Hobbes: Nothing a little tonic and combing can't fix.
Essentially every person has a Bad Hair Day, it happens. Unfortunately for these characters, their bad hair days just happen to be a whole new level of bad. The characters will find themselves in a situation where they need a haircut... only for the haircut to go horribly wrong. But typically the bad haircut will only last one episode and it'll be back to normal by the next episode. Usually overlaps with Traumatic Haircut except while the haircut will be traumatic for the victim, it's always Played for Laughs, so it could be seen as a subversion of the Traumatic Haircut. The situation quite often involves getting gum in the hair. Variations can include a child character going wild with a pair of scissors (either on their own hair or on some other unfortunate victim's), bad dye jobs which may or may not result in actual hair getting cut to solve the problem, or losing a bet and ending up with a shaved head or otherwise intentionally bad haircut.
- Shun from You and Me asks his friends to cut a little of his hair off because of the summer heat. They end up cutting off a large chunk of it. He looks fine but is aggravated because his hair becomes wavy when short. Shun's displeasure doesn't stop him from keeping his hair short the rest of the series.
- Puella Magi Kazumi Magica plays with this trope for the better: Kazumi goes to get a haircut, but the stylist cuts off most of her hair. In a sense, this is an Establishing Character Moment since, metaphorically, cutting off hair is a sign of a new start in life. Of course, most, including her friends, don't like this new look since her long hair was shown on the cover.
- In GTO: The Early Years, a barber accidentally shaves Eikichi's head (with its elaborate Delinquent Hair) right before a date. He ends up having to wear a wig.
- A Played for Drama example occurs in Wandering Son. The protagonist wishes to get a pixie cut she saw on a female model, however due to the fact she's beginning puberty it turns out looking masculine instead of feminine. Nitori eventually begins growing it out but keeps it short.
- An early storyline in Calvin and Hobbes has Hobbes cutting Calvin's hair. He keeps getting it uneven and trying to fix it, until Calvin is left with no hair at all. Bill Watterson has commented that one of the few times he ever laughed at his own comic was after drawing the results of Calvin's haircut.
- A Peanuts storyline had Peppermint Patty going to get her hair cut, but the barber (Charlie Brown's father) thought Patty was a boy and cut it accordingly. Patty winds up wearing a big blond curly wig to hide it.
- Unintentionally invoked by comedian Stan Laurel (one half of the Laurel And Hardy duo) who had shaved his head to play a prisoner in one film, but as his hair grew back, it tended to stick out in an awkward manner eliciting laughter from his coworkers, much to his delight. And so he adopted it as part of his on-screen Stan Laurel persona.
- In It Takes Two, Amanda spits gum into Clarisse's hair so the next time we see Clarisse, she has a truly awful hairdo.
- Mr Troop Mom one girl gets gum in her hair that must be cut out. Her hair still looks fine afterwards.
- Ramona & Bezus has the former making a tiara out of bur seeds, them getting stuck to her hair and having to be cut out.
- Early in Revenge of the Nerds III, Harold Skolnick and Ira Poppus get shaved behind their heads the word "NERDS" by the local Jerk Jocks. They later get their revenge when they come for a haircut at a barber shop, this time reading "NERDS RULE".
- In Serial an angry hairdresser chops off Tuesday Weld's hair when she brags about her new man, who happens to be the hairdresser's boyfriend.
- Happens in Paddington 2 when Paddington tries to work in a barbershop. The haircutting victim ends up being the judge in Paddington's trial, and along with stealing the book, Paddington is charged with "grievous barberly harm".
- Anne of Green Gables was annoyed about her red hair and bought some hair dye from a peddler on the road hoping to turn it black. It ended up green and had to be cut off. The hair grew back though.
- A lot of the plot of the original Clémentine title rotates around this. When Clementine's friend Margaret gets glue on her hair, she has Clementine give her a haircut, using plastic art scissors, only for most of it to end up getting cut off. Clementine then colors it with marker, but this only makes things worse. Later, she ends up cutting off most of her own hair in sympathy for Margaret.
- In The Baby-Sitters Club spin-off series Little Sister book Karen's Haircut, Karen—in a desire to feel prettier because of her glasses, large front teeth, and losing two teeth in one day—convinces her parents to let her go to a new salon to get a haircut and manicure. The stylist, Gloriana, cuts Karen's hair much shorter than she wants (in the 90s books it's a mullet, in the graphic novel it's a boy-short cut) while Lisa is out with her younger brother Andrew for a moment. Karen cries all the way out of the salon, and her classmates tease her when they see her next in school.
- Downplayed but no less hilarious in Little Women. When Meg is having her hair curled for a party, the careless Jo ends up burning the lock she was meant to be curling. Luckily for Meg, she's able to cover it up with a ribbon.
- Ant and Dec had a short-lived skit on their TV show called "Beat the Barber" - where a child would answer questions and have their head shaved if they got them wrong. The first two contestants were boys, but the show attracted a storm of controversy when a girl was the third. Moral Guardians complained, not realising the skit was scripted and the girl had volunteered for it. According to her, the initial plan was for her to have her head shaved like the boys. But they were unwilling to shave a girl's head, and just gave her a bob instead.
- The 10th Kingdom has Virginia get long hair from a spell and Wolf takes a magic axe to it, leaving her with a very short hairstyle. One of the rare occasions where the haircut isn't fixed with a Hair Reboot.
- In Babylon 5, Delenn begs Ivanova for help with her new head of human-esque hair. Minbari don't bathe the same way humans do, and the compound they use to clean with does not play nicely with human hair. Ethereal, dignified Delenn ends up looking like she's got a fright wig on! She's so embarrassed she can't even leave her quarters until she gets Ivanova's help.
Delenn: Commander. I want you to understand that I took on human characteristics in order to bring your people and mine closer together. To symbolize out mutuality. It is supposed to be a dignified, inspiring transition for both humans and Minbari, so will you please explain to me why this, this... this...
Ivanova: Uh... hair.
Delenn: ...refuses to cooperate?!
- On The Big Bang Theory, Penny persuades Sheldon to cut his hair. All goes well up until the very end, when, while she is trimming the back of his neck, a ticklish Sheldon moves and Penny accidentally shears a bald spot off the back of the head. He doesn't notice it right away, but Penny muses that she might have to move when he does.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine has this happen to Rosa in the episode "The Crime Scene", rather surprisingly given her usual personality. It turns out that Rosa's girlfriend is in cosmetology school and needs someone to practice on. So she has an entirely new haircut in every scene. It serves both as a means to show the passage of time, inverting Hairstyle Inertia, and to give levity to an otherwise serious Locked Room Mystery.
- The five-minute short series Bus Life has Jess get gum in her hair and must be "operated on". It's a Double Subversion, as Jess ended up with a stylish bob - but the episode ended showing a bald spot on the back of her head.
- An offscreen variation happened in Charmed. Actress Rose McGowan dyed her hair red between seasons and the characters joked in the season premiere that a potion blew up on her and turned it red.
- Coronation Street's Janice Battersby got paranoid about catching headlice from two of the street's children, and drunkenly gets Sean to shave her head bald. He waits until after he's finished to sheepishly say he's never done it before.
"I look like I've just got out of a prison camp!"
- A Different World had an episode where some guys did this to Ron as a joke. It was so bad that Ron's ROTC teacher allowed him to wear a cap during class.
- Doctor Who: In "Amy's Choice", in the Leadworth dream, Rory sports an absolutely hideous ponytail. The Doctor does not hesitate to point it out, and volunteers to cut it off for him.
- Sonia in EastEnders was unlucky enough to fall asleep while her daughter was playing hairdresser.
- Happens to Monica in the season 2 premiere of Friends. She tries to get Phoebe to give her Demi Moore's hairstyle but Pheebs mixes her up with Dudley Moore. The end of the episode implies she's going to give Julie the "Roddy McDowall cut" (instead of Andie MacDowell).
- In H₂O: Just Add Water Emma gets sick of being dependable and decides to colour her hair. Unfortunately the colour she chooses is called "scarlet fever"...
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Marshall got a twofer when Lily's cousin gave him bleached blond highlights an hour before his wedding. In desperation he grabs a razor and shaves directly through the middle of his hair, as seen in the page image. After a few seconds he realises that he's made it even worse and starts screaming in horror. Lily eventually borrows a hat from a gardener to cover it up, something Marshall ruefully points out to Ted and Barney.
- Robin got some bad highlights in the penultimate episode of Season 1. Once he saw them, Ted did not hold back with Tony the Tiger jokes.
- Ted himself falls victim to this in the Season 5 finale. The others convince him to dye his hair blond for the episode. It becomes a Chekhov's Gag when he and Robin have an Almost Kiss. She knocks his cap off and the sight of the hair makes her burst out laughing.
- The 1950s B/W series I Married Joan has an episode where Joan goes to get her hair styled for a college reunion, and ends up with an awful new do called the "panda cut".
- The fourfold punishment on Impractical Jokers had this for each guy; impressively, each one was horrible in its own way.
- In The Last Man on Earth, Phil gets the whole right side of his body shaved off as a prank by his brother Mike.
- An episode of Lizzie McGuire involved a prank war between Kate and Miranda and one of Miranda's pranks involved putting green hair dye in Kate's shampoo.
- In The Middle, Sue accidentally burns off part of her hair with a cheap curling iron the night before she heads off to college. She ends up cutting the rest to match, turning it into an Important Haircut.
- A Mr. Bean sketch involves the titular character accidentally get mistaken for a barber when he goes for a haircut, resulting in a string of these for the hapless customers. Played with in one case, where a young boy who ends up with a long shaven stripe in the middle of his head actually quite likes it, but his mother certainly does not.
- The CBBC series Mike and Angelo had Katie's hair ruined after an unusually large trumpet blew her into another room so Angelo's machine tried to fix it for her. She ended up looking like a man.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
- Sabrina cast a spell to make her hair fall out (hoping to get her aunts' attention) and they hired a specialist (played by Ru-Paul) to give her a purple version of Marge Simpson's hairdo. She then gave Salem the same hairdo at the end of the episode.
- Earlier when Sabrina went to 'Witch Camp' and complained, her Drill Sergeant Nasty magicked her hair into a flat-top in response.
- One of the novelizations has Sabrina discover that her aunts have done this to Salem in the climax. He had insulted them, not knowing they were listening, and they punished him by turning his coat pink. And will apparently change to purple within the hour.
- Seinfeld made a whole episode out of Jerry getting a bad haircut. Ironically thanks to Fashion Dissonance, the haircut he didn't like looks more appealing than his '90s Hair.
- Played with in USA High. Lazz discovers a talent for hairdressing and starts doing all the girls' hair. When Lauren finally gives in and gets him to do hers, he goofs and dyes it bright green. When he tries to fix it, Lauren runs out screaming with her hair seemingly falling out. Then she pulls of the wig and reveals she'd just been playing a joke.
- One episode of Taxi involves Elaine getting an absolutely hideous new hairdo from a smarmy unrepentant hairdresser (played by Ted Danson of all people). Louie ends up dumping a bowl of noxious goo over the man's head in revenge.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Pumaman episode. Inspired by the film's title character, Mike asks the Nanites to give him "the dry look". Unfortunately, he offends the hairdresser and she goes a little too dry...as in, Mike has a desert on his scalp, complete with a miniature cactus. Crow thinks they could fix it if they just manage to redirect a river onto Mike's head, however.
- The 3rd episode of The New Edition Story miniseries re-enacts one that actually happened to Bobby Brown. During the filming of the "Every Little Step" music video, Bobby's barber got too wrapped up in trying to flirt with the girls in the video shoot, and accidentally cut a chunk of Bobby's flat top off at an angle. with only a few minutes to go before the shoot, the barber hastily cut the rest to match the slant, resulting in Bobby's "Gumby" haircut.
Bobby: (angrily) Man, what the hell!? You got me lookin' like Gumby!
- Schitt's Creek: In Season 5, Jocelyn is disappointed to learn that the band Poison has canceled their concert at a nearby casino. She, Moira and some of the Jazzagals go to the casino anyway, getting drunk and stoned along the way. Moira encourages Jocelyn to continue to "rock on" despite her age, and so Jocelyn gets a haircut that is inspired by her days as a teenage Poison fan.
- In a Kate & Allie episode, Jenny gets a haircut that is apparently so horrible she insists on wearing a hat everywhere. We never see it—though her younger brother claims "She looks like Mr. T!", but it's apparently awful enough to be "censored" for Emma's video documentary after her family finally convinces her to take the hat off. Sure enough, she's back to normal by the next episode.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete: When Big Pete gets his introverted barber to talk to him, he gets distracted and shaves most of his head, leaving just some hair in the front. This was apparently done so his actor Michael C. Morona could play a punk in an episode of Law & Order.
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Women In Garbage", Diane's daughters Ivy and Zoe chop off large sections of their hair with Ann's medical scissors while pretending to play doctors cutting off body parts in surgery. Ron freaks out over this, as he really wants to show Diane that she can trust him with her children. Diane takes it in stride, stating this isn't the worst thing she's seen little kids do when they go wild with a pair of scissors and is simply relieved that they didn't hurt themselves.
- Miss Kitty got one from Terri Runnels, on the pretense of giving her a makeover. Kitty wore a series of brightly colored wigs that matched her outfits for a while afterwards.
- Sylvester Lefort lost a Hair vs Hair match but his manager Marcus Louis ended up with the hair removal cream dumped on his head instead, ending up bald. Please note that hair removal cream should *never* be used on the head.
- Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: Chin Shao-yeh gets one as part of his Humiliation Conga at the hands of the amnesiac Chi Lu-Jen.
- An early three-part sketch on Sesame Street had Ernie playing barber and cutting off all of Bert's hair.
- In the Chilean kids show 31 Minutos one of the songs featured in Policarpo's Ranking Top is called "Me cortaron mal el pelo" (lit. "They cut my hair wrong") which talks about how the singer tried to save money on a hairdresser and they cut his hair wrong and how all his friends are going to tease him for it.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "The Hairdo". Miss Enright instructs the hairdresser to sabotage Miss Brook’s hairdo.
- "Bad Haircut", one of Nickelodeon's numerous "Clickamajig" mini-games hosted on their website back in the day, revolves around a boy receiving numerous silly/bad haircuts at a barbershop while trying to get ready for a school dance. The haircuts range from ending up with everything from clown hair, Leia-hairbuns, a near-bald disaster area, and even having his brain exposed. When you end the game by having the boy cry out that he wants to go home, the barber gives him a haircut that looks just like the one he originally came in with except with "Kick Me" shaved into the back of his head, which the boy gladly accepts.
- Fable: One sidequest has a man convince the Hero to get a ridiculous haircut, beard, and moustache in order to start a Romance Sidequest. After it's done, he admits that he just likes making Heroes look stupid.
- Rhythm Heaven Megamix has a barbershop-themed remix level. Failing it results in a "Try Again" screen showing a disappointed boy with a badly-chopped top ponytail after a bad haircut. The "OK" screen is only slightly better, showing the boy looking surprised with choppy hair after his haircut.
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon has this be a plot point that sticks for the rest of the game. Ichiban Kasuga has just gotten out of prison after doing an 18-year stretch and seeks out a salon to get his punch perm back. Problem is, the punch perm is a highly complicated haircut that has gone out of style since then (in large part because of its association with the yakuza) and the hairdresser who does his hair is a young woman who has to google what it is and completely screws it up, leaving him with a Funny Afro that he's stuck with for the rest of the game.
- Poor Park Hyung Suk in Lookism had his hair cut to look like Kim Jong Un's because of a "funny" hairdresser.
- In Ozy and Millie, there's a running gag about Ozy (an anthropomorphic fox) ending up losing all his hair due to different circumstances.
- This has happened several times in Stubble Trouble, twice to Rosie when she was cooking.
- In El Goonish Shive, Nanase's hair grows out of control as a result of her latent magic conflicting with the effect of a Magitek device and she asks Sarah to shave her head to prevent the hair from becoming too heavy for her to support her head. When Sarah starts the hair clipper, Justin somehow senses the imminent loss of such long hair (which he would have loved to play with) and gives a Big "NO!". Within a couple strips it grows back again but shorter than before.
- In Bloody Urban, Camille lets her colourblind boyfriend help her re-do her hair dye and it goes about as well as you'd expect.
- In the prequel comic of What's Normal Anyway?, Mel gives himself a haircut in high school. It doesn't go well.
- Two friends willingly do this to each other in this video.
- The Reddit community r/Justfuckmyshitup collects pictures of really strange haircuts.
- The Actors Life Podcast was started up during the COVID-19 pandemic when barbers and hairdressers were closed, so the results of a few quarantine haircuts can be seen.
"I look like an acorn."
- Anthony O'Reilly Jr stops his interview to address his haircut. Originally his girlfriend cut it decently, but then he tried to cut a little bit more off and regretted it at once.
- Robbie Walsh was the opposite; normally sporting a crew cut, and his hair had grown out.
- Greg Young likewise appeared with a buzz cut for most of his co-hosting interviews, as well as his own.
- Adam Douglas had just gotten a lockdown haircut for his interview, which he wasn't happy with, and shaved his head a week later.
- Subverted with Jordan Lennon, who gave himself a buzz cut the day before his interview, and kept it for a while because he suited the style so well. He even sported it for his "Poisoned City" music video.
- Bobby himself sports a buzz cut for a good amount of the interviews for this reason, joking that whenever he's wearing his orange bandana is to cover up a bad hair day.
- In 6teen, Caitlin ends up with a red mullet after "cheating" on her hairdresser.
- The 7D: One of Jollywood's various holidays is "Funniest Haircut Day", and most of the main cast gets a Gag Haircut (most of which somehow lead to a hair lengthening) as part of a contest. Officially, the winner is Grumpy (with his haircut being an extreme case of long hair that fills the barber shop to the rim as soon as his hat was taken off), but Grumpy believes Queen Delightful (with a similar extreme case of hair decompression) the winner, so they split the reward.
- In American Dad!, Hayley dyes her hair green at a Green Party rally. Stan cuts it off while she's asleep.
- In an episode of Arthur Francine and Muffy decide to cut all their hair off during a head lice scare. They have some fun by sneaking into the boys' bathroom and pretending to be boys.
- Codename: Kids Next Door had this when Mr. Boss (who is also Numbah 86's father) try to give his children haircuts himself because he doesn't want to pay five dollars to have a barber cut his children's hair. Unsurprisingly he's horrible at it (one shot of his son post-haircut shows a soda can somehow stuck to his head.)
- In an episode of The Cramp Twins Dorothy takes Lucian and Wayne to the barber's and becomes obsessed with cleaning it, eventually washing all his tools in a freakishly strong floor polish. He then uses the tools to cut her sons' hair and it ends up half falling out.
- Dan Vs.: Dan goes to the barber for a haircut to prepare himself for a date with a girl, who happens to be the daughter of the barber. When the latter discovers this, he intentionally butchers Dan's hair, prompting Dan to get vengeance on the barber.
- In an episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dee Dee accidentally cuts one of her pigtails off and gets a serum from Dexter to grow them back. The hair ends up taking over the house.
- Donald Duck: In the 1937 cartoon Modern Inventions. Donald Duck walks up to the Barber Cut machine and examines it. He then sits down and uses his coin on a string to turn on the machine. He tells the machine "Give me the Works" which the barber cut machine does but not without flipping him upside down in the chair with his rear end sticking up and locked in the chair while his head is locked on on the shoe shiner. The machine mistakes Donald's rear end for his head and clips his tail feathers and puts the hot towel on his butt, while his head is getting painted with black shoe polish and shined. The machine finishes off by parting his butt and curling his tail into a pig tail. The barber machine puts the hat on Donald's rear end and sets him down and Donald put's his hat on the head, but Donald's last hat gets taken away from the Robot Butler and he throws a temper tantrum.
- Futurama: At the start of Bender's Big Score as the main characters are (re)introduced, we get to Amy, and see that she has had time to grow her hair down to her waist since the series got cancelled... only for Bender to flame-burp over her, burning it back to its original length and style. Funnily enough, this was the second time that had happened.
- Jeannie (Hanna-Barbera's version) goes to a hairdresser and tells the guy too late to not cut her ponytail. She and Babu spend the rest of the episode trying to grow the hair back. It gets so long it runs down the street by itself and is mistaken for a fuzzy red serpent.
- In Mega Man: Fully Charged, the show's version of Albert Wily attempts to divert bullying from Aki by giving himself a variant of his iconic hairstyle from the games.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Rarity: Imagine her mane being turned into a porcupine.
- The episode "Games Ponies Play" has Rarity's disastrous first attempt at styling Cadance's mane into the Royal Ceremonial Headdress.
- In "It's About Time" Spike accidentally burps out a jet of fire that singes Twilight's mane.
- In The Owl House episode "Thanks to Them", one of the entries in Luz's video diary has her showing off a sword she bought at a convention and proudly proclaiming that she's going to try cutting her hair with it. The very next entry reveals she went through with it, and that the results weren't pretty.
Luz: That was a bad idea!
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Bad Hair Day", Candace's disastrous attempt at a do-it-yourself haircut kicks off the plot of the episode.
- In the episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) called "The Mane Event", Bubbles and Buttercup accidentally rip a chunk out of Blossom's hair and do a scary tidy-up job. Even the Monster of the Week finds it funny. Blossom gets revenge by singing her sisters' hair with her eye beams at the end of the episode.
- Moving forward to the 2016 reboot, the episode "Bubbles of the Opera" has Bubbles getting a bad haircut by the photographer lady after Buttercup gives the stylist a free burger coupon as payment.
- The aptly titled Recess episode "Bad Hair Day" followed the gum plot with TJ's attempts to fix it and giving Mikey an awful haircut. They lied to say a famous band had the same cut. The fun starts when the other kids hear this and decide they want the haircut as well.
- Rugrats: Chaz lets Chuckie cut his hair in hope of showing him it doesn't hurt. Chuckie goes a little overboard. He ends up bald at the end.
- Sabrina: The Animated Series:
- Harvey's imaginary friend Mort has fun messing up Sabrina's hair. He ends up shaving it all off and growing it back five seconds later.
- Secondly, two faeries persuade Gem to cut her hair into a mohawk, saying it's the latest trend in Canada.
- When the girls accidentally turn their Drill Sergeant Nasty of a nanny into a Granola Girl, she tie-dyes Salem's coat.
- In the spin-off Sabrina's Secret Life, Sabrina and Cassandra do this to Maritza in revenge for asking Harvey to the dance note . They use magic to turn Maritza's hair into multicoloured spikes. Also when she goes into the bathroom, Cassandra bewitches the hand dryer to explode, singing the rest of her hair.
- The Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" had Lisa getting gum in her hair and finally going to the hairdresser after trying everything to get the gum out. (She actually liked the trendy haircut he gave her... Until Nelson laughed at her.)
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Squidward Tentacles is usually known for being bald. However, in "Karate Choppers", he ends up getting an impromptu hairpiece from SpongeBob unknowingly throwing Krabby Patties on his head.
Mr. Krabs: So, ya' got the hairpiece after all!
SpongeBob: Nice hairpiece, Squidward.
- Teacher's Pet episode "Bad Fur Day" when everyone in school, except for Spot/Scott himself, mock at Leonard's traumatic haircut, causing him to shrink. After realizing his mistake, Scott reveals his new haircut and gives out a passionate persuasive speech, inspiring the kids to not judge someone for how they look. In the end, everyone gets a hybrid poodle buzzcut, to which Scott refers to them as wannabes.
- Happens to Kitty (and usually someone else) in almost every episode of T.U.F.F. Puppy.
- Inverted in The Weekenders episode "Tish's Hair", where Tish gives herself a new hairstyle with fuzzy buns on either side of her head. Her friends hate it and think she'll become a laughing stock...but then everyone shows up to school with the same hair.