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Compressed Hair

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Long Hair Is Feminine, but it still fits neatly under that helmet.

Hair that is striking in its length, volume, or color makes a very dynamic visual, and as such, many a work of fiction will include characters who have it. But wait! For some reason or other, the person with the striking hair needs to be disguised so that either other characters, the audience, or both don't realize it's them.

The easiest way to do this is to conceal their hair under a helmet, a wig, or with a hat, cap, or scarf. This also gives the author the potential to toss out The Reveal with a dramatic explosion of flowing locks as the character's most prominent attribute positively identifies them for all to see.

Except hair doesn't work that way. It can range from "fairly difficult" to "really freakin' hard" to successfully compact and store long or thick hair in such a small space. And even if it can fit, there's a real-life phenomenon known as "helmet hair" — hair that's been tucked up under a close-fitting piece of headgear for very long tends to be not so flowing and perfectly styled when it's released.

If The Reveal is particularly huge or unwieldy, it may result in Please Keep Your Hat On. If the long hair grows out of somewhere other than the top of the head, well, that's just... ew.

The converse of this is Hammerspace Hair (which is hiding stuff in hair itself).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Matsuri of Ayakashi Triangle has hair that sticks out wildly and goes halfway down his back, but somehow it ties up into a little tuft. Oddly, his mother's similar-length hair retains its volume when tied up into a fold.
  • Chihiro from Battle Spirits Heroes has hair that goes past her shoulders but she keeps it all in a baseball cap when she pretends to be a boy.
  • Berserk has Griffith pull this off during the Golden Age arc. He has white, wavey hair that goes past his shoulders, but it remains easily contained inside his hawk-shaped helmet. Averted later on, when his hair is even longer, but he doesn't hide it under a helmet anymore.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura has an example in episode 7 with Yuuki Tachibana, who has waist-length hair that she hides under a beret. This, combined with her tomboy nature, leads both Sakura and Tomoyo to think she's a boy until The Reveal at the end of the episode.
  • Junko in A Certain Scientific Railgun has extremely voluminous ringlet curls. During swimming lessons, she somehow fits it all under her swim cap. Mikoto lampshades this, wondering how she manages it.
  • Felli in Chrome Shelled Regios, whenever she's outside the city. Averted with Dalshena: she customized her helmet with an extra sheath at the back for her Ojou Ringlets.
  • C.C. of Code Geass does this almost any time that she impersonates Zero by wearing his outfit. Her waist-length hair just magically manages to fit into the Zero mask. Oddly averted later when everyone is wearing Zero costumes in R2, and C.C. has her green hair notably extending outside of the Zero mask in a way that would easily identify her if not for the I Am Spartacus moment.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Three Visionary Swordsmen, an installment of the series set in a Medieval Fantasy-inspired setting, have Shizuka's character, Shizukaria, wearing a helmet that easily hides her waist-length hair.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • When he appears for the first time as an adult, Goku isn't recognized by his friends since he's wearing bandages that completely hide his signature hairstyle. When he takes them off, his hair is immediately back to its natural shape.
    • In Z, after the battle against the Saiyans, Goku is in the hospital recovering from his extensive injuries, with his head and Anime Hair bandaged up.
  • Averted in Elfen Lied. Lucy's helmet when she's in the lab is longer on the back, providing enough space to fit her hair, which goes past her waist.
  • In a between-chapter omake of Evergreen, Niki manages to fit all of her hair under a swim cap, to Hotaka's confusion.
  • From Eroica with Love subverts this, actually, where Dorian's insanely long curls have to be cut so he can wear a wig and disguise himself as Klaus for some good old-fashioned negotiation. Surprisingly, they take a realistic amount of time to grow back, as well.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Hotohori, when conducting imperial duties, often tucks his beautiful, long locks up into the tiniest bun on the top of his head.
  • Gundam: Reconguista in G, a space pirate Aida Surgan has a beautiful, long, pink hair under a pilot's helmet, so beautiful it stuns the protagonist as he walks by.
  • In Halo Legends, Spartan Cal-141 manages to fit a surprising amount of hair into her helmet to make The Reveal more dramatic. It's also not shown to be bound in any way so it can flow dramatically. From the same series of shorts Spartan Daisy-023 is shown with a much more realistic bob that would be able to fit into her helmet.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team. Cynthia keeps her hair loose, but on the very same head under the very same cap Grace keeps the very same hair, without changing the volume of the cap itself.
  • In the fourth Harukanaru Toki no Naka de series, Chihiro wears her waist length hair as a coiled-up braid on her head to prevent it from looking dishevelled.
  • Sunday Spade of Jajauma Quartet manages to hide several meters worth of hair underneath a small cute cap.
  • Kars from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency has Barbarian Long Hair all kept hidden in his skin tight turban, How he manages to fit it without any sticking out is anyone's guess.
  • Fujiwara from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War somehow manages to fit all of her shoulder-length hair under a bald cap without any visible bulges.
  • In Princess Jellyfish, while giving the Sisterhood makeovers, Kuranosuke is unable to straighten Banba's Funny Afro, so he plops a wig onto of it instead, somehow managing to keep all of her hair inside it.
  • The protagonist of Liar and the Ferris Wheel keeps her long hair under a cap when pretending to be a boy.
  • Certain girls in Lucky Star are sometimes shown compressing their normally waist-length hair in situations such as bathing, swimming, or to complement a yukata.
  • Macross:
  • Sieglinde Jeremiah from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, who manages to keep the entirety of her long, thick, Girlish Pigtails under the hood of her leisure suit.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
    • Princess Marina Ismail is guilty of this when she goes on a world tour to negotiate a solar power generation system. How she keeps her butt-length hair rolled-up is anyone's guess.
    • Soma Peries also has this problem, but it's averted as the helmet on her customised pilot suit has a visibly larger helmet than the male pilots.
    • Also, the first season manages to do this with a mecha. When Gundam Virtue loses its armor to reveal the feminine looking Gundam Nadleeh, we can see that a long red hair was hidden under some relatively small pieces of Virtue's helmet and armor.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury has Chuchu, a girl with two enormous puffballs of pink hair, each one larger than her actual head, that are nonetheless able to fit into a standard space helmet. Some people were quick to point out people with similarly sized afros in real life actually can compress their hair to a startling degree.
  • Enel and Sengoku from One Piece have their afro compressed under their headgears.
  • While not a hat exactly, one episode of Pokémon: The Series has Jessie somehow able to keep her huge amount of Anime Hair in a relatively small bun. When she trips, her hair is instantly let loose.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yellow hides her ponytail under her hat to pretend to be a boy.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Anthy in the anime series and the manga. Normally it's curled above her neck; when the third story arc begins, the viewers are shown that it's actually long, flowing, wavy hair, and it symbolizes her true self.
  • Juliet of Romeo × Juliet could conceivably hide all her hair under her wig if she twisted and pinned it, but when she simply removes the wig and lets the long hair fall it's perfect and unbound. How she got it all up loose is anyone's guess, how it was let down unmussed is a small miracle.
  • In Ronin Warriors, sometimes we see Seiji's hair maintain shape whilst meditating in a waterfall, yet it will fit in a helmet much smaller than his 'do.
  • Buddha from Saint Young Men. Though manageable when kept in his topknot, when he lets down it positively explodes outward until it's covered every floor, wall, and ceiling. It happened so quickly that Jesus thought a blackout had occurred.
  • Inverted in Saint Seiya. While Andromeda Shun's normal hair length barely goes below his shoulder line, wearing his helmet causes it to become long somehow. Phoenix Ikki's hair grows as well with his helmet on, but less than his younger brother's.
    • Played straight with other characters such as Kanon (as Sea Dragon), whose helmets obscure the eyes and cover their long hair completely.
  • Space Runaway Ideon: How on Planet Solo does Cosmo Yuki manage to make his Funny Afro fit inside his helmet?
  • SPY×FAMILY: Yor Forger somehow manages to compress her hair into a couple of sidetails, even though she doesn't wear hats (just a hairband), and when let loose it falls all the way down her back. It seems not even the mangaka himself can explain how she does it.
  • Washu from Tenchi Muyo! seems to be a master at this given various scenes. Considering she can use the power of SCIENCE to alter her very age at will, compacting her massive pony tail is hardly impressive.
  • Eto from Tokyo Ghoul is a creepy little kid covered from head to toe in bandages, wearing a hooded robe. When the audience finally sees her unmasked, it turns out she's somehow been hiding an enormous mane of wavy, waist-length hair the entire time.
  • Taiga from Toradora! has fairly long, poofy hair, but manages to get it done up in two small buns when she goes swimming.
  • In ∀ Gundam, Dianna Soriel's hair comes halfway down her back, but on multiple occasions she somehow manages to pack it all into a fairly small turban.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • When Mokuba challenges Yugi during the Duelist Kingdom arc, he's wearing a disguise in which he manages to cram his three pounds or so of hair underneath a cap.
    • In a later arc, Valon, whose hair is both very spiky and extremely thick, somehow put all of said hair into a regular motorcycle helmet. His helmet hair is impressive but still impossible. So does Mai Valentine. Meanwhile, Marik - who also rides motorcycles, and is introduced earlier - averts this trope by having his long hair stick out of the back of his cheap helmet.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Blair Flannagan hides her long hair under a hat to help disguise the fact that she's a girl.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • S herry LeBlanc does this when she first meets Yusei.
    • Yusei somehow hides his entire head of hair under a baseball cap.

    Comic Books 
  • Depending on who's drawing him at the time, Wolverine's flared mask could concievably contain his distinctively flared hairstyle (they're rarely drawn to actually match up, flaring-wise - in fact, the haircut came a while after the mask; he's never unmasked in his first appearances). The muttonchop sideburns are a different matter - some artists don't even bother to draw his mask covering the parts of his jaw where there's hair when he's unmasked. And how does his hair stay so distinctively flared when he keeps wearing a mask over it?
  • Squirrel Girl's running explanation for how she hides her tail in casual wear is that she stuffs it into her pants; however, given how often artists like to draw her tail as being the size of her body if not bigger, it can get hard to believe. The unfortunate asset-expanding side effect of this concealing method has been commented on in-universe.
  • When Chun-Li undoes her Odango Hair, it's at waist length.
  • Strontium Dog: Johnny Alpha somehow manages to fit an immaculate afro into a helmet only marginally larger than his head.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Priscilla Rich's long blonde hair stays well hidden and out of the way in the tight fitting cap with ears she wears as Cheetah. When Etta removes the hat after her capture her hair tumbles out and looks picture perfect, so she somehow manages this without even tying or pinning her hair up.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Diana wears a spacesuit for her rescue of Natasha her long flowing locks look perfect without a hair out of place when she takes off the helmet to introduce herself.

    Fan Works 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Tsuruya begins their first Curb-Stomp Battle by revealing her identity. She pulls off a blonde wig, and her ankle-long green hair drops to the ground. This is soon followed by Kyon and Yuki shifting into martial arts mode, and beating all 24 of their opponents into a lengthy stay at the hospital.
  • One episode of Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy shows that Edd keeps a hairpin underneath his hat. As a result, VampireMeerkat popularized the theory that he has long hair that he keeps pinned down in his hat.
  • In the Jethro and Monty Gunslinger Girl stories, Monty has '60s Hair that can be styled back in place with just a few strokes of a hairbrush. This is because her hair was a failed attempt to get commercial benefits from the cyborg program until someone pointed out that no-one's going to get a full scalp transplant for a permanent perm that they can never change.

    Films — Animation 
  • Adolescence of Utena had Juri and Utena's character designs altered significantly. While Juri's hair has always been insanely elaborate, the volume of hair she fits in a simple fencing helmet (full French curls plus hair that extends almost to her knees) is just ridiculous. Utena, by contrast, actually has character sketches that show how her relatively more modest length of hair could in fact be braided tightly enough to manage hiding it under her hat. Of course, when she takes her hat off it's not braided at all...
  • Anya in Anastasia appears to have a small ponytail for most of the movie, but when she lets her hair down later when she's all dressed up, her hair is much longer than the ponytail would account for. If you look closely, at the small "ponytail", though, you can see that it's actually a small ponytail tightly braided around by the rest of her hair.
  • Danielle in The Flight of Dragons has one of these moments during her Samus Is a Girl reveal, taking off her Robin Hood cap to reveal a cascade of long red hair.
  • In Disney/Pixar's Up, young Ellie takes off her flying helmet to reveal a bushy head of hair, made to look bigger by "helmet hair" and static electricity.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Facilier's hair is about the same height as the hat he's trying to keep it under. Hat hair is almost certainly in effect.
  • Frozen:
    • Elsa's hair looks short because it's in a braid which is in turn wrapped around her head and coiled into a tight bun at the back. When she lets it down during "Let It Go", it turns out to reach down to her waist, even while still braided.
    • Anna's hair is at least as long as Elsa's, but it also manages to fit into a similar braided bun that's pinned even higher than Elsa's, leaving not a single strand of hair past the top of her nape.
  • Rapunzel in Tangled plays with this for character development - when she enters the kingdom for the first time, the long hair she had to keep for Mother Gothel's sake is immediately an encumbrance to her joining in the festivities and Flynn recruits a group of young girls to braid it until it's compact enough to be off the ground. The braid is itself as thick as Rapunzel's waist. When Gothel tricks her into returning to the tower, the unbraiding of her hair is a subtle symbol of her return to Gothel's dominance over her.
  • The evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is most noticable during the scene where she turns into the Witch.
  • In Brave, it is nothing short of miraculous how Queen Elinor manages to tuck all of Merida's profusely curly, waist-length hair under a small wimple that doesn't even bulge — and of course, when Merida reveals herself at the archery tournament, her hair flows as freely as if it had never been subjected to the accursed wimple.
  • As shown in the image, Éowyn in the Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Return of the King.
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Goofy makes his '70s-esque entrance into college by removing a hat, revealing a large afro (actually a wig).
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the Dazzlings manage to hide their enormous '80s Hair do's under hoodies.
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Spider-Punk has huge dreadlocks, but his mask fits his head just as tightly as any other Spider-person's.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in Victor/Victoria, in that Julie Andrews has her hair cut that short to perfect her Count Grazinski look. Double averted in that the "drag reveal" involves a woman pulling off a long wig to reveal short, mannish hair.
  • In She's the Man Viola impersonated her brother in order to get onto a boys soccer team. She hides her hair under a boy-wig, which she removes in the movie's climax football match. Seeing the length, it makes one wonder.
  • In Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow's character managed to get her waist-length hair under a short wig so she could disguise herself as a teenage boy and thus play the part of Juliet, in which she let her real hair down.
  • In Cannibal! The Musical, Matt Stone's character has a huge afro underneath his beaver hat.
  • In the Star Wars franchise, Leia's hair is much longer than her iconic cinnamon buns would suggest.
  • Brenda fitting her hair into that hoodie in Urban Legend.
  • Played for Laughs in Austin Powers in Goldmember: Foxxy removes the cap of her wetsuit to reveal short hair, then shakes her head, and the hair explodes (offscreen) into an afro.
  • Played straight during the Stark Expo intro in Iron Man 2. Lampshaded in the novelization.
  • In Alice's Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie is hitching a ride with his hair concealed under a big hat. He gets picked up by a redneck truck driver. Once he's settled into his seat and the truck gets underway again, Arlo pulls off his hat and cheerfully shakes out his long hippie locks. The truck driver's reaction is very much Please Keep Your Hat On.
  • Hui Fei in Shanghai Express has her hair in a bun most of the film. A few scenes reveal her hair is actually long enough that it goes past her waist.
  • Skyfall: Bond Girl Severine's hair appears to be in a bob haircut during the casino scene, but by the time she and Bond have sex, it's down to the middle of her back, meaning it was pinned up in the previous scene.
  • The Force Awakens has Kylo Ren take off his helmet to reveal a mass of curls. (Hilariously, behind the scenes footage shows Adam Driver needing to wear a balaclava to actually fit all that hair under the helmet.)

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Suck E. Cheese's security guard has quite a mass of hair under his cap, although it is a pretty bulky cap. This makes it harder to realize that he is the former Metalchihuahuas bassist until he takes off his cap to reveal his trademark spiky hair while watching the Battle of the Bands.
  • Edward Eager's children's novel Half Magic has Katherine whipping off her helmet after defeating one of King Arthur's knights, with her long brown hair revealing that she is female . . . and also nine years old.
  • The Lord of the Rings plays this straight when Éowyn removes her helmet at the climax of a pitched battle. Interestingly, though, The History of Middle-earth has revealed that in an early draft of Return of the King, Tolkien averted the trope instead—originally Éowyn cut her hair short before donning men's armour.
    • It's a non-issue in the Peter Jackson film adaptations, seeing as it's shown as quite normal for male Rohirrim to have long hair!
  • Spots the Space Marine has thick dark hair that comes down to her waist, yet she can tape it up so it fits under her helmet.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the X-Wing Series, there are a number of Twi'lek pilots. No mention is made of how they accommodate their brain-tails to their pilot helmets, though there are apparently "socks". But on at least one occasion, they dress up in stormtrooper armor, and the Twi'lek character is specifically commented on as probably being very uncomfortable with her sensitive brain-tails all scrunched up in the helmet.
  • Hoshi and the Red City Circuit: When Hoshi removes the hat she's wearing as part of her fisherman disguise, what feels like a kilometer of hair flies out.
  • Referenced and averted in Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion. During her training and early adventures, Paks repeatedly wraps up her more than shoulder length hair to use as padding for her helmet. After she escapes from being tortured (and all of her hair was cut off to attempt to humiliate her), she discovers that her helmet no longer fits properly. She uses an old woolen scarf instead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batman (1966): Inverted with Batgirl, whose long red hair was actually a wig to help further conceal the fact that she was secretly Barbara Gordon with the short black pixie-cut.
    • This is also how the modern Batwoman conceals her identity, hiding her short red hair under a long red wig.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Eleventh Hour", Amy Pond reveals her impressive red hair from under her police hat during The Reveal that she's not a policewoman who's arrested the Doctor, but the owner of the house wearing a kissogram outfit.
  • Played for Laughs with Shepherd Book from Firefly, when the sight of his hair unbound makes Cloud Cuckoolander River Tam flee in terror.
    River (hiding in a cargo compartment): The snow on the roof is too heavy. His brains are in terrible danger.
    Zoe: River? Honey? It's OK. He's putting the hair away now.
    River (not emerging): Doesn't matter. It'll still be there... waiting.
  • In the Miami Vice episode "Definitely Miami", the villain Charlie (Ted Nugent) hides his back-length hair under a hat while he pretends to be Callie's abusive husband. After he beats up Crockett and kicks him out of the room, he removes his hat, letting his hair fall down.
  • Murphy Brown had an episode during Murphy's pregnancy where the network got on her back about it and brought up the "appearance clause" in her contract. To make a point, she adopted a short hairstyle, which they (and FYI viewers) hated. At the end of the episode, it's revealed she was wearing a short-haired wig.
  • Played With on Scrubs where JD wears a "hairmet", an extra-tall helmet that allows ample space for one's hairdo (and for concussions, but sacrifices must be made for style).
    Dr. Cox: Nice helmet.
    J.D.: Actually it is not a helmet, it is a hairmet. You see, it's got extra room built in so you don't mess up your hairdo.
    Dr. Cox: I'm going to write you a prescription for two testicles. You get it filled whenever.
  • Jeri Ryan's hair is mid-back length, but she wore it tightly braided to play Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Cadet Tilly on Star Trek: Discovery wears her hair in a Prim and Proper Bun while on duty. When she lets her hair down off-duty, the result is a ginger explosion that looks like Merida from Brave.
  • Super Sentai and/or Power Rangers often have this going, with no explanation of how exactly their different hairdos can somehow get inside the helmet; it'll inevitably be shown as normal any time the Rangers take their helmets off. The original extended morph sequence from Power Rangers Turbo showed Tommy's hair seemingly tucking back as his helmet formed.
  • The female lead of the short-lived Edward Woodward series Over My Dead Body, Jessica Lundy, pulls off a motorcycle helmet to reveal very long and lush hair in the open credits to the show (seen here).
  • Phoebe tucked her long hair underneath a flat cap while disguised as a dock worker in an episode of The Thundermans entitled "Max to the Future". When the two criminals that she and Max were looking for capture them, Phoebe's cap is removed.

  • Also shows up in the Charlie Daniels song "Uneasy Rider". The narrator gets a flat tire while driving through Mississippi and has to stop at a redneck bar so he can call for repairs. He stuffs his long hair into his hat, trying to hide his counterculture leanings, but eventually has to take it off. The locals are not amused.
  • The song "Signs" by Five Man Electrical Band has these lyrics:
    And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
    So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
    He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do"
    So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"
  • Early in the video for Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car," the girl takes her hat off, causing shoulder-length hair to fall out.
  • Simple Minds' video for "Promised You a Miracle" features a female model taking off her hat to reveal long blonde locks.
  • Sabaton: Yarnhub's story video for "Lady of the Dark" (later reused in The War to End All Wars – The Movie) depicts an Austro-Hungarian soldier pulling Milunka Savić's hat off while fighting with her and being astonished when her long, feminine hair falls free (having not realized she was a woman), which freezes him long enough for her to land a Megaton Punch on his jaw.


    Video Games 
  • Millia Rage (Guilty Gear) is probably the most extreme example of this trope. Her hair naturally falls to her ankles while tied up, but she also uses it as a weapon, and it takes huge and ridiculous shapes. Also, in one winning pose, she takes off her ponytail and her hair flops to the ground, stretching to about two feet from her! In-universe, explained by it not being hair but a magical symbiote permanently bonded to her which has a high-end Healing Factor. How it retracts again, though...
  • It's common in games that have character customization and/or swappable clothing to simply make the characters hair invisible when wearing any sort of helmet or hat, to prevent the hair from clipping through the hat.
  • While it's only used for her intro cutscene, Ann Takamaki's unnaturally buoyant pigtails somehow stay hidden in her hoodie in Persona 5.
  • Some hairstyles in Destiny 2 are believably hidden when the helmets go on. Then, there are the pigtails, the bouffants, and the back-length hairstyles.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Noel Vermillion's long hair is usually kept up in a beret, somehow. As mentioned elsewhere, this is an easy trick to do with braids, but her victory poses show a single pin keeping it bundled under there somehow.
    • When Litchi Faye-Ling is not in battle mode, she usually kept her hair in a big, complex bun, with a yin-yang and panda 'hairpin' to keep it in place. If she's in battle mode, she ends up revealing a VERY long hair that nearly touches the ground, even in ponytail and she's standing (and she's tall).
  • Samus from Metroid certainly qualifies, keeping her long hair within her helmet. Between the Morph Ball mode and her 200+ missiles, keeping a ponytail underneath her helmet is a minor trick.
  • Multiple members of Organization XIII in the Kingdom Hearts games defy the laws of physics by managing to keep their Anime Hair hidden under their hoods. Vanitas hides Sora's gigantic 'do in a perfectly head-sized helmet, which is partially explainable by the fact that he doesn't so much remove his helmet as transform it. Zack Fair can hide his big spiky hair under a Spartan style helmet. Ventus is a borderline example. Then there's Terra, who somehow crams all of his thick hair (which reaches to around his shoulders) inside his head-sized helmet. Though for Ven and Terra, the helmets are summoned on.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Ron DeLite in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations has hair that resembles cinnamon buns. Fans often wonder how it could possibly fit in his Mask☆DeMasque mask.
  • Custom character creation and Clothing Damage in Soulcalibur IV combine to allow this. You can give a character a huge afro and put a close-fitting helmet over it, and it'll magically be sucked into hammerspace. Until you break the helmet in combat, that is, at which point it erupts. Players have been known to lose matches from the distraction.
  • Waka from Ōkami somehow keeps his ankle-length locks completely hidden beneath his hat/helmet, which perches jauntily on the top of his head.
  • In World of Warcraft whenever players put on a helmet all of their hair disappears under it. The same applies if they put on a hat, even if their hair is three feet long and they're wearing a small cap.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The player can choose to get a giant afro, which remains entirely undamaged by the wearing and removal of any headgear.
  • Sougetsu Kazama (Samurai Shodown) besides using water ninjutsu, must know some of hair ninjutsu, since to make a column of water rise, his hair unties by itself as he turns gracefully. In one of his victory poses he actually unties his hair with one hand, and it just flows and flows until it actually reaches the floor! Amazing that he never used it to attack...
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky's Tita Russell.
  • Judging by this piece of concept art from Mega Man 8, Proto Man has some kind of enormous spiky pompadour/mullet hybrid '80s Hair that he manages to fit under his helmet. It still somehow manages to not be his most blatant violation of headgear sensibilities, thanks to wearing Cool Shades under the same shades on his helmet.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Marth aka Princess Lucina in Fire Emblem: Awakening does this to hide "his" gender. When she officially joins the party without hiding her identity, however, she stops doing so and simply lets her hair down. note 
    • The exact same hair compression technique as the one in Awakening is available as a hair option for a Female Avatar in Fire Emblem Fates.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Flame Emperor manages to somehow conceal Edelgard's back-length hair under their helmet.
  • Your character in Guild Wars 2 can have long, flowing hair - or in the case of Sylvari, a couple feet of twigs sticking out of their head - but it all disappears entirely under helmets.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9, Smoke is revealed to have very long, wispy gray hair in his primary outfit but when wearing his secondary outfit he has a form-fitting head wrap over his hair that doesn't leave much room for all that hair (his other human appearances have had a similar wrap over his head as well prior to 9).
  • In Saints Row IV's third "Enter the Dominatrix" mission the Boss infiltrates a sex club dressed as a gimp. Not a bit of their hair is visible even if you're using a female Boss with a voluminous hairstyle.
  • Bethesda's RPGs, notably The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, disable a character's hair when most headgear is equipped. One specific example, from Fallout 4, is the Megaton hairstyle (a gigantic beehive styled like a mushroom cloud) disappearing under a simple baseball cap.
  • Peach and Rosalina from Super Mario Bros. both have long blonde hair that gets compressed when they are wearing a Tanooki suit or Cat suit in Super Mario 3D World.
  • Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus: Doris has long red hair, but is able to hide it under a wig while disguising herself as a secretary to infiltrate a Mad Scientist convention. Lampshaded when the wig is examined:
    It’s amazing how Doris de Lightning was able to fit her long red hair under this short brown wig.
  • In Miitopia, Miis from the Flower class have their hair completely obscured by the hat they're wearing. Several Warrior Armors also invoke this trope.
  • Touhou Project's Yukari Yakumo normally has hair that's usually depicted as waist-length; for her appearances in the 2D fighting games Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she somehow manages to tuck all that hair up under her trademark cap without a single loose strand. Of course, Yukari views space and physics the same way a bored toddler views a lump of plasticine, so this isn't a stretch for her.
  • Valheim: Most helmets will hide a character's hair, particularly noticeable given the tendency towards Barbarian Longhair.
  • Azur Lane: Generally averted for HMS Formidable, whose twintails are long enough she's at risk of stepping on them. When he hair is done up in her swimsuit skin, the buns are enormous and there's still a decent amount fluttering loose and knee-length.

  • Tamaura of Blindsprings normally has incredibly voluminous, curly hair nearly as long as she is tall, but is able to compress it down into two looping braids when she has to go out in public, with a Lampshade Hanging on how her huge hair is way too distinct. She can also unravel it when she does her henshin sequence. Justified by it being explicitly magical.
  • Nightfall in ElfQuest. She wears a headscarf most of the time, except when she's literally letting her hair down.
  • Cuanta Vida: How the heck does Jordi/Bleu/BLU Spy fit his poofy, scruffy hairstyle into his class's tight-fitting balaclava without making it look all lumpy? Early on it's fairly believable, but his hair gets pretty long as the comic progresses.
  • In Dominic Deegan, Pamela's nurse cap is pretty small, but when she takes it off . . .
  • Collar 6: When Sixx's hair is in a pony-tail it reaches to her knees. Butterfly, aka Evita Kappel, also has this, having hidden her long, wavy black hair under a shorter blond wig.
  • Homestuck: Vriska Serket and Aradia Megido both have very long and unkempt hair. How they fit it all into their tiny God Tier hoods is anyone's guess. In a lesser case, Nepeta Leijon's hair is taller and wider than the tiny cat cap she normally wears.
  • Original Life used this trope in a story arc where Janie Black was frustrated that no boy wanted to date her. Her friend Charlene, earlier established to have a secret crush on Janie, went to Janie's brother Thomas in order to masquerade as a boy. In strip 383, she asked Miko to give her a makeover to look like a boy. The first step was to remove her characteristic ball cap and pony tail, her hair promptly "fwomped" out into a massive shock of curly, feminine hair complete with sparkly effects. Now looking like a boy, she promptly goes and plants a big, wet kiss on Janie's mouth. When Janie removes Charlene's hat we see that Miko managed to somehow stuff all that hair under the hat without cutting any of it, Charlene's hair promptly explodes out again with sparkly effects.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: After seeing a poster with Ganondorf sporting very long hair, the Commander asks when was the photo taken. Ganondorf says his hair has been that long for years, and demonstrates by untying one of his braids, revealing hair down to his navel.
    Commander: How did you learn to do your hair like that?
    Ganondorf: I have so many sisters, you don't even know.
  • While her hair is normally an average length ponytail, when it's undone Claire in Questionable Content has enough hair that it can completely cover her nipples while still looking like a full head of hair on her back.
  • In her first superhero disguise Cynthia of Once Stung somehow hid her more-than-waist length ponytail under a shoulder length wig.
  • Starting in this strip of Schlock Mercenary Lieutenant (at the time) Ellen Foxworthy is given a makeover replacing her old warrior's ponytail with a luxurious full head of hair that goes down to her hips. She immediately says that while it is lovely the hair's sheer volume is highly impractical for combat. Fortunately in this case, the people giving her the makeover knew this in advance and installed smart nanites that can instantly compress her hair into a space small enough to fit under her helmet.
  • Tower of God features Hwaryun pulling this off twice, with two degrees of implausibility; managing to seamlessly fit her below waist-length hair in a helmet while going as Yuto in Part 2, and underneath a skintight latex hood in Part 1... somehow.
  • In Darths & Droids, when Kylo Ren reveals his backstory, which is compeltely different from the film version, Han is surprised to realise that this makes him a shapeshifter. Kylo retorts that how else could he pull off his helmet to reveal perfect hair?

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Selina Kyle has long, flowing blonde hair, all of which she somehow tucks underneath her mask as Catwoman. Averted with her redesign for The New Batman Adventures, where she is given Boyish Short Hair.
  • South Park:
    • When not wearing his green cap, Kyle Broflovski sports a huge "Jewfro" that's like twice the size of the hat that hid it. Afros and other curly hairstyles compress quite a bit, since much of the volume is down to the shape of the hair rather than its mass.
    • When Wendy appeared at school as "Wendyl" she kept her long hair under her hat, making it look short.
  • Similarly, in an episode of Duckman, Cornfed pulls off his rather small hat and an enormous afro-like hairdo comes ballooning into view.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko's Season Three shaggy emo boy mop can be tied neatly into a topknot.
    • Katara's slim braid disguises hair so thick it is wider than her shoulders. This is actually realistic as her hair is wavy, and thus looks bigger than it actually is.
    • Azula's little topknot/hair antennae combo, when let down, reveals waist-length locks.
    • Toph's modest bun is revealed to be a veritable afro when not properly done up.
    • Converse to the others, Sokka's warrior's wolf tail implies hair about shoulder-length, but when untied is barely level with his chin. It's also in a sort of wedge cut that would really be impossible to get into any semblance of a wolf tail.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Marge Simpson occasionally manages to fit her enormous beehive under incredibly small hats (although she's usually content with just letting them sit atop her hair instead). In one episode she imagines herself as a whaler's wife with her hair compressed inside a bonnet, and when Flanders removes it her hair shoots straight upwards.
    • Comic Book Guy gets a bit of this in an episode as well. When Bart is haggling with him over trades, he offers to throw in his "man-scrunchie". Tied back, his hair seems to be your typical balding-guy ponytail. But once unleashed, it flows with volume and sheen worthy of a salon commercial.
    • When the school staged a fake ceremony knowing Lisa will confess she cheated on a test to Comptroller Atkins who is awarding the grant money, the fake Atkins unmasks turning out to be Otto complete with his long curly hair, hat and headphones.
    • In a flashback we see Sideshow Bob wearing a small hat when he accompanies his brother to a casting to be in Krusty's show. When Krusty tries to show how the pie in the face gag is only funny if the victim has dignity, the pie causes Bob's hat to fall and his well-known, ridiculously big palm tree-like hair to spring out.
  • Kim Possible:
    • It takes no time for Kim Possible to fit her waist-length hair under a helmet, even if it's automatically popped on her head by a gadget.
    • Shego's hairdo, on the other hand, outright shrinks by 50% the only time we see her out of costume.
  • Tangled: The Series: This was necessary for Rapunzel's 70 feet of hair. For most of the show, her hair is in a braid that reaches her feet, though it’s not uncommon for it to be seen out of it.
  • There was one episode of Danny Phantom that had Sam donning a Gothic-like wedding gown. Her usual short hair suddenly seem to grow twice its size when styled into two wild ponytails. Jazz once squeezed her entire hair inside the Fenton hazmat suit she was wearing.
  • Despite having gravity-defying hair several feet tall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward villain Jammerhead is able to hide it all under his cloak without any trouble.
  • One episode of King of the Hill had Dale telling a story of his version of events. In the story, his characteristic hat falls off revealing, not his usual bald head, but what can only be described as a glorious mane of flowing hair.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Ten has a rather voluminous head of blond hair, but in costume her head is as smooth as an egg.
    • The Dee Dee twins naturally have long, blonde hair that goes past their hips. Still, most of the time they're seen in redheaded bob-length wigs.
  • Big City Greens:
    • Remy’s butler, Vasquez has his hair tied up in a small ponytail. But when taken off, his hair comes out pretty long, and edgy, like Keanu Reeves.
    • Cricket Green's ancestor Bixby has a shoulder-length mullet which he manages to stuff inside his trademark raccoon hat.
  • The futuristic Animated Adaptation of the French character Fantomette has her hide long black hair under a redhead wig no larger than a helmet.
  • Roger of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee is almost always seen wearing a blue beanie cap. When forced to take it off for picture day, he is revealed to have a truly epic afro. How epic? He needs help to get the hat back on.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Zig-Zagged for Finn. "To Cut a Woman's Hair" reveals that his hat holds a mane of blond hair bigger than himself. The episode itself ends with him cutting off most of it to give it to the Tree Witch to save Jake, and it's shown slowly growing back in later episodes.
    • Finn's Gender Flip counterpart Fionna is also shown to fit some impressively long hair under her hood in "Bad Little Boy".
  • Given a humorous twist in The Venture Brothers. A flashback to when the Monarch was just starting off as a villain revealed he used to wear a helmet instead of his crown/cowl look. The helmet wound up giving him compressed eyebrows, which poofed out when he took it off.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Xmas Story", in a scene parodying The Gift of the Magi, Zoidberg, Amy (whose hair could easily lend itself to this trope), and Hermes are all wearing hats. Zoidberg offers Amy a set of combs, only for her to take off her hat and reveal she sold her hair to a wigmaker so she could buy a set of combs for Hermes. "Oh, the irony," says Hermes, who also reveals he sold his hair to buy a third set of combs for Zoidberg. Zoidberg thanks Hermes for the combs, then takes off his hat to show he now has Amy and Hermes's hair, exclaiming "Finally, I look as pretty as I feel!"
    • Colleen from "The Beast With A Billion Backs". Her hair is of a modest length, reaching below her breastline. Later, she is seen in her police helmet, her hair unseen. But when her helmet flies off, her hair is longer than it was before, reaching below her hips and billowing in slow motion. The next time she's seen, her hair is back to it's original length. Then again, considering that scene is seconds later and she's still in her police uniform, her hair was longer only in the forlorn Fry's imagination.
  • Cyberchase: In "A Time to Cook" and "The Flying Parallinis", whenever Jackie takes out her scrunchie, her natural hair grows twice its size. She’s then able to easily smooth it back down after putting her scrunchie back in.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Pinkie Pie's chicken costume in the episode "Luna Eclipsed," which makes her seem bald. Her ears are compressed, as well; her head seems completely round.
    • The spy catsuits worn by Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie also compress their manes, but at least they make allowances for the ears.
    • When Pinkie turns into Filli-Second in "Power Ponies", she gains a catsuit which compasses most of her mane, except her forelock.
    • The astronaut costume worn by Rainbow in "Scare Master" hides her entire mane underneath its hood.
    • In the Equestria Girls "Monday Blues" music video, Sunset Shimmer is able to instantly stuff her considerable amount of hair under hoodie at a moment's notice, similar to the Dazzlings in the film example above.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • In the episode "Royal Pain," the title character manages to contain the entirety of her knee-length hair within a swimming cap.
    • In "Club Snubbed" she wears it in two small buns; one of the reasons that fans initially thought the preview clip from this episode was a flashback was because they thought her hair had to be short enough for her hairstyle to look like that.
    • In "Escape From The Pie Folk" her mother's long hair, which is just as long, is styled into a braid crown. It hasn't been cut because in the next episode, she wears her hair in a braid that is more realistic for her hair length.
  • Mipsy's surprisingly similar looking cousin in As Told by Ginger was somehow able to neatly get her long hair into a pixie cut wig.
  • Grumpy of The 7D rarely takes off his flowerpot hat, because his hair is an extreme case of this, and has unpleasant childhood memories of being pressed up against the barbershop window by his gigantic decompressed hair and being laughed at by the townspeople. Queen Delightful helps him get over it by revealing her new haircut is very similar case (covering the nearby area with hair up to her waist) and declaring him the winner of "Funniest Haircut Day". He insists she won, but ultimately they decided to call it a draw and split the reward.
  • Samurai Jack: Jack is an exceptionally egregious example of this: He is frequently victim to the Slipknot Ponytail, which shows he has a full head of thick hair that's sometimes drawn shoulder length, sometimes going halfway down his back. When his hair is done up in his samurai topknot? It's a tiny little triangle that in any anime would be a pitiful excuse for an Idiot Hair, let alone the flowing mane he's frequently shown with.
    • The very first time his hair is undone it doesn't go past his chin and is stringy. Somewhere along the line it got a lot more length and volume but looks exactly the same when tied back.
  • In Trollz the Trollz manage to hide their hair under ordinary bike helmets. Said hair is about the length of their body.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • Allura has really long, wavy, flowing hair, but is somehow able to keep it all in a small bun. It's even more jarring when she wears a helmet. However, this may be justified, as her species are able to partially shapeshift, so she could be making her hair shorter or less thick.
    • Lotor has long hair down to his waist and is somehow able to fit it all neatly under his helmet, and he doesn't even tie it. Again, he may be able to partially shapeshift due to being half Altean.
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Trixie dresses as a boy so she can buy comics while remaining a Closet Geek. She tucks her long hair under a red baseball cap.
  • On Horseland, Molly Washington has an enormous poofy bun which she easily fits under her helmet while horse riding.
  • Season 2 of Iron Man: The Animated Series gave Tony Stark a mullet. While badass, it wasn't really explained how exactly it got under his helmet all the time (or how the mullet didn't stick out of the back of his helmet).
  • Avengers Assemble: In one episode both Black Widow and Thor are able to disguise their shoulder-length hair beneath some of AIM's mesh things without it making any weird bulges.

    Real Life 
  • Some people with long hair who wear their hair up and then let it down will sometimes get comments from people who are surprised to learn just how long their hair actually is now that it's down.
    • The popularity of sock buns and hair donuts to make short hair look like it's a neat and tidy bun has resulted in the average person expecting that a bun of the same size as the most common hair donut will contain shoulder length hair. Depending on thickness and how tight the bun is, that could easily be knee length hair in there.
    • Search "bun drop" on YouTube. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A woman stands, facing away from the camera, and unfastens her bun (typically removing a hair stick). The newly freed, very long hair comes cascading down in slow motion.
    • If your hair is straight, it may be surprisingly compressible, even if it's long. A lot of period hairstyles (and, famously, Princess Leia's double-buns) actually require extra padding or hairpieces, or sometimes backcombing and a lot of hairspray, to produce the volume of hair required. (A great many photos you see from the late 19th century, for example, are achieved like this—nobody admitting to wearing it, but Great Britain imported thousands of tons of hair in this period.)
    • Wavy/curly hair often looks much more voluminous than it actually is, so braids or buns will compress it dramatically.
    • This hairstyle.
  • Just braiding hair can compress its length by about one-third, because it goes from a straight line to a wave. However, as the number of strands in the braid goes up, so does the amount of compression of the hair that is braided. Braiding is especially good for achieving Compressed Hair if the hair is braided tightly, like Jeri Ryan did to act in Star Trek: Voyager.
    • A "French braid" (one which starts at the top of the head and adds strands of hair along its length as it goes down the skull) will actually leave a tunnel in between the braid and the skull. A surprisingly long length of braid can be fed up into this tunnel and out of sight, resulting in hair which is waist-length or longer being transformed into a smooth form-fitting helmet of hair with nothing left below the nape of the neck. Only a couple of pins, combs, or hairsticks to keep the hair from slipping back out is required to maintain it.
  • Any Sikh man wearing a turban. All Sikhs are required by religious obligation to abstain from cutting any of the hair on their bodies, ever. This requirement results in impressive lengths of hair. Since Sikh men are required to wear turbans, they are putting hair at least two feet long into that turban.
  • Anyone who's ever worked in theater and was required to wear a wig has developed some impressive tricks to hiding their hair. Between pins, braids, coils, and caps, it's possible to hide quite a bit of hair under a wig. Watch this video through to the end to see how much hair Kristin Chenoweth hid under her wig while playing Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
  • Depending on how long someone's hair is, wrapping it up in a towel after washing it can have this effect.
  • A regular Speedo silicone swim cap will accommodate over two feet of straight hair of average thickness, if it's braided and coiled. There also exist special caps designed for extra long hair.
  • Hats with a fitted hatband + a floppier fabric part—such as newsboy caps or muffin hats—have a surprising amount of room for hair. Top hats, unsurprisingly, also have a lot of extra space inside. Hats designed to hug the head—such as baseball caps or cowboy hats—typically do not have room for hair. (If you bought an oversized one that you could fit your hair inside, if you ever tried to wear it with your hair down it would be so loose it would fall off.)
  • Some marching band uniforms require girls with hair past their shoulders to tie it back and shove it all inside their hats. If it won't fit, it can be tucked down the back of the jacket.
  • Phoenix Jones was hiding a hi-top fade under his superhero mask.
  • Unzie the Albino, an New Zealand aborigine who toured with Barnum and Bailey, was capable of fitting a gigantic puffy afro under a top hat. You might not have wanted to sit behind him in the theatre either way.


Video Example(s):


Jackie's Hair

Whenever Jackie takes out her scrunchie, her natural hair grows twice its size. She’s then able to easily smooth it back down after putting her scrunchie back in.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CompressedHair

Media sources: