Elemental Hair

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Image by ZaloHero. Used with permission.

Hair color is an easy visual shorthand for getting information about a character to the audience. Most often, hair color will tell you something about the character's personality, but sometimes, its meaning is something else: this character has an Elemental Power and the hair color to match the element. Quite often, their personality will also be tied to their element and thus their hair color.

  • Fire—usually red hair, although sometimes it will be more orange. Sometimes taken to the logical extreme. Hair will often be short and spiky.
  • Earth—brown or green hair. More rarely, orange or yellow. Usually short hair on males, females may have longer hair. Tends to be Wild Hair or dreadlocks.
  • Lightning—yellow or white. Hair will often be spiky, as though hit by an electric current.
  • Waterusually a bright blue, especially if ice is also present as light blue. Hair is usually straight and of mid length and flowing, but it can also be wavy.
    • Ice—light blue or white, and of a similar style to water, though probably less flowing.
  • Air—white or gray. Often wavy with lots of volume. It may defy gravity. Can be green in some cases.
  • Light/Holy—white or yellow, or outright gold. Tends towards Mystical White Hair when white. May overlap with Gold and White Are Divine.
  • Dark—nearly always black, occasionally more purple.
  • Nature/Wood/Plant—green. Often messy, and decorated with leaves or flowers. Usually associated with Plant Hair.
  • Lovepink or gold. Probably because the first is feminine, and the second is often considered pure and innocent. Expect Hair Decorations. Rarely, if ever, found on a male character.

This is less common in Live-Action media than in animation, video games, comic books, or manga, for obvious reasons.

Sister trope to Elemental Eye Colors. Subtrope of Color-Coded Elements, Colour-Coded for Your Convenience, and Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance. Often overlaps with You Gotta Have Blue Hair. Compare Flaming Hair, which is this trope for fire elemental users taken Up to Eleven.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Panther Demon clan siblings in InuYasha have this: the redhead uses fire, the Mystical White Hair uses ice, the green-haired girl uses nature/illusions, and the blond uses lightning.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5
    • Cure Dream → Heart → Pink
    • Cure Rouge → Fire → Red
    • Cure Lemonade → Light → Yellow
    • Cure Mint → Earth → Green
    • Cure Aqua → Water → Blue
    • Meanwhile, it subverts this trope with Milky Rose (who controls blue rose petals but has purple hair).
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!
  • Smile Pretty Cure!
    • Cure Happy → Light + Heart → Pink
    • Cure Sunny → Fire → Red/Orange
    • Cure Peace → Electricity → Yellow
    • Cure March → Air → Green
    • Cure Beauty → Ice → Blue
  • Doki Doki Pretty Cure
  • Sailor Moon
    • Blue Haired Sailor Mercury with the elements of Water and Ice, Blonde Sailor Venus using Light 'em Up, and ocean blue haired Sailor Neptune having the power of Deep Water.
    • Sailor Uranus has white hair in the manga, and air powers.
    • The enemy group Witches 5 had Elemental Hair, as well. Eudial used fire powers and had fiery red hair, Viluy had ice blue hair... nanites?, Tellu had green hair and used plant-based powers. Mimete is sort of the odd one out with blonde hair and charm and illusion based powers. Cyprine and Ptilol had blue and red hair respectively, but they used Wonder Twin Powers.
  • Negima!'s Fiery Red Head Anya is literal. Red/orange Haired Mei Sakura uses fire as well.
  • The Familiar of Zero sometimes plays this trope straight and sometimes averts it.
    • On the Played Straight side, we've got Fiery Red Head Kirche (fire affinity), Rei Ayanami Expy Tabitha (wind), Mme. Chevreuse (brown/Earth), and Miss Longueville (green/Earth).
    • On the other hand, Shana Clone Louise, Ill Girl Cattleya, and their mother Karin all have pink hair, but have different affinities (Void, Earth, and Wind, respectively).
    • It's notable that the main characters who are not magic users of some kind (Saito, Siesta, Marteau, Scarron, and Jessica) all have very dark brown or black hair.
  • The girls from Magic Knight Rayearth have both the hair color and styles that evoke the elements that they're granted. Fire-wielding Hikaru has pinkish red hair that's usually braided and wisps out like a flame at the bottom, water-wielding Umi has long, straight, flowing blue hair, and wind-wielding Fuu has blonde hair that's loopy and curly like wind. They also mostly follow Curtains Match the Window, but Fuu breaks it with her blonde hair and green eyes.
  • Pokémon
    • The Eevee brothers (the yellow-haired one having a Jolteon, the redhead a Flareon, the blue-haired one a Vaporeon, and the one with brown hair has an unevolved Eevee)
    • Brothers Cilan (green hair, grass), Chili (red hair, fire), and Cress (blue hair, water).
    • Many of the gym leaders have hair that corresponds with their type, either in color or shape (although some more than others). To list a few examples:
      • Electric-type users Lt. Surge, Volkner, Wattson, Clemont, and Sophocles have spiky hair (for Wattson, what little hair he has), and the first two are blonde, alongside Elesa.
      • Water-type user Marlon has dark blue hair shaped like a fin. Fellow Water-type user Wallace has blue-green hair, like sea foam, and Lana has bright blue hair with wave-like sidetails.
      • Fire-type Flannery has blazing red hair. Kiawe takes this to its logical extreme, with his hair literally being shaped like a flame.
      • Flying-type pilot Winona's bangs stick out from under her flight helmet and sweep to the sides, like a pair of wings. Skyla's hair is shaped like an airplane propeller.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: the three great priestesses of Mt. Muldoon: Shayla is easily identified as the priestess of fire, thanks to her flaming red hair. Miz Mishtal, who presides over water, has lavender hair. And while Afura Mann's a Brainy Brunette, her blue/sea green attire shows she controls wind.
  • Bleach: For all the Anime Hair that does exist, this trope is rare.
    • Hitsugaya, a Child Prodigy Ice Person captain. He does, naturally, have white hair to go along with it.
    • Choujirou is Yamamoto's Number Two of the Shock and Awe type. He was white-haired even in his youth.
    • Isane is frost-themed and has white hair, although slightly greyer in tone than Hitsugaya... like a hoar frost.
  • Yu Gi Oh Zexal does this often.
    • Shark's hair is purple corresponding his deck is Sea-theme
    • Shark's sister Rio, has light-blue and purple referencing her Ice-theme deck.
    • Kaito has blonde hair matching his Light-Attribute deck.
  • World Customize Creator: People with magic have color-coded hair depending on their element. Red for Fire, Blue for Water.

    Comic Books 
  • Pyro in many of the X-Men continuities will have red, spiky hair. Storm has long, white hair that defies gravity (except for the brief period where she had a white Mohawk).
    • When Polaris was made the Horseman of Pestilence by Apocalypse for a short time, her hair was depicted as a long streaming cloud of poisonous green gas.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians has snow-white hair. Guess what his powers are?
  • In a similar vain to Jack, Elsa from Frozen has platinum blonde hair and similar ice-conjuring powers. Anyone who gets cursed in the heart or mind with her ice has their hair slowly turn white, like Anna.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled has 70-feet of shiny golden hair that glows when she invokes its healing powers through singing a spell. These powers originated from a drop of pure golden sunlight. After her hair is cut and loses its powers, its color changes to brown, matching her parents.

    Literature 
  • Melisandre of A Song of Ice and Fire is strongly associated with red, and many people comment on how very red her hair is. Guess what element her god is associated with? hint 
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Fire witches invariably have red hair (which tends to burst into flames when they get angry enough).
  • Subverted, then Played Straight, by Laeshana in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned. Despite being an aesh, Laeshana has golden hair. Becomes a straight example when Alaric uses the Prince's Crown to alter Laeshana's magical alignment, causing her to become an orah.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kiera Hogan has short black hair, with red extensions, and orange extension on top of those. Her nail extension and tights have the same color scheme. This girl is on fire!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chandra Nalaar, a planeswalker in Magic: The Gathering with fire-based power, is red-headed—however, taking this slightly more literally, her cards typically depict her hair actually being on fire.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, genasi—or half-elementals—will frequently have hair that matches their elemental heritage.

    Video Games 
  • The characters of Golden Sun tend to fit this: Venus adepts have brown hair, Mars adepts that aren't from the Mars clan in Prox, especially Tyrell, have bright red hair, and Mercury adepts have blue hair. Three of the five or so visible Jupiter adepts, which combine both Shock and Awe and Blow You Away, have the blonde or white hair associated with those motifs, but purple is more generally used as an indicator of Jupiter affinity. In addition, when Light Psynergy comes into existence at the end of Dark Dawn, it is shown to be strongly affiliated with gold. However, it seems to be averted with the Umbra clan; neither of the two representatives whose hair is visible have black or purple hair.
  • Kingdom Hearts gives us fire user Axel with spiky red hair, lightning user Larxene with blonde hair, brown haired Lexaeus uses earth, pink haired Marluxia uses flower, and blond haired Roxas uses Light. Outside the Organization, there's the three heroes of Birth by Sleep, brown haired Terra uses Earth and Darkness, blue haired Aqua uses Water and Light, and blond haired Ventus uses wind and light. Xemnas has gray hair to match his power of nothingness, though considering who he was originally, the hair color may have a different cause.
  • Pokémon Black and White gives us Pansage, Pansear, and Panpour, which evolve into Simisage, Simisear, and Simipour. Pan/Simisage's hair is shaped like a bush, resembling the grass element. Pan/Simisear's hair is shaped like a flame, resembling the fire element. Panpour's hair resembles a water spout, and Simipour's hair has long, wavy hair, resembling the water element.
    • Gym Leaders Cilan, Chilli and Cress have similar hairstyles with their respective monkeys too. Cilan has green hair shaped into a grass patch, Chilli has red hair shaped into a flame and Cress has blur hair with a wavey Peek-a-Bangs style.
  • Kula Diamond from The King of Fighters normally has brown hair, but it turns light blue when she activates her cyrokinetic powers. On top of this, a few of her attacks suggest that her hair actually becomes ice, or at least takes on its properties.
  • Gaia Online released an item by the name of Elemental Hair to apply to the owner's avatar with choices of fire, wind (and the softer, curlier breeze), earth, ice, water, and life—if you fancy the symbolic bird's nest and nest for hair.
  • Bowser has a red mane/mowhawk that resembles flames, and his (original) preferred method of attack is breathing fire.
  • Aqua / Azura from Fire Emblem Fates has incredibly long, light-blue hair and has powers over water. In the Future Past DLC her son Shigure inherits both.
  • Boldur the dwarf from Battleborn has tree-like hair which is best shown by his beard and the stump at the back of his head.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The three oracles that appear in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are named for and associated with the Golden Goddesses of Hyrule. Din, with flaming red hair, is associated with the goddess of fire and power, Nayru, with long wavy blue hair, is associated with the goddess of water and wisdom, and Farore, with green hair in buns, is associated with the goddess of life, forest, and wind.

    Web Comics 
  • The Galilean Satellites of Zap! have this, with Io having literal Flaming Hair, Callisto (water/ice) having bright blue hair cut in a bob, Europa (wind) having long, white, Storm-esque wavy hair, and Ganymede (earth) having messy green hair.
  • In Drowtales, there's a bit of this with the clan colors: Sarghress (red/shapeshifting (blood element)), Sharen (purple/summoning (supernatural element)), Beldrobbaen (black/flesh and darkness elements), Nal'Sarkoth (green/wood element), and so on.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court. Antimony has very red (bordering on pink) hair and is associated with fire magic. Indirectly lampshaded by Coyote, who calls her "fire head girl." She's eventually revealed to be descended from a fire elemental. Marcia has green hair, and she's a dryad.
  • MYth. The Olympian siblings. Hades has black hair to parallel his power over the dark flames, Zeus has golden locks like his mother and he represents light, Poseidon has light blue hair like the water, Hestia has flaming red hair and she's the goddess of hearth, Hera has dark brown hair to show that she's more down to earth and Demeter has flaxseed colored hair as the goddess of harvest.
  • Sleepless Domain: Alchemical Water has blue hair, Alchemical Earth green, and Alchemical Fire red. In this case, their hair colors are explicitly tied to their powers, as they have normal hair colors in flashbacks prior to obtaining said powers and the latter two have theirs revert back after their deaths.

    Web Original 
  • The "bottle" variant of Hatsune Miku has hair literally made of water, usually with a goldfish swimming in it. Her normal hair is blue, which is probably where the idea came from since she had no particular association with water.
  • Whateley Universe:
    Alberta ‘Fireball’ Waldner ... She was an Exemplar, which was supposed to be, like, a base requirement. She was a babe, she knew that, even if she did have to dye her naturally strawberry blonde hair flame red to go with her green eyes and Fire Manifestation powers. And POWER? She could not only create fire out of nothing, but she could shape it and animate it to whatever she wanted!
Okay, so she got a little carried away some times. She was taking medication for that.
  • Sparkler, with technological assistance, as said in Ayla and the Late Trevor James Goodkind:
    That redheaded bitch blasted off a sparkling fireball the size of a refrigerator.
    ...
    I went light and waved my arm through her gloves. I phased my hand just solid enough that I shorted out the circuitry - or whatever - that was hidden inside them. They erupted in a shower of sparks and little puffs of black smoke. [...]
    She stood there, covered in whipped cream, and staring at the smoking ruins of her whipped-cream-covered gauntlets. She tried to launch a fireball at me, and just got a harmless shower of sparks for her troubles.
    ...
    I was just trying to save my big sister’s life! Okay, I was also trying to keep Firebitch from roasting those cops in that squad car.”
    Byrd said, “Firebitch, huh? Funny. Her real codename is Sparkler.
    ...
    we got attacked by some loser bitch named Sparkler.”
    “Oh god, what did Sarah do now,” Belle said with a weary sigh.
    Belle interrupted with a confused expression, “Wait a second, Sarah can only create light shows. None of her firecracker effects can do damage.”
    Sparkler got an upgrade to her power somewhere, because she burned three cops and nearly killed the bank teller of the bank she had just robbed. Well, I was seeing red by then and began fighting the ditz, which ruined the street we were on.”

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