Essentially every person has a bad hair day, it happens. Unfortunately for these characters their bad hair days just happen to be a whole new level of bad. The character will find themselves in a situation where they need a haircut...only for the haircut to go horribly wrong. But typically the bad haircut will only last one episode and it'll be back to normal by the next episode
. Usually overlaps with Traumatic Haircut
except while the haircut will be traumatic for the victim, it's always Played for Laughs
, so it could be seen as a subversion of the Traumatic Haircut. The situation quite often involves getting gum in the hair. Variations can include bad dye jobs which may or may not result in actual hair getting cut to solve the problem, or losing a bet
and ending up with a shaved head or otherwise intentionally
Anime & Manga
- Puella Magi Kazumi Magica plays with this trope for the better: Kazumi goes to get a haircut, but the stylist cuts off most of her hair. In a sense, this is an Establishing Character Moment since, metaphorically, cutting off hair is a sign of a new start in life. Of course, most, including her friends, don't like this new look since her long hair was shown on the cover.
- A version not Played for Laughs occurs in Wandering Son. The thirteen or so year old protagonist wishes to get a pixie cut he saw on a female model, however due to the fact he's beginning puberty it turns out looking masculine instead of feminine. He eventually begins growing it out.
- In It Takes Two, Amanda spits gum into Clarisse's hair so the next time we see Clarisse, she has a truly awful hairdo.
- The 10th Kingdom has Virgina get Rapunzel Hair from a spell and Wolf takes a magic axe to it, leaving her with a very short hairstyle. One of the rare occasions where the haircut isn't fixed with a Hair Reboot.
- Mr Troop Mom one girl gets gum in her hair that must be cut out. Her hair still looks fine afterwards.
- Ramona & Bezus has the former making a tiara out of bur seeds, them getting stuck to her hair and having to be cut out.
- In Serial an angry hairdresser chops off Tuesday Weld's hair when she brags about her new man, who happens to be the hairdresser's boyfriend.
- Anne of Green Gables was annoyed about her red hair and bought some hair dye from a peddler on the road hoping to turn it black. It ended up green and had to be cut off. The hair grew back though.
- The CBBC series Mike and Angelo had Katie's hair ruined after an unusually large trumpet blew her into another room so Angelo's machine tried to fix it for her. She ended up looking like a man.
- Happens to Monica in the season 2 premiere of Friends. She tries to get Phoebe to give her Demi Moore's hairstyle but Pheebs mixes her up with Dudley Moore. The end of the episode implies she's going to give Julie the "Roddy McDowall cut" (instead of Andie MacDowell).
- The five-minute short series Bus Life has Jess get gum in her hair and must be "operated on".
- Sonia in EastEnders was unlucky enough to fall asleep while her daughter was playing hairdresser.
- Seinfeld made a whole episode out of Jerry getting a bad haircut.
- Marshall in How I Met Your Mother got a two-fer when Lily's cousin gave him bleached blond highlights an hour before his wedding. He then ended up shaving those off to give himself an even worse haircut.
- A Different World had an episode where some guys did this to Ron as a joke. It was so bad that Ron's ROTC teacher allowed him to wear a cap during class.
- An episode of Lizzie McGuire involved a prank war between Kate and Miranda and one of Miranda's pranks involved putting green hair dye in Kate's shampoo.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch cast a spell to make her hair fall out (hoping to get her aunts' attention) and they hired a specialist (played by Ru-Paul) to give her a purple version of Marge Simpson's hairdo. She then gave Salem the same hairdo at the end of the episode.
- The 1950s B/W series I Married Joan has an episode where Joan goes to get her hair styled for a college reunion, and ends up with an awful new do called the "panda cut".
- An offscreen variation happened in Charmed. Actress Rose McGowan dyed her hair red between seasons and the characters joked in the season premiere that a potion blew up on her and turned it red.
- Played with in USA High. Bobby discovers a talent for hairdressing and starts doing all the girls' hair. When Lauren finally gives in and gets him to do hers, he goofs and dyes it bright green. When he tries to fix it, Lauren runs out screaming with her hair seemingly falling out. Then she pulls of the wig and reveals she'd just been playing a joke.
- On The Big Bang Theory, Penny persuades Sheldon to cut his hair. All goes well up until the very end, when, while she is trimming the back of his neck, a ticklish Sheldon moves and Penny accidentally shears a bald spot off the back of the head. He doesn't notice it right away, but Penny muses that she might have to move when he does.
- The fourfold punishment on Impractical Jokers had this for each guy; impressively, each one was horrible in its own way.
- In H2O: Just Add Water Emma gets sick of being dependable and decides to colour her hair. Unfortunately the colour she chooses is called "scarlet fever"...
- An early storyline in Calvin and Hobbes has Hobbes cutting Calvin's hair. He keeps getting it uneven and trying to fix it, until Calvin is left with no hair at all. Bill Watterson has commented that one of the few times he ever laughed at his own comic was after drawing the results of Calvin's haircut.
- A Peanuts storyline had Peppermint Patty going to get her hair cut, but the barber (Charlie Brown's father) thought Patty was a boy and cut it accordingly. Patty winds up wearing a big blond curly wig to hide it.
- Miss Kitty got one from Terri Runnels, on the pretense of giving her a makeover. Kitty wore a series of brightly colored wigs that matched her outfits for a while afterwards.
- Behind the scenes, Dolph Ziggler had to cut off his blond locks because he got gum in them.
- An early three-part sketch on Sesame Street had Ernie playing barber and cutting off all of Bert's hair.
- In Ozy and Millie, there's a running gag about Ozy (an anthropomorphic fox) ending up losing all his hair due to different circumstances.
- This has happened several times in Stubble Trouble, twice to Rosie when she was cooking.
- In El Goonish Shive, Nanase's hair grows out of control as a result of her latent magic conflicting with the effect of a Magitek device and she asks Sarah to shave her head to prevent the hair from becoming too heavy for her to support her head. When Sarah starts the hair clipper, Justin somehow senses the imminent loss of such long hair (which he would have loved to play with) and gives a Big "NO!". Within a couple strips it grows back again but shorter than before.