Follow TV Tropes


Elderly Blue-Haired Lady

Go To
"Now the goose is on the table,
And the pudding made of fig, ahh,
And the blue and silver candles
That would just have matched the hair in Grandma's wig."
Elmo & Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

Grey hair has often been considered a sign of respectable old age. Unfortunately, not everyone becomes a Silver Vixen with age: those with one or two MC1R variant alleles will instead find that their hair turns an ugly dirty yellow. Older women in The '70s and earlier who wanted to be gracefully grey would therefore get their stylists to treat their yellowing hair with a blue rinse, which, with luck, would tone down the yellow and leave a silver grey. It didn't always work — for not everyone's hair absorbs the same amount of dye — and many older women walked around with distressingly blue hair. This led to this trope and also to the phrase "the blue rinse set", used in The '70s and The '80s to describe older women in general (and still used in British politics to describe old Tory women who don't think women should participate in politics and make sure that happens by taking control of local branches of the Conservative Party).

As an Evolving Trope, considering that the elderly women nowadays spent their youth in the 1970s, especially those who were punk rockers, some daring elderly women are deliberately choosing to dye their hair ocean blue, hot pink, or even more daring colors such as lemon yellow, apple green, or fire engine red.

Sub-Trope of Covering Up Your Gray.


    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animation 
  • The violent old lady in the Madagascar movies is codenamed "Bluehair" by the penguins.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alex's mother in A Clockwork Orange is shown with bluish-purplish hair. While audiences now might guess that she's a superannuated punk rocker, her color is an exaggerated blue rinse treatment.
  • In Fielder's Choice, Zach refers to an old woman he crashes into at Philip's office as "the old lady with the blue hair." The woman snaps, "This is distinguished silver, young man!"
  • Vice Admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi has pink hair and is in her early fifties. According to prequel novel, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, she does so to culturally rebel against her homeworld's celebration of being The Stoic.
  • In the (rather obscure) comedy movie Meilleu Espoir Féminin, one of the main characters is the village's hairdoer, who gets nicknamed "Schmurf" because all the old ladies come to his salon to get dyed blue. He angrily rants about dyeing the next one green, because "maybe that way they'll call me "Hulk" ! That'll at least be slightly manlier than "Schmurf" !"
  • Mallory's neglectful mother in Natural Born Killers has blue-purple hair as a reference to A Clockwork Orange.

  • Aunt Beatrice from The 39 Clues.
  • In Amelia's Notebook, there is one occasion where the titular character zones out in the lunch line and almost mistakes an elderly cafeteria worker for one of her troll dolls due to her blue-tinted hair.
  • By the end of Auntie Mame, the titular character's hair "which had all gone to gray, was rinsed to a delicate periwinkle blue". Her great-nephew notices this:
    She pressed her nose against Mike's and looked into his eyes. "I've never seen hair the color of yours, my little love. It's so red!"
    "I've never seen hair the color of yours, either," Mike said. "It's ... it's so blue!"
  • This is a cliche of the witches in Paige's coven in Dime Store Magic. She laments that for all too many of them, it's entirely true.
  • "The Hot Chestnut Horse" by Patricia H . Kibbe in volume 7 of Cricket magazine has a girl try to add a little bluing to her white horse for a show, and ending up with a blue horse. She then tries to cover it up with a chestnut-colored temp dye. Hilarity Ensues when it rains...
  • While getting registered for school in In The Year Of The Boar And Jackie Robinson, Shirley Temple Wong encounters one of these. She doesn't bat an eye, since she's already noticed that "hair comes in all colors in America."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dame Edna Everage always has exaggerated pink or purple hair in her various TV appearances.
  • In Full House Joey is trying to hunt down a woman he met. One phone number leads him to an 80+ year old woman of the same name who apparently has blue hair.
    Joey: Are you single?
  • Dorothy from The Golden Girls isn't quite blue-haired, but she's close.
  • Briefly, in an episode of iCarly, there was a green-haired old lady (who sucks on a baby pacifier).
  • Thelma Harper from Mama's Family, who was once even referred to as a "blue-haired old dragon" by her daughter-in-law.
  • Grandma Yetta from The Nanny. Taken beyond its logical extreme when Fran's other grandmother, Nettie, shows up with a pink rinse in her hair.

  • In Ray Stevens' "A Little Blue-Haired Lady", the narrator is stuck behind one who is driving 20 MPH on the interstate.
  • Referenced in Joni Mitchell's "A Strange Boy" from her Hejira album:
    While the boarders were snoring
    Under crisp white sheets of curfew
    We were newly lovers then
    We were fire in the stiff, blue-haired house rules

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Alice Green from Big City Greens has aqua blue hair. When in her youth, she's a brunette.