"Anne Shirley, what have you done to your hair? Why, it's GREEN!"Alice wants to dye her hair black. Or bleach it blonde. Whichever naturally occuring color she wanted, it turns out a very different and thoroughly ridiculous color—usually green, though other strange hues pop up. Sometimes, the only thing to do is to shave the head and let the hair grow back. Not to be confused with You Gotta Have Blue Hair. This is a Sub-Trope of Cosmetic Catastrophe specific to hair coloring. Also compare Never Trust a Hair Tonic. Kaleidoscope Hair can occur if Alice keeps re-dyeing her hair. Elderly Blue-Haired Lady is a specific trope for elderly ladies who's attempt to turn ugly yellow hair into graceful grey hair via blue dye results in blue hair instead.
— Marilla Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables
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- There was an advertisement for Outback Steakhouse with this trope. Middle-aged woman tries to dye her hair and it turns out purple or pink. Her husband cancels their reservations at some hoity-toity restaurant and they go to Outback instead, where there are "no rules, just right" and her worries are forgotten.
Anime & Manga
- Exploited in Super Gals when Ran dyes her hair orange. The choice of colour was deliberate, but when she got in trouble at school over it, she claimed that she was actually trying to dye her hair black (it was previously blonde with red highlight, which was also against the school rules) and that a failure in the bleaching process turned it orange.
- This was used to explain Princess Sally's varying hair/fur coloring in the early issues of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: during a mission, Sally fell into a vat of chemicals. Though she came out unscathed, attempts to wash the chemicals out led to her fur and hair being miscolored (from red hair and brown fur, to blonde hair and red fur, to black hair and pink fur and back to red and brown).
- In Diary of a Lovesick Mutant, Fang tries to dye his hair blond, and tomato gets into it, turning it green.
- In Advantageous Appearances, WWE Diva Melina tries to dye her black hair blond, thinking it will lead the WWE management to use her more. It turned her hair orange.
- Played for Drama in the Ever After High fanfic And Hair as Black as Ebony. Feeling inadequate because she is blonde instead of the traditional raven, the next Snow White Apple White decides to dye her hair black. Unfortunately, it ends up coming out dark blue and purple. This sends her into an emotional fit.
- Anne of Green Gables: Anne tries to dye her hair "a beautiful raven-black". Unfortunately, she buys the dye from a dubious source, the local soil contains so much iron oxide (aka rust) that the roads are red so who knows what's in the well water, and red hair is known to do strange things with dye to boot. Her hair turns a hideous bronze-green, and Marilla is forced to cut it very short. Due to morals at the time, there was definitely An Aesop against vanity in this chapter, and Anne learns to accept the fact that she has red hair.
- A short story that was called "In 50 years who will know?" or something like that, a woman who has said this phrase to her daughter throughout her daughter's life tries to dye her hair, and ends up with it brilliant green. The daughter even likens it to "glow in the dark green"—whereupon she tells her mother these words of dubious comfort.
- The (mildly anti-)Soviet classic The Twelve Chairs, by Ilya Ilf and Evgeniy Petrov, has a scene where one of the protagonists tries to dye his hair and eyebrows and mustache a darker color, but the dye is counterfeit and ends up turning him a rabid green color. A second attempt with another dye of no higher quality results in multi-colored hair. The poor sod ends up having to shave his head completely devoid of hair.
- In the Star Wars expansion novel I, Jedi, character Corran Horn accidentally dyed his hair green in an attempt to disguise himself as Kieran Halcyon.
- In "The Inspiration of Mr Budd" by Dorothy L. Sayers, a man walks into a hairdresser's shop just before closing time and demands to have his hair dyed. The hairdresser, who is the only person in the shop, recognizes the man as a wanted murderer with a large reward for his capture. The hairdresser knows he has no chance of physically overpowering the murderer but wants the reward money, so he deliberately arranges it so that the murderer's hair will turn bright green an hour or two after he leaves the shop.
- In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie's meddling with Howl's hair products while cleaning the bathroom resulted in him unwittingly dyeing his hair pink. (In the film, his hair turns bright orange instead.)
- Variation: In the Kid Detective novel What's a Daring Detective Like Me Doing in the Doghouse?, Stevie and her friend Jesse find a stray dog and decide to give it a bath. While trying to find a bath product that will get the tangles out of the dog's fur, they accidentally use Stevie's mother's henna dye on it, turning the dog's fur green. They immediately nickname the dog "Swampwater".
- The Final Destination 3 novelization mentions why Frankie had shaved his head shortly before the events of the film. His attempt at dyeing it resulted in it turning pink.
- In Robert W Service's poem The Baldness of Chewed-Ear, Chewed-Ear Jenkins wagers $1,000 that his wife can't cure his baldness. The wife tries every hair tonic she can find, even selling stock to Chewed-Ear's friends so they'll try their own ideas on him. When their combined ministrations start to work, Chewed-Ear tries to cheat them by shaving and applying hair-destroying drugs to his scalp when they're not looking. The unholy combination of hair restorers and hair destroyers eventually makes the hair come in - green.
- Stephen in the Wayside School series has green hair. In the third book, it was finally revealed to be due to excessive chlorine in a nearby pool.
- In one Sweet Valley High book, Jessica tries to dye her hair auburn brown like Scarlett O'Hara's for a costume party and ends up with bright orange hair instead.
- In The Teenage Worrier's Panick Diary, Letty tries to dye her hair for a date. It's supposed to be "a lovely conker colour" (chestnut brown) but comes out bright orange. Thankfully, it's temporary dye so washes out.
- In ''The Undomestic Goddess" by Sophie Kinsella, Samantha Sweeting is cleaning a bathroom and accidentally sprays her head with bleach. She ends up with "a huge grotesque streak of greeny-blond" in her hair.
- Stephen King's short story "Sometimes They Come Back" has a character with the Embarrassing Nickname "Bleach" — he had used laundry bleach on his hair, ultimately leaving it covered with orange streaks.
Live Action TV
- In the last episode of The Brady Bunch, Greg buys some hair tonic from Bobby out of pity, and it turns his hair orange. Greg wasn't trying to color his hair; it just worked that way.
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody Cody tries to dye his hair and it ends up bright red.
Cody: But the box said it was supposed to be a 'Honey-mist auburn!'Zack: Honey, you missed auburn BIG TIME!!
- Emma of H2O: Just Add Water decided to color her hair and Cleo used a dye called "Scarlet Fever". Luckily for Emma it only showed up in her mermaid form.
- This got blended with a Green Aesop, of all things, in an episode of Diff'rent Strokes. Kimberly tried washing/rinsing her hair with rainwater caught in a copper bowl. However, it was acid rain, which reacted with the metal and left a layer of verdigris on her hair.
- An episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show was describing how she was involved in harmless pranks. One of the pranks had clients of a hair salon watch a teaser showing people using a shampoo/conditioner caused people's hair to turn out green. It was the same shampoo used in the hair salon.
- Happened to CeCe in Shake It Up!, although Tinka had secretly switched dye bottles and made it look like Rocky did it.
- Hannah Montana: As seen in the page image, Hannah's hair dye gel turns her hair green instead of blonde in "Super(stitous) Girl".
- Full House had a Season 4 episode where Danny Tanner's shampoo was switched with green hair dye by Rusty (the son of Danny's girlfriend). Notably, up to then Danny didn't believe Rusty was pulling a series of pranks on the other family members during the episode.
- In the late 1950s or early 1960s, there was a Saturday morning panel show for pre-teens and young adults with a What Would You Do? theme. In one episode, a girl of about twelve is an initiate in a club called the Rats (perhaps "Lemmings" might have been too obvious). When the Rats vote to dye their hair as a badge of membership, the girl does so, accompanied by parents and siblings giving her the "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal. Her hair comes out grey. Horrified, she conceals it beneath a scarf, and when the club president comes over to check out her dye job, she screams that membership in the society has made her "an old woman before my time", dramatically rips off the scarf and tears down the homemade Rats banner on the wall. The leader does not take it well.
- One episode of Mork & Mindy involved one of Mindy's friends telling Mindy to dye her hair blonde for a job interview she was going to do. Her hair ended up green.
- On The Love Boat episode subtitled "Green, But Not Jolly", cruise director Julie boards the ship with a new platinum-blonde hairdo. When it becomes clear that the ship crew really doesn't like the new do, she decides to dye it during the cruise. But when Julie fails to follow the directions and sleeps with the dye in place, by the next morning her hair is green.
- Liz from For Better or for Worse goes for a dye job, and apparently ends up with her hair bright purple. We say "apparently" because it's a black and white comic strip.
- Frenchie in Grease accidentally dyeing her hair bubblegum pink is what leads into the song Beauty School Dropout.
- In Spirited Heart, the demonic dancer Reid eventually leaves to pursue a career at the local beauty shop. One of her clients is a wealthy elven noble whose hair turns green as the result of a botched dye job. Reid tries to pin the screw-up on you, but you can choose to play it off and try to convince the elf woman that her new hair color is just fine as it is.
- Referenced at one point in Questionable Content. Raven tries to bleach her hair blonde to appeal to Sven, but instead it comes out "all orangey and gross", so she has to settle for dyeing it neon-pink.
- Lia in YU+ME: dream accidentally dyes her hair green when the protagonist forgets to add an ingredient to the (blonde) dye.
- In Dela the Hooda Dela — an extraterrestial anthropomorphic fox (Hooda) — tells that most Hoodas are red-green colorblind and her sister once bought green fur dye instead of red-orange. All her (multispecies) school thought she was being rebellious, but her family didn't notice. Her father wasn't colorblind (and a painter to boot), but for some reason he didn't say anything.
- In Rep!, this is is partly the reason Shorty is a red head. Her mom brought some shampoo from a fundraiser and gave it to her to try. The shampoo turned out to be defective and turned her hair red. Worse it got into her roots and any attempt to reverse it would leave her hair prematurely gray. Shorty just learned to live with it.
- Doubly subverted in Pepper Ann. Her hair turned out green when she tried dyeing it blue.
- One House of Mouse short was actually about Minnie Mouse accidentally dyeing Pluto's fur purple after mistaking a bottle of purple dye for shampoo. She then tries to find ways to get the purple dye off, including painting the dog with a can of "Pluto-colored Paint" (which is the same shade of orange as Pluto's fur).
- Happened to Grandpa Lou in Rugrats. The main plot dealt with Chuckie getting tired of getting unwanted attention from his red hair, so he used Lou's black hair dye. By the end of the episode, exposure to the sun turns both their hair orange. While Chuckie is thrilled to be a redhead again because no one seems to know he exists without it, Lou is less than happy. Didi chalks it up to buying hair dye off of an infomercial.
- On Daria, Jane wants to dye her black hair with orange tiger stripes and essentially forces Daria into helping. It comes out looking terrible, and Jane blames Daria, only to later realize that this wasn't really fair and she was sublimating her anger about something else.
- In a show of Truth in Television, this also happened to actress Emma Roberts when her hair was supposed to be dyed blonde for her role in It's Kind of a Funny Story.
- Chilean writer Isabel Allende told in one of her memoirs that when she was young she tried to bleach her hair blonde, but for some reason, she ended with green hair. Rosa, one of the characters in The House of the Spirits, was inspired by that experience.
- Sometimes, recently dyed hair has an... interesting reaction to the chemicals in swimming pools causing discoloration. Specifically, hair bleached with peroxide really does turn green when exposed to too much chlorine.
- Cheaper men's hair regeneration topics used to do this.
- This is the origin of the Elderly Blue-Haired Lady. You see, some people's hair turns an ugly yellow color instead of white or gray when they age. In the 70s, salons would typically treat this with a little bit of blue dye to counteract the yellow, but since different people's hair absorbs pigment at different rates, some people wind up with bright blue hair.
- In general, if people try to dye their hair so they just get a tint of color, rather than actually changing the color of your hair, be careful or, well, read the trope name.
- A common trouble when using all-natural hair dye (which was the only dye available until the 19th century, and the best until fairly recently). Henna gives red colour, henna with indigofera leaves gives golden brown to black. Put too little henna in the mix, and your hair may become green.
- Some hair lighteners actually turn the hair prismatic. While looking blonde normally, strong sunlight reveals rainbow colors.