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[[quoteright:243:[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hair_today_gone_tomorrow_homer.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:243:His hair went the way of the doh-doh.]]-]
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-> ''"NNNNNNYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! M-M-My HAAAAAAAAAAIIIIRRR!! IT-IT-IT'S FLYYYYYIIIIIIIING OOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!! MY BEAUUUUUUUTIFUL HAIR!! NOOOOOOO!!! NOOOOOOOOOO! WAAAAAHAAAAWAAAAHAAAA NO-NO-NO-NO-No-No-no-no noooooooooooooooooooooo..."''
-->-- '''Winston Payne''', ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyTrialsAndTribulations''

In many shows, when a bald character is shown in a {{Flashback}}, they're shown as having more hair in the past than they do in the present. Quite a lot more, in fact. This guy had such flowing locks that you would have to think he was punished by the hair gods for whatever reason.

The trope thus serves a greater purpose than simply showing that the scene is set in the past. It shows how a person has changed -- either he's undergone an ImportantHaircut to pick up a BaldOfAwesome, or he's fallen from the heights of his youth to become a total loser. Maybe his old hairstyle reveals him to have been [[FormerTeenRebel quite different when he was younger]]. Or maybe he just had a [[IWasQuiteAFashionVictim particularly embarrassing or dated hairstyle]] in the past, showing his tendency to fall victim to fad fashions. This last variant allows the trope to be used for characters who aren't even bald in the "present".

Out-of-universe, it's also a lot easier and more convincing for a bald actor to wear a long-haired wig than to make a realistic-looking shorter haircut. It also makes it clearer that this is a younger version of the character played by the same actor, avoiding the hassle and expense of finding a TimeShiftedActor. But the strength of the trope allows it to be used even in animation.

This trope can look forward, too -- a character with hair in the present might be shown to be bald in the future, either because he's ''really'' old or to hammer home the idea that he's a FutureLoser.

Opposite of RapidHairGrowth. Compare NeverTrustAHairTonic, for when bald characters try (and fail) to recapture their once-glorious hair. Contrast PrematurelyBald, which is a common {{subversion}} of this trope -- you'd expect the character to have had hair when he was younger, but he didn't.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', Genma Saotome is shown as having had prodigious and unruly locks when he was younger -- and he's not happy about being completely bald now. He's gone to crazy lengths to get his hair back, including a scheme where his son would go bald in his place. The silliest was a ShoutOut to ''Anime/DragonballZ'', where he uses a [[NeverTrustAHairTonic hair tonic]] that gives him immense, nearly vertical AnimeHair that stands up in spikes -- but only when he's angry, and it falls off if he so much as cracks a smile.
* From ''Anime/DragonballZ'', a series otherwise famous for its prodigious AnimeHair:
** The series establishes that a full-blooded Saiyan has a distinct hairstyle from the day he is born that never changes throughout his life. But this would contradict a flashback in which the normally bald Nappa is shown to have had hair when Vegeta was a child. Fans [[FanWank explained this]] by stating that while it's possible to shave a Saiyan, his hair would quickly grow back to its original shape (dovetailing nicely with a scene in the original ''Dragonball'' where Mercenary Tao cuts off some of Goku's hair, only for it to quickly grow back to normal) -- Nappa presumably is so dedicated to his BaldOfAwesome that he shaves his head very regularly.
** Master Roshi is shown to have had a full head of hair when he was a teenager -- using himself as a contrast to Krillin, who regularly shaves his head because that's what all great fighters do.
** Mr. Satan/Hercule goes the opposite direction, with his hair having fallen out between his prime in ''Dragonball Z'' and scenes twenty years later in ''Dragonball GT''.
* In ''VideoGame/ArcanaFamiglia'', Dante has hair in Liberta's flashbacks. He seems to grow it back in the sequel.
* ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'''s protagonist Saitama is totally bald but shown in flashback to have a full head of spiky hair. His explanation for his baldness is that his training regimen, which turned him into an InvincibleHero, also caused him to lose all his hair.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Mortadelo from the Spanish comic ''Comicbook/MortadeloYFilemon'' had exceptionally great and long locks before losing all of it thank of a failed experiment by the comic's resident MadScientist, Profesor Bacterio.
* Yorick fears he is going bald toward the end of ''Comicbook/YTheLastMan'' and considers shaving his head if this happens. In a flashback in the DistantFinale, we see that's exactly what he's done, but his elderly self still has a good shock of white hair.
* One issue of ''ComicStrip/TwistedToyfareTheatre'' takes place mostly in TheSeventies, and ''everybody'' has a FunnyAfro. Comicbook/ThePunisher, Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}, Man-Thing, everybody. The biggest, most funktastic afro of all belonged to the otherwise famously bald [[ComicBook/XMen Chuck Xavier]], the best dancer in town.
* The ''Franchise/NationalLampoon'' did a fotonovela story "Too Old for Menudo", where a member of the boy band says his mandatory goodbyes on his 15th birthday. The next morning he finds he's turned middle-aged and bald, and can't land a singing job anywhere.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': Judge Shenker, the head of Psi-Division, started out with hair, but he later lost all of it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'' is about TimeTravel, but it plays around with the trope despite having ample opportunity to use it:
** When Doc in 1955 sees a video of his 1985 self, his first reaction is "Thank God I've still got my hair!" Granted, 1985 Doc's hair had turned white, stringy, and even more unkempt, but it was still ''there''.
** Strickland, the bald school disciplinarian, would be a prime candidate for this trope -- except he's almost just as bald in 1955 as he is in 1985. Marty is clearly expecting this trope to be in play:
-->''That's Strickland! Jesus, didn't that guy ever have hair?''
* In ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'', [[MadScientist the Doctor]] is shown to have short hair in flashbacks. He is bald in the present, but tries to hide it with a wig.
* Lou in ''Film/HotTubTimeMachine'' is as bald as the actor who plays him, Creator/RobCorddry. But in the past, he's got a full head of hair. He first notices this in the mirror -- while taking a leak, not caring about his degraded aim while he admires his former glory.
* The ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' series has an unintentional and amusingly extreme example: In ''Film/FridayThe13thPart2'', Jason has an impressive mane of hair, but in ''[[Film/FridayThe13thPartIII Part III]]'', he's completely bald -- even though it takes place only a day after ''Part 2''.
* In ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', Charles Xavier, normally the owner of a BaldOfAwesome, is shown as having long hair in 1973. ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', the next film, shows the unusual circumstances in which he lost that hair.
* ''Film/AGuideToRecognizingYourSaints'':
** Monti has a full head of hair in the 1980s portions, but is balding in the 2006 ones.
** Laurie's teenage self had RapunzelHair, but in the present day it's just above her shoulders.
** Inverted with Nerf and Antonio, who had short hair as teenagers but grew it out as adults.
* Jenko in ''Film/TwentyOneJumpStreet'' isn't bald but has a very short haircut. A flashback to [[IWasQuiteAFashionVictim his teen years]] shows him with much longer hair.
* Carolyn in ''Film/AmericanBeauty'' is codified with PowerHair to project her image as a successful businesswoman. Flashbacks to her youth, where Lester describes her as happier, show her hair long.
* Inverted in ''Film/TheAgeOfAdaline'': The eponymous character has long hair in the present, but short hair in the past, reflecting a period when short hair was [[IWasQuiteAFashionVictim the height of fashion]].
* In ''Film/SpiceWorld'', the girls' friend Nicola has short hair in the present. In a flashback to when the girls were a struggling group, she's shown with long hair down to her waist.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' first shows Meredith as bald from chemotherapy as she's dying of cancer. The second film shows her from before she got sick, when she has long blonde hair.
* In ''Film/TheShapeOfWater'', one of Giles' great regrets is that he no longer has the hair he had in in his youth. He resorts to wearing a toupee when he wants to impress people, such as the diner owner. He is overjoyed when [[spoiler:the Asset uses his HealingTouch to cause his hair to regrow]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/SavedByTheBell'', Balding Mr. Belding is shown to have a hippie-esque head of hair in a FlashBack to his student radio days.
* On ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'':
** George Costanza, the series' resident expert on baldness, is shown in {{flashback}} to have had much more hair when he was younger. But he was no less of a loser in the past than he is in the present.
** Elaine dates a man who shaves his head, but discovers an old ID of his showing him with long, flowing locks. She's totally enamored with that hair, so she asks him to grow it back -- only for him to discover that it's not growing back evenly, and he's "going bald" (even though he's ''already'' bald). In keeping with this trope, he sinks into a depression at becoming a loser; he even goes to George for advice on what to do, and they both treat it as if going bald [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything is a fatal diagnosis]].
* Subverted in the ''Series/{{Lost}}'' episode "Deus Ex Machina", which shows a flashback of Locke that appears to show him with hair, only for it to turn out to be a very DodgyToupee.
* On ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** Turk shaves his head in the present, but is shown with hair in flashbacks. It has degraded, though, as it grows back in awkward patches when he tries to grow it back. One silly flashback, though, shows that he lost his hair by tearing it out in frustration after JD's scatter-brain costs him a chance to see Michael Jordan play live.
** Resident ButtMonkey Ted is shown as balding, but is occasionally shown in flashback with more hair, showing a time before it all fell apart for him.
** Short-haired Dr. Cox is shown in a flashback (or rather, one of JD's {{Imagine Spot}}s) as having a blond Mohawk in TheEighties, and an attitude to match:
-->''Shut up jackass, I rock!''
* {{Lampshaded}} in ''Series/{{Psych}}'', as Corbin Bernsen plays Shawn's father in the series and wears a wig in nearly all the flashbacks (at least those set when Shawn was a preteen).
-->'''Shawn:''' Slap a wig on you, you're a dead ringer for when I was a kid.
* A ''Series/ThirtyRock'' episode had Pete explain that he almost got into the Olympics in 1980, but that year the Olympics were in [[UsefulNotes/SovietUnion Moscow]] and the U.S. boycotted them. The accompanying flashback shows Pete, who is bald in ThePresentDay, having a full head of hair (and an impressive moustache) back in 1980.
* One ''Series/LucyDesiComedyHour'' was about how Lucy and Ricky met. Young Fred has a full head of hair that he is ''very'' proud of, causing Ethel to comment that one day he's going to lose it all.
* Almost everyone in ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', when shown in {{flashback}} to 25 years in the past, will have more or different hair. The most subtle example is Joy, who is shown wearing her hair down in scenes before she had kids but nearly always wears hair bands in the present day.
* In ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', several flashbacks and one comment by Starfleet Academy's [[AlmightyJanitor groundkeeper]] reveal that Picard once had hair. [[SeriesContinuityError Curiously]], there is also a photograph of a bald Cadet Picard in ''Film/StarTrekNemesis''.
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' had a {{flashback}} to the time when Leonard and Sheldon first became roommates in 2002. Leonard had long, wavy locks, Raj had a mullet, and Howard had a [[FunnyAfro Jewish Afro]]. A brief cut to Penny at the same time had her with borderline EightiesHair. Sheldon was the only one who remained almost the same.
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'' used a version of this trope in its flashback to the pilot episode of ''Tool Time'': Tim, usually clean-shaven, is shown with a beard, while Al, who usually has a beard, is clean-shaven.
* On ''Series/{{Friends}}'', this happens with a lot of the flashbacks throughout the series. In "The One with the Prom Video", for example, Rachel and Monica both have EightiesHair, and Ross has what appears to be a perm and a mustache. In "The One With The Thanksgiving Flashbacks", Ross and Chandler are shown to have Music/AFlockOfSeagulls haircuts. In another episode which flashed back to 1992, Chandler is shown with a beard.
* One game of "Weird Newscasters" on ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' had Ryan acting out the entire life of Colin, and made sure to have him ''losing his hair'' in one part.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'':
** Flashbacks to Wilson Fisk's childhood show him with a full head of hair.
** Inverted with Matt, who is pointedly shown without his PermaStubble in flashbacks to when he and Elektra were in college.
* In the ''Series/MrShow'' sketch, the host of the "Pre-Taped Call-In Radio Show"[[note]]which records all shows a week in advance[[/note]] is shown to have had a full head of hair when the show first went on the air. By a month into the show, his exasperation with oblivious callers who are unaware of the pre-taped nature of the show has caused him to lose most of his hair.
* In ''Series/BreakingBad'', [[Creator/BryanCranston Walter White]] shaved his head and adapted his iconic bald look a few episodes into season 1. Thus, the trope is in effect for flashbacks of Walt working at Gray Matter in season 2, or Walt house-shopping with Skyler in season 3.
* In ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'', Carey has a pixie haircut. In a home video of when the twins were babies, she's shown with long hair.
* ''{{Series/Charmed}}'''s Penny was depicted with short hair in the 90s up until she died. Flashbacks to her younger self in the 60s -- when she was a hippie -- show that her hair was quite long. And in another flashback to after Patty's death when Piper was still a child, she's shown to have long hair again (when it was short in "That 70s Episode", which chronologically takes place before the latter flashback).
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'':
** Ted has relatively short SpikyHair in the present. In his flashbacks to being a teenager and college student, he has a curly afro.
** Inverted with Lily, who had short hair in college, but has consistently had long hair in the present.
* ''Series/MacGyver1985'': In "Hell Week" a picture is shown of Mac as a physics grad student. He still had the mullet, but also had a nifty PornStache.
* ''Series/{{Reba}}'' has the title character having short hair in the early seasons, but most flashbacks showed her with lots of EightiesHair similar to the real life Reba [=McEntire=].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' is known to play with its characters in this way. In one strip, showing the office in 1985, 1990, and 1995, Wally is shown progressively going from a full head of hair to bald (and he's shown to have had a FunnyAfro in TheSeventies). The PointyHairedBoss' hairstyle also changes when he's shown in the past, as a MythologyGag to [[ArtEvolution his previous character designs]]. Only Dilbert never changes.
* Walt from ''ComicStrip/{{Zits}}'' had bushy, curly hair as a teenager. Jeremy's dismissive attitude towards hair is a constant source of pain to him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyTrialsAndTribulations'', we see balding prosecutor Winston Payne in flashback with a pompadour. We also see how he loses it: [[spoiler:he's so shocked at losing a case that his hair ''explodes''.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheMiracleMask'', flashbacks show that the super-gentlemanly and businesslike professor, of all people, had a giant FunnyAfro in his school days.
* The Pond Owner in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' has a full head of hair when Link is a child. When seeing him again as Adult Link, he wears a hat. If you catch his hat with your fishing rod, it reveals that he's balding.
* ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamSeries''
** The Penguin, who is bald on top with a ring of hair on the sides and back in ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamCity'', is shown to have more hair in the prequel game ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamOrigins''. This is a downplayed example, however, since it's still pretty short and his hairline had already begun to recede at that point. In the sequel, ''BatmanArkhamKnight'', Penguin is completely bald, apparently having shaven the rest of his hair off.
** The Mad Hatter is like this as well, Having a full head of medium-length hair in ''Origins'', a bald spot in ''City'' and completely bald on top in ''Knight''.
** Mr. Freeze is an inversion, as the accident that transformed him left him was bald, but he managed to grow his hair back in ''Knight''.
[[/folder]]

%%[[folder:Webcomics]]
%%* [[AuthorAvatar Rayne's brother]] in ''Webcomic/LeastICouldDo''.
%%[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Dr. Thaddeus Venture of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' is bald in the present and shown with more hair in the past, but he starts rapidly balding when he's still a teenager. This may or may not have been a result of [[spoiler: his deformed twin brother residing in his abdomen and thus ruining his hormone balance.]] Or perhaps he was just taxing it too much by trying to grow it out.
* Pickles of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'' is a direct parody of [[Music/GunsNRoses Axl Rose]]. He tries to cover his receding hairline with a dreadlock comb-over.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Homer Simpson is the epitome of [[ThisLoserIsYou the bald loser]], and he's always shown as having had much more hair when he was younger. However, given the show's NegativeContinuity, there are [[MultipleChoicePast multiple conflicting accounts]] of ''how'' he lost his hair:
*** One episode shows him tearing his hair out while freaking out on being informed by Marge that she's pregnant, all three times it happens -- by the time she gets pregnant with Maggie, he's torn his hair out to the point that he's as bald as he is today.
*** Another episode shows that he lost it while participating in an Army medical research project (which he signed up for to avoid having dinner with Patty and Selma).
*** "Kamp Krusty" shows Homer's hair beginning to grow back when the kids are out of the house. The second he sees on TV that Bart has commandeered the camp, all his newfound hair falls out.
** A flashback to Mr. Burns' childhood shows him with enormous golden curls, a visual reference to a stereotypical image of a wealthy boy in TheGayNineties.
** While Dr. Hibbert still has hair in the present, flashbacks of him show him wearing a [[IWasQuiteAFashionVictim ridiculous hairstyle emblematic of the time period]].
** Inverted in "Lisa's First Word", which shows Marge's famous beehive hairdo as being much shorter when she was younger.
** Played with in an episode where a flashback to a young Kirk van Houten shows him with really long hair -- only for him to shake it out and reveal that he's already bald on the very top of his head.
* In the first "flashback" episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}},'' Dr. Otto Scratchansniff is depicted with a full head of gray, Einstein-esque hair. By the time his first meeting with the Warners is over, he's pulled out every follicle on his head in frustration and remains bald for the rest of the series.
* When the characters of ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' go back in time, the villain minion Snively is shown with a full head of hair that he's quite proud of. An encounter with Sonic's super speed causes him to lose all of his hair, however.
* In his youth, [[SternTeacher Mr. Lancer]] in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' [[http://dannyphantom.wikia.com/wiki/File:S01e09_Lancer_the_cheerleader.png used to have a full set of hair]]. He still grows his hair, all over his body -- ''except'' on his head.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** Professor Farnsworth is almost always shown with hair in flashback, even when he's as old as 130 years old. In "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", where the entire cast starts to [[FountainOfYouth age backwards]], Farnsworth is shown with a bodacious FunnyAfro.
** Spoofed in "Möbius Dick": a flashback to Planet Express' first delivery fifty years earlier shows Zoidberg with hair, even though [[NonMammalianHair Zoidberg is an alien lobster-thing]]. Leela {{lampshade|d}}s this impossibility, to which Farnsworth claims he never mentioned that Zoidberg had hair; that's just how the others were imagining him.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'', Squidward is shown with hair in a flashback during the episode where the Krusty Krab crew meets their old fry cook.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Trollz}}'', Jasper is seen with an afro at first. Then Amethyst's spell makes him lose his hair permanently. [[RuleOfCool He gets over it pretty quickly.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Mr. Garrison had hair in a flashback in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", but he's shown as a child with [[PrematurelyBald the same baldness]] that would plague him later in life in "Weight Gain 4000". His hair in the former episode might just be a wig.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "How Long Is Forever?", a FlashForward shows Beast Boy as a demoralized, balding, paunchy sideshow exhibit. Upon hearing of this back in the present, he yanks out a double handful of his own hair.
* In ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries'', Dr. Jumba Jookiba is shown with long, luxurious black hair before he had it almost completely devoured in his 177th experiment.
* {{Inverted|trope}} in ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', where Lou Pickles meets an old navy buddy who has a full head of hair -- but is bald in the past. He's wearing a wig in the future.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'''s Greg Universe plays with it a bit; he's only gotten hairier as he's grown older, but he is now bald on top of his head (excluding the waist length hair he still has on the sides). [[NoodleIncident It's implied that he lost his scalp hair in some Gem-related accident.]] Marty is a variation, as he was first introduced with a full head of hair in a flashback, and reappeared in a later episode in the present day with male-pattern baldness.
* In ''WesternAnimation/PepperAnn'', Jamie has a short bob, but is shown to have been a hippie with RapunzelHair when Pepper Ann was a toddler.
* During flashbacks seen in ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' episodes "Blendin's Game" and "A Tale of Two Stans", minor characters have more hair than they do in the present.
* Bill Dauterive of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' is shown to have had a head full of EightiesHair in high school. Then he got it buzzed short when he joined the army. Then he started balding around the time that Hank and Peggy got married.
[[/folder]]
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