon Loose Hair Strand

Loose hair in an otherwise tight hairstyle is significant when in an animated work or comic.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Formerly "Damn Loose Hair Strand". I'm tweaking the title and definition, as all the examples so far have been about things in animation, comics, and CGI.

Works best when they don't stay in place.

In animation, comics, and CGI, it's significant to have a hair style with hair strand(s) flopping around.

This is because hair and fur are usually drawn or rendered in a mass (with increasing exceptions due to advances in CGI tools). Even spiky hair is a mass of spikes, Wild Hair is a mass of wild, and when the hair moves it still moves as mass. Therefore having just one or a few strands moving independently would take some extra work, and thus only happen for a reason.

The reasons could include a simple gag of a hair getting loose, an extended gag of a character going nuts trying to get the hair to stay in place, or as one of the Expository Hairstyles to show there is something different, or even "off", about this character.

This usually happens with perfectly coiffed styles, as a character with a lose style would tend not to care about this. The trope is also unisex, but does seem to happen to ladies more than guys.

Compare Slipknot Ponytail, Hair Antennae, Idiot Hair, No Flow in CGI.

Examples


Community Feedback Replies: 48
  • February 5, 2012
    Twiddler
    • Haley Starshine from ''The Order Of The Stick wears her hair in a ponytail, but has one shorter hair that's always loose and hanging over her forehead. It's lampshaded a couple of times.
  • February 6, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • February 7, 2012
    kyeo
    Superman?
  • February 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ You know, I think that does count.
  • February 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • February 7, 2012
    BearyScary
    How about Rukia's infamous hair strand from Bleach? Also, Urahara has the weird, split-hair strand between his eyes.
  • February 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Not sure about the Urahara, but Rukia's more of a clump of hair than a strand, and it's not "otherwise perfectly neat".

    And on that not, perhaps Superman doesn't count. Well discussing the parameters is part of what ykttw is for.
  • February 9, 2012
    Arivne
    A person with this feature may sometimes try to blow the strand up out of the way with their breath.
  • February 9, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In early episodes of Veronicas Closet, Kirstie Alley's post-Cheers show, Veronica has a habit of doing this constantly. Reviewers at the time said basically, "just get a different hairstyle!"
  • February 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Does Megara in Hercules do this? I think I saw it in the ads (haven't seen the movie).
  • February 9, 2012
    Jhimmibhob
    In the William Faulkner novel Sanctuary, Popeye gets one of these on the scaffold, with his hands tied behind him and his neck in a noose. He tries frantically to blow and shake back the stray lock, until the executioner finally--and brutally--renders his efforts moot.
  • February 9, 2012
    CrypticMirror
    Tiffany in Exiern has a strand of hair that always seems to dangle across her face and get in her way. For some reason, so does her unicorn steed, it is probably best not to ask about that similarity.
  • February 9, 2012
    FencerGirlAH17
    Carth Onasi from Kot OR. It's very, very clear that the rest of his hair is jelled down, and those two really awkward strands fall onto his forehead. Kind of cute, actually.
  • February 10, 2012
    spudwalt
    How about that one time in The Incredibles when Helen (aka Elastigirl/Mrs. Incredible) is sneaking around Syndrome's base and gets caught in the doors. She blows hair out of her eyes in frustration before resuming her efforts to get a key card so she can free herself.
  • February 10, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That likely counts.
  • February 10, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Only if the stray hair is part of her regular do. And I don't think it was.

    (...Or am I reading the title too strictly?)
  • February 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    If it's momentary, it counts, as long as it's still stray on what's supposed to be a styled hairdo.
  • February 12, 2012
    Arivne
    Another common element: Someone who is close to the person (friend, lover, relative etc.) may be shown brushing back the strand as a sign of affection.
  • February 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I think that might count.

    Also, it seems all examples suggested so far fall into animation, which I think is important, as it requires extra drawing (or rendering with CGI) to make the hair visible, and move around consistently.

    Should we limit this to just drawn media?
  • February 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    I decided to do so, as it makes the definition more solid. I tweaked the name and definition.
  • February 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I don't think we really need a four-part picture for this. A four-character montage, perhaps, but a four-panel of Belle is just overkill.
  • February 14, 2012
    troacctid
    ^ I agree
  • February 14, 2012
    TonyG
    The current title suggests that the strand of hair is animated, as in having a life of its own. Maybe calling it Cartoon Loose Hair Strand will make it less ambiguious.
  • February 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ It's to show her brushing it aside, and it coming back the next shot (which I noted in the examples happens quite a few times in the film). I could tweak the caption to reflect that.

    ^ I see what you mean. Do others agree with that name suggestion?
  • February 16, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    A Smoochum in the Pichu Brothers Party Panic anime from the spinoff game Pokemon Channel. She had a loose hair strand at one point, and she stopped to stroke her hair back in place for a moment.
  • February 16, 2012
    nitrokitty
    I hate, hate, hate, clunky multi-part pictures, and this is one of the most egregious examples I've ever seen. Why not go for that shot of Azula zooming in on that one out-of-place strand? As seen here: [1] I own the DV Ds, so I can go back and find a better shot if needed.
  • February 16, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    Victoria, the Betty to Victor's Archie in Corpse Bride, has a Prim And Proper Bun as part of her status as a Proper Lady. When she finds out that Victor's Accidental Marriage to Emily, the Veronica, she frantically tries to enlist her parents and the minister's help in undoing the marriage and at one point during this, she gets a loose strand of hair that seems to reflect her frazzlement.
  • February 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ How's that supposed to be better? It's so zoomed in that we can't even see the rest of her hair, or that it's even one of her own hairs.

    And your reasons against the current one need to be presented better. Word Cruft doesn't make a good argument (I learned that a long time ago).
  • February 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Well if enough prefer a different picture, it would be a good idea to offer alternatives.

    How's this? It shows different scenes where Belle's hair is loose.

    Her hair is as free as her spirit.

  • February 18, 2012
    troacctid
    Redundant. Just one should be enough to show what it looks like, I think.
  • February 18, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    It's not about just seeing the hair alone. This also shows several ways that loose hair can show up. In all 4 pictures it doesn't show up the same way.
  • February 19, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I still think that if we're going to do a montage, it should be different characters. Not just Belle, Belle, Belle, and Belle.
  • February 19, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The reason is that it shows the hair is not static. If it was different characters, it would look like they have hairs sticking out, not that those hairs are flowing. Note that someone tried to put a couple characters from Bleach as examples, even though they merely have some strands of hair in front of their faces, not that the hairs are loose.

    Look at the whole description again. A lot of the point of this trope is the extra animation in having a loose hair (although it's just the first part).
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Is there any particular reason two separate people tried to discard this? Looks okay to me.
  • February 19, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    I'm hoping it was just an accident due to backlog clearing.
  • February 20, 2012
    Catbert
    The thing is, it wasn't one of the people doing backlog clearing.

  • February 20, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    One of them was. The other was just a likely vandal.
  • February 22, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think we already have something like this
  • February 23, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well it wasn't in Hair Tropes last I checked. We have Idiot Hair (doesn't require the hair to move around), Antenna Hair (same thing), Shaking Her Hair Loose (moves the hair in a mass), Hair Flip (also moves in a mass), Princess Curls (which are meant to be that way), and Slipknot Ponytail (which is making the whole hair loose, but for specific reasons).

    So if there is any I missed, I honestly would like to know.
  • February 23, 2012
    littlemissmuffet
    Mulan has a loose strand of hair that's even more noticable than Belle's. It's even included in The Merch. She's seen trying to fix it in the "Bring Honor to Us All" number.
  • February 23, 2012
    troacctid
    I don't see why the hair strand can't be static. Seems like the same trope to me.
  • February 23, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well that would just look like Wild Hair, Antenna Hair, or Idiot Hair. That is unless you mean a carefully done hairstyle that has a hair or a few sticking out.
  • February 24, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Actually, it can't be static. Part of the trope is that it takes extra animation work to show the loose hair strand (thus limiting occurrences to significant reasons), which means there has to be some moment independent of the rest of the hair.
  • February 24, 2012
    hotrods4ben
    Disney's (and probably other companies') animators often copy their voice actors' Character Tics like these.
  • February 24, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    This is part of a Running Gag with Peeply Lulu in One Piece. His neatly combed and jelled hair always has a spike sticking out of it somewhere he doesn't want. Each time he pushes it back in, it pops up somewhere else, up to and including coming out of someone else's nostril, distracting this enemy long enough for him to beat the tar out of.
  • August 19, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Does anyone think this can still work? Or ways to redefine this to something that does?
  • September 28, 2014
    JenBurdoo
    Sister Fidelma has this. As a nun, she wears a veil or hood and a few red hairs always stick out.
  • September 28, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Well, it's not a hair strand per se, however it does get into the character's field of view, and has to be blown aside:

    Western Animation or Film Animated
    • When secretary Sawyer from Cats Dont Dance arrives at the office, she's soaking wet. A feather on her hat droops before her eyes, so Sawyer blows it exasperatedly out of the way.
    • Coupled with the Ears As Hair trope, Lola Bunny from Space Jam cautions Bugs Bunny to never call her "doll." Lola then blows her floppy ears off her face and back into a faux ponytail.
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