[[quoteright:306:[[Music/BobDylan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bobdylan-messyhair2_333.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:306:"Someone give the anarchist a comb!"]]

Some characters just can't get their hair into a neat and tidy hairstyle. Others can't be bothered. Still others actually like their hair that way. All of them have Messy Hair. This is often used to set the character apart as unusual; it may indicate that they're a nonconformist, that they don't care about their appearance, or that they don't have the means to make themself look presentable. Or just because it looks cool.

Frizzy, tangled hair is also commonly seen on characters who've just woken up (except if WakeupMakeup is in effect), which is TruthInTelevision for most people except those with particularly short haircuts. It often goes away by the next scene change with the assumption that they've run a brush through it offscreen, but might stick around longer if the character sporting Messy Hair is NotAMorningPerson (for such people, [[MustHaveCaffeine coffee seems to be the best conditioner]]).

Long, tangled hair can be seen very frequently on TheOphelia, as part of that archetype's image of eerie, disheveled beauty; even sane, [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} or at least saner]], people might have it, to go with their general theme of unusual looks. Untidy hair, particularly ''dark'' hair, is also one aspect of LooksLikeCesare.

Brilliant but [[BunnyEarsLawyer eccentric]], [[AbsentMindedProfessor absent-minded]], or [[MadScientist downright deranged]] scientists often have EinsteinHair, which is a SubTrope, as is the WildHair found on animalistic or close-to-nature characters and {{Wild Child}}ren. ShonenHair sits at the intersection of this trope and AnimeHair, and is generally found on spirited young men. Messy Hair is also very common on conductors and musicians.

Compare QuirkyCurls and UnkemptBeauty. See also GoodHairEvilHair.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* L's messy hair is another artifact of his [[BunnyEarsLawyer genius eccentricity]] in ''Manga/DeathNote''.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': Ranma Saotome has an enchanted hair ribbon because without it his hair gets really out of control.
* Rakka had constant "Halo-Hair" throughout ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei''.
* ''AxisPowersHetalia'':
** Child!England had notoriously messy hair, and as an adult it doesn't really get any better.
** Greece's messy hair is actually the subject of one strip where he explains to Japan that he doesn't like the rain because it makes his hair curly and frizzy, and Japan gets confused because Greece's hair doesn't look any different from its regular, already-messy state.
* Apollo, the BigBad from the fifth ''SaintSeiya'' movie.
* [[Manga/{{Chobits}} Hideki's]] messy hair is commented on by several characters It's even stated that he looks weird when he tried to comb it for a date.
* [[{{Amagami}} Kaoru Tanamachi]], AKA [[FanNickname Sex Hair]].
* Goku and most other Sayians from the Manga/DragonBall world
* In OniisamaE, "Lady Medusa" Katsuragi gets the "Medusa" nickname due to having very messy hair, which seems to be pretty uncommon in Japan.
* Leo from PandoraHearts. [[spoiler:Until his ImportantHaircut, that is. Though, some of it still sticks out all over the place.]]
* In ''Manga/KOn'', Jun has naturally messy hair that she struggles with every morning to get into place, and, according to her, it "explodes" on her if she removes her barrettes. Because she does care enough to go through it every morning, we don't often see it being messy... unless we see her first thing in the morning, such as in the anime episode where she spends the night at the Hirasawa home while Yui is with her class on a trip, or in ''Manga/KOnHighSchool'' on her own class trip. It's pretty sensitive to humidity, which she claims she can use to predict the weather, and indeed, offers such a prediction upon waking up.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Multiple members of [[ComicBook/TheSandman the Endless]]. Death and Dream have straight hair that sticks out in all directions, Despair's hair is snarled and ratty, and Delirium's is wavy and changes between various flavors of unkempt.
* A FunnyBackgroundEvent in one of {{X-23}}'s early appearances in the ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' books: While Psylocke is casually and expertly braiding her hair preparing for a coming fight, Laura can be seen behind her struggling to emulate her. Once the fighting actually starts it's revealed she failed miserably and settled for a messy ponytail instead. Her hair in general tends to end up messy and out of place since she normally wears it long and loose (apparently she never quite gets the hang of braiding it).
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[[folder:Film]]
* Max, the [[MadMathematician reclusive math genius]] in the movie {{Pi}}.
* Flint Lockwood of ''CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' has wild hair that he has to struggle to get to lie down flat.
* ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''
* [[TomboyPrincess Merida]] from ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}''. Her hair is not a reflection of her sanity or her quirkiness, but rather a consequence of her preferring more physical activities over traditional feminine traits such as taking care of her appearance. [[WordOfGod The creator]] of the character said that [[GirlsNeedRoleModels Merida was designed to give girls a more attainable role model]] and because of that, she was given a MessyHair to show that she has no time and/or interest in looking good.
** Considering that extremely curly hair is difficult to maintain, specially with medieval elements (Anti-Frizz hair products weren't invented) her hair is very realistic and [[JustifiedTrope justified]]
* The Hatter in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland.''
* The (pre-)Headless Horseman in ''Film/SleepyHollow.''
* The Penguin in ''Film/BatmanReturns''.
* ''Film/EdwardScissorhands''
* [[LooksLikeCesare Cesare]] from ''Film/TheCabinetOfDrCaligari'' is one of the [[UrExample earliest portrayals of this trope]] on film
* ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
** [[AuthorAppeal Noticed the above 6 entries are from]] Creator/TimBurton movies?
*** Plus his wife!
* ''Film/HarryPotter'': Bellatrix Lestrange's, Hermione's in the first two and seventh films.
* Aragorn's hair in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' tends to hang over his face in strings. Apparently, combs are not regular Ranger equipment.
** [[FridgeBrilliance It is entirely possible that he keeps his hair like that to make his Númenórean features less noticable]].
* [[TheWoobie Wybie]] and his [[WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}} Other World doppleganger]] both have Messy Hair.
* The killer in ''Film/TheFinalTerror'' has such long and messy hair that it works as an effective camouflage.
* Mort Rainey's hair in ''Film/SecretWindow'' was described in one review as looking as though it was combed with an eggbeater.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''AroundTheWorldInEightyDays'', "[Passepartout's] brown hair was somewhat tumbled; for while the ancient sculptors are said to have known eighteen methods of arranging Minerva's tresses, Passepartout was familiar with but one of dressing his own: three strokes of a large-tooth comb completed his toilet."
* Susan Sto Helit, granddaughter of ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'s'' Death, apparently has supernaturally unmanageable hair as part of her general inherited oddness. On the rare occasions she manages to get it to stay still long enough to style it, she can actually feel it messing itself up again almost immediately.
** In Paul Kidby's artwork, she has a gigantic Bride-of-Frankenstein-toned ''afro''.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', the titular wizard Harry Dresden has hair that remains perpetually unable to be properly shaped. The fact that he doesn't have any mirrors save a small shaving mirror (because lots of ''things'' can use mirrors as gateways) doesn't help.
* The eponymous wizard from ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has hair that won't lie flat no matter what he does. His aunt at one point cut it embarrassingly short but it had grown back by the morning. Hermione, meanwhile, has frizzy, bushy hair which she finds too much trouble to tame except on special occasions. (This hasn't been consistently carried over to the films, however.) And Harry's dad, who had hair just like his, used to mess it up on purpose because he liked looking as though he'd just been flying.
** As to Harry's, interpretations of Rowling's description vary from 'vaguely tousled' to 'record-setting bedhead'
** As to Hermione's there's a lot of TruthInTelevision: Hair like hers takes hours to make it hard to look cared for.
** Luna, who has "scraggly" hair. It's probably naturally curly like Hermione's, but is most likely a lot thinner, so it isn't so much bushy as scraggly. Hermione's hair is long (she has it in a long plait in DH) and extremely thick.
* Door of ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' had tangled hair at first, as part of her general grimy and ragged appearance, but fixed that when she had a chance to bathe properly.
* Mike Donovan from ''Literature/IRobot'' is always described as having perpetually messy hair that rejects all attempts to tame it. It goes with his FieryRedhead personality.
* Miyamoto Musashi (aka Shimmen Takezo) in "Literature/{{Musashi}}" is described as having hair like "a bird's nest". The fact that he never washed it because he didn't want to be vulnerable to attack while bathing probably had a lot to do with it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The Tenth Doctor in ''Series/DoctorWho'' has pretty unkempt hair. The Eleventh's is so bad, he initially thinks he's a she. The Fourth Doctor has a tangled mop of curls. The Eighth Doctor has hair like this, about chin-length. And he's even [[CloudCuckoolander weird]] by Doctor standards. The Second Doctor had unkempt hair as well as an [[{{Permastubble}} abiding five o' clock shadow]].
** ''[[http://i274.photobucket.com/albums/jj244/Chloris67/tennant/misc/topfive/five-28.jpg Pretty]]'' unkempt?
* In ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', River Tam's hair is long, wild, and unkempt, partially because she's insane and thus doesn't seem to care a whole lot for it. Of course, she's the most "in-tune" of all the characters, being a psychic. In ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', her hair is a bit more controlled, hinting at her growing sense of self-control.
** In ''The River Tam Sessions'', the first session shows River's hair as being very neat and well-groomed. As she is experimented on and begins to lose her grip on sanity, her hair (and the rest of her appearance) becomes progressively messier.
* In ''{{Taxi}}'', the character Reverend [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Ignatowski Jim Ignatowski]] (Christopher Lloyd) usually had messy hair to go along with his regular drug use and "spaced-out" behavior. Here's a [[http://www.studyofsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/jim-ignatowski-pic.jpg picture of the Reverend]].
* Parodied in Series/HowIMetYourMother episode "The Platinum Rule" when Ted spends the ENTIRE episode trying to get his hair messy in the exact right way to go impress a girl. At one point when he's about to leave he gets stalled when one of his friends messes up his messed up hair, and Ted returns to the mirror trying to re-perfect it.
** Which is pretty ironic considering that Ted's hair is always a large spiky mess.
* Hatter in {{Syfy}}'s ''Series/{{Alice|2009}}'' miniseries.
* Bernard Black in ''BlackBooks''.
** ...also, every other character played by Dylan Moran, including his stage persona. As he himself says: "It's its own bioculture, I just leave it alone... we sleep in separate rooms."
* John Sheppard in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''
* Fans speculate if [[GossipGirl Serena van der Woodsen]] even owns a hairbrush.
** Dan's season five hair is considered by some to be it's own character.
* Kitty Sanchez from ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'', when LettingHerHairDown.
* In the episode "Soul Mates" from ''Series/BabylonFive'', Delenn comes down with this...[[JustifiedTrope because until earlier that year, she'd never had any hair to deal with, and doesn't know how to care for her hair]]. Ivanova ends up having to help out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/BobDylan, of course. ("[[UsefulNotes/AlbertEinstein Einstein]] disguised as RobinHood...")
* Robert Smith of Music/TheCure.
* Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack
* 2D and Noodle of ''Music/{{Gorillaz}}'' both have uneven, shaggy haircuts. Noodle pairs it with BlindingBangs.
* Steve Bays of HotHotHeat, with his untameable head of ginger curls.
* Adam Gontier of ThreeDaysGrace has messed-up hair.
* Buzz Osbourne of Music/{{Melvins}} is known for the huge pile of messy black (or later on, black and gray) hair on top of his head.
* Russian rock star Music/ViktorTsoi of the band Kino had wonderfully messy dark hair, good for throwing around.
* Geddy Lee of Music/{{Rush}} has been keeping his long hair a bit messy in recent years, though this is probably just a natural effect of having naturally curly hair that would probably be a Jew-fro if he kept it shorter. (He comments, while in very humid and hot Brazil in a short documentary, "Jews must have a hell of a time with their hair in this climate. We get the frizzies immediately.")
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* [[http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/ruddigore/web_opera/rudd11.html Mad Margaret]] in Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[MusashiSamuraiLegend Musashi]]. [[http://www.gamershell.com/static/screenshots/7873/183567_full.jpg just look at him]]. His real life inspiration did it to frustrate his enemies.
* He may be in the process of [[BaldOfEvil balding]], but whatever hair Trevor has left in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' is always in a messy state regardless of how you decide to cut it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Wannabe MadScientist Okabe Rintarou of ''[[VisualNovel/SteinsGate Steins;Gate]]'' doesn't quite have the length to pull of EinsteinHair, so he must settle with this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Zimmy of ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' has messy hair with lots of flyaways as one part of her generally unkempt and dirty appearance, and Jack's hair has become steadily messier as he's become more Zimmy-like.
* Bleu of ''Webcomic/CuantaVida'' [[http://tf2.skyscrapersoup.com/?p=218 has stupid hair]]. It always looks like that, by the way, it's not just hat hair.
* Vaarsuvius from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', while s/he was suffering the effects of trance deprivation.
* Several of the trolls from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'': [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/carcinoGeneticist_5875.gif Karkat Vantas]], [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/terminallyCapricious_799.gif Gamzee Makara]] (easily the best example among them), [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/apocalypseArisen_7072.gif Aradia Megido]], [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100825013548/mspaintadventures/images/d/da/Nepetanohat.png Nepeta Leijon]], and arguably [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arachnidsGrip_8151.gif Vriska Serket]].
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Issue4PAGES/ib095.html everyone goes from waking up to look, with their hair still down.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'' [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3493 Monique looks Medusa-like when she wakes.]]
* More than half of ''{{Archipelago}}'''s male characters have hair like this. In particular, Blitz (and therefore Raven) [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_profile_blitz_2453.png has hair]] that goes up, down and all around.
** Lampshaded when [[ShonenHair Riley]] is surprised that Alice remembers him.
-->'''Alice:''' Hair like yours is hard to forget.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Several characters have this in ''SurvivalOfTheFittest''. Some examples include Jonathan Jarocki and Lily Ainsworth, for starters. Chris Richardson of ''Evolution'' is also described this way.
* Pretty much the entire cast of ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'', save for Slender Man himself. It probably has something to do with the fact that the vast majority of the characters are (or at least are ''implied'' to be) BrainwashedAndCrazy.
* If you look on the comment sections for WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's videos (...why would you do that to yourself?), you'll nearly always see people saying she needs to at least look like she's brushed her hair. Somewhat shallow FridgeBrilliance here; she's only ''pretending'' to be a girly girl for her reviews, she's not really.
* WebVideo/{{VlogBrother|s}} Hank is often slightly untidy, as noted in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpQl878E5iU this video from February 2007]].
-->''Some of my friends were telling me last night that my hair is sometimes a little bit messy on Brotherhood 2.0. So, last night I went to bed with wet hair. I haven't actually touched it yet, so I want to see what it looks like in its preserved state. It's kind of... skateboard ramp going on, and a wave, and little tufts -- tufts like I'm a baby bird...''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Icarus from ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' has spiked hair that is assumed to have been fried when he flew too close to the sun (along with a [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} few brain cells]]).
* Pinkie Pie, resident {{Cloudcuckoolander}} of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is permanently knotted and messy, even after being ironed flat by a hairstylist (It repoofs in seconds) or being trimmed (It ''grows back instantly''). It becomes perfectly straight and lifeless when she's depressed, though.
* Both the title characters of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' and Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode ''Tales of Ba Sing Se'', the first story involves [[TeamMom Katara]] and [[TheLadette Toph]] having a girls day out. When Katara wakes Toph up, Toph's hair is so messed up that it looks like a porcupine is sitting on her head.
* As first expressed in the ''WesternAnimation/SheZow'' episode "Coldfinger", whenever [=SheZow=]'s hair is messy, her powers won't work. Fortunately for her, [[CrazyPrepared she keeps a can of hairspray in handy]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Creator/TimBurton's perpetually unkempt mass of dark hair has no doubt served as inspiration for many of his characters who are similarly coiffed.
* NeilGaiman has untidy dark hair, at least in his author photos. This is probably the [[AuthorAvatar inspiration]] for the looks of several characters he's written, including ComicBook/TheSandman, Richard Mayhew, and Tristran Thorn. One of his "about the author" notes includes the sentence, "He thanks you for the offer of a comb, but doubts that it would do any good." [[http://twitpic.com/2whf8o Even after a haircut.]]
* Curly hair is often referred to as "messy hair" because many people assume it will be unstyled or not cared for.
** Well, that's because when someone brushes it, the curls tend to merge into one giant puff ball.
** And if you don't brush it people tell you you look like Harpo Marx.
** And if it's secured back when you're asleep, it comes out of its tie and you suddenly bear a striking resemblance to Bellatrix (see below)
* HelenaBonhamCarter, especially as Bellatrix [[Film/HarryPotter Lestrange]]. To the point that it was a genuine shock to see her with neatly styled hair in ''TheKingsSpeech''.
* Creator/MiaWasikowska looks like her hair-care routine consists of two steps: 1. Wash it. 2. ''Maybe'' comb it. [[UnkemptBeauty Not that we're complaining.]]
* Fans of DarrenCriss will forever argue over whether he looks better with the short straight hair on ''{{Glee}}'', or the wild curly mane in ''AVeryPotterMusical'' and many of his Youtube videos.
** This is addressed on ''Glee'', when it's revealed that Blaine's hair is naturally curly, but he hates it and spends hours straightening it with gel.
* Similarly, RobertSheehan cannot cut or straighten his hair without fans threatening (jokingly...we hope) to commit suicide.
* ZooeyDeschanel's hair just seems to grow out of her head like kudzu.
* ScoutTaylorCompton's hair often borders on [[AFlockOfSeagulls Flock of Seagulls]]. [[TVTropesWikiDrinkingGame Not that we're complaining.]]
* There are exhaustive books, websites, boutiques and product lines aimed at trying to get hair like this to look good- usually, preferably, to turn it into QuirkyCurls (especially the many that are primarily pitched at a Caucasian market). Some are a little... zealous about the importance of embracing it (check out Lorraine Massey's 'Curly Girl', with its twelve-step programme to a correct attitude to curly hair, and you'll see what we mean...)
* UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball player [[https://www.google.com/search?q=Troy+Polamalu&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=dZK6UbePH-fE0QHqooHACg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1241&bih=584 Troy Polamalu]] is known for his long, wild hair. Not only is his shampoo endorsement deal particularly logical, but there are even jerseys with his hair printed over his last name, mimicking the way it sticks out under his helmet.
* JeffBuckley, he had quite a variety of hairstyles, but not a single one was neat.
[[/folder]]
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