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Improbable Hairstyle

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"And Kate... Harmony Hairspray, anyone?"
AlMiles of The Doctor Who Forum on Robin Hood

A very mild relative of Anime Hair, related to Wakeup Makeup, that declines in two variations: anachronistic and maintenance.

Anachronistic improbable hairstyle has to do with hairstyles that are very much unlikely, and yet go unnoticed, or would simply be difficult to maintain in the time period, for lack of necessary material or because the hairstyle hadn't been invented in that era. Basically, it makes you say "How is that even possible!?". Remember that the way people look in Hollywood History is based on the Rule of Cool, not on advice from professional historians. So characters from a period piece film or show set in the 1700s may have trendy hairstyles from the year the production is shot.

Maintenance-improbable hairstyle are hairstyles that are uncannily maintained while stranded on islands, alien planets, the past, spaceships, or in post-apocalyptic wastelands... despite the lack of access to a hairstylist and hair products. Like dreadlocks, which require regular maintenance, or multi-colored mohawks, which require dye, gel, and a hairdryer. Sometimes the hairstyle is feasible in the general setting, but it's unrealistic if the character was just pulled out of the water after a shipwreck or they've walked ten miles in a rainstorm.

May sometimes be because of the Rule of Sexy or because the hair has actual magic properties.

Compare Improbable Hairstyle Sequence.

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Examples of Anachronistic

    Anime and Manga 
  • Afro Samurai: The title character has an afro. It is set in a world that pretty much defines Anachronism Stew.
  • Hild, of Ah! My Goddess fame, is very guilty of this. Her hair manages to be extremely beautiful, yet there seems to be no way it could actually be done. Factor in that she has TONS of hair ornaments in there as well, all very strategically placed, and magic then seems the only way she's doing it.
  • As the DVD Commentary mentions, it's highly unlikely that Baccano!'s Graham Spector, a 1930s American mechanic/Talkative Loon, would ever be able to get or maintain that J-rocker haircut of his.
  • Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin gives us Number Nine's hair, which resembles a fish sticking out from the top of his head, Masako's, which looks like a star, and has Striker as the ultimate winner, with a scythe-like hair-style, though his is made fun of in-universe (not because it's improbable, but because it's potentially dangerous).
  • Black Butler: While mundane by Anime standards, most characters' haircuts would be ridiculous in Victorian England. Though Sebastian's Bishie bangs are Lampshaded in the manga, Undertaker's, Druitt's and Edgar Redmond's fabulous 'do's are Unusually Uninteresting Sights.
  • Buso Renkin: Hideyuki Okakura, the most hyperactive and loud of Kazuki's friends, has a ridiculously large pompadour that would be impossible in real life without some internal support.
  • Gosick gives us Victorique's brother Grevil, who has a rather iconic hairstyle, to put it mildly...
  • In Laid-Back Camp, Ena is skilled at styling hair into a variety of objects including a bear's head, a pagoda and saguaro cactus.
  • Ping Pong: Ota, full stop. It looks like dreadlocks meets deer antlers.
  • REDLINE: 'Sweet' JP's hair, best described as the most epic pompadour to ever be shown in anime.
  • Saint Seiya: Sagitta Ptolemy who has three horn like bangs on one side, flat at the crown and the other has his hair going the other direction in the same way.
  • Mugen, from Samurai Champloo, manages to maintain a strangely spiky hairstyle in (approximately) 18th-century Japan without raising eyebrows. But, you know, hair can get pretty stiff when you never bathe.

    Comic Books 
  • Monica's Gang: The Gang has a few, most notably Cebolinha/Jimmy Five, which has only five spiky — and sharp — strands of hair (so weird that dolls and live-action portrayals give him six instead, so his whole head is covered) — the unnoticed part is mostly averted.
  • Several characters in Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen sport anachronistic hairstyles that seem extremely improbable for characters in the US military during WWII, even allowing that these are Boxed Crooks recruited from military prisons, and would be more at home in the 1970s when the book was written that the 1940s when it is set. These include 'Bullseye' Miller's afro, Jay Little Bear's mohawk, and Donald Samples Zapata moustache.

    Comic Strips 
  • Alice's fluffy triangle in Dilbert. And the famous Pointy-Haired Boss with his hair-horns. At times, other managers in the strip have been shown having something similar, so pointy hair seems to be an actual symptom of becoming a manager.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the 1949 version of Alice in Wonderland, the Knave of Hearts has long dark hair parted in the middle that swoops into two huge curls sticking out on either side of his head. It's very reminiscent of buffalo horns, oddly enough. While this is Wonderland we're talking about, his hairdo still stands out as especially bizarre here. He and his fellow face cards are depicted as the medieval nobility you'd see in a traditional pack of cards, with even the other Knaves having the typical pageboy cuts to go along with that look.
  • Clash of the Titans (2010): Perseus manages to maintain a buzzcut while travelling the world for months on end. It's worth noting he was originally going to start out with long hair and would get the buzz as part of an Important Haircut. But the scenes didn't look too good on camera so they were scrapped.
  • The original Clash of the Titans isn't exempt either. Harry Hamlin's Perseus sports a rather obvious '80s perm.
  • Cindy Lou-Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! sports a rather humongous curly bun which resembles a bottle, and has two braids clamped to it with hair clips.
  • Elizabeth Curtis from the Deborah Kerr adaptation of King Solomon's Mines gets sick of her waist length hair in the humid African jungle and hacks a slice out of it. When it cuts to the next scene she has cut it short into a perfectly styled short do. That style might have been fashionable in the 1950s when the film came out but the film is set in the 1800s when women didn't have short hair. Test audiences actually laughed their heads off at the scenes when they first saw them that the producers nearly removed them. But they couldn't explain Elizabeth's change of hairstyle so they kept the improbable scenes in the film.
  • Jocelyn from A Knight's Tale has a lot of 80's punk-inspired hairstyles — one of which included her hair being highlighted purple — for a woman who lives in freakin' 12th century England, but it's understandable since the whole film is based around anachronisms.
  • In Marie Antoinette (2006), before she goes to France, she is very clearly seen with a modern hairstyle, complete with hair cut in layers and multiple shades of highlights. The film uses devices like this and Marie wearing modern converse sneakers to show much of a fish out of water she is.
  • In Meet Me in St. Louis (set in 1903-4, released 1944) the characters all have 1940s hairstyles. Rose and Esther also wear their hair down, when girls their age would surely have worn it up.
  • Takeshi Kitano's version of Zatoichi is blonde. Very, very blonde.

  • Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart: Shadow in the North features a black guy in late 1870s London with dreadlocks. While dreadlocks are one of the oldest hairstyles known to man and common in African societies, it was not exactly common in London at the time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "The Vampires of Venice" has a black girl, Isabella, living in Venice in 1580, sporting pin-straight hair centuries before the development of hairstyling products and techniques that would allow for it.
  • Hair Battle Spectacular was a "fantasy hair" competition reality series that aired for two seasons on Oxygen.
  • Little House on the Prairie was infamous for Michael Landon's huge 1970s perms in The Wild West.
  • The contestants on Ru Paul's Drag Race often fashion elaborate wigs as part of their drag ensembles. Yara Sofia from season three was particularly known for this.
  • In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Crixus sports a modern military crew cut. While the Romans did invent the military cut, it was more like the one Spartacus is forced to get. You're not getting it shaved that tight without electric clippers. Lucretia is a subversion. We see her with improbable red hair but the third episode reveals she wears wigs — which is Truth in Television for many Roman noble women. Also Spartacus's wife Sura has a modern layered haircut with a fringe.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • There's an episode in which a clone of Riker had spent eight years stranded on a lifeless planet, in a building that was basically an abandoned warehouse. When he's finally rescued by the Enterprise, he's sporting a groomed hairstyle as if he had just stepped out of a hairdresser's studio, not to mention he's also rocking a perfectly trimmed beard. Probably an Enforced Trope due to Jonathan Frakes Acting for Two.
    • In "Half a Life" Lwaxana Troi speaks of a former Betazoid custom of women wearing elaborate hair styles, often incorporating live caged animals. Sadly no exemplars were offered.
  • Speaking of Star Trek, the Original Series featured some truly insane "dos" on the heads of female officers and crew. Somewhere on the Enterprise 1701 there was a top notch beauty parlor. As for the Aliens!!!

    Professional Wrestling 
  • "Exotic" Adrian Street's pigtails might not be exceptionally odd to a viewer in the 2000s (just regular odd) but to a viewer in the 1950s, they were. Even more so because he was a man.
  • Earthquake wrestled practically bald on the top of his head with a lot of hair on the sides, which was the exact opposite of what was popular in the early 1990s. Luna Vachon also played with the look, by shaving the sides, having a moderate amount on the top (a lot by 1990s standards but she got a pass for starting in the 80s) and then long in the back.

    Video Games 

Examples of Maintenance

    Anime and Manga 
  • The protagonist of AIR is able to retain his spiky hair despite being a homeless traveling puppeteer in the beginning.
  • Lampshaded in Dragon Ball, where it's explained that full-blooded Saiyans like Goku and Vegeta keep the same hairstyle from where they were born. Goku's even had his hair chopped off, only for it to return to normal in the very next panel (or so).
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Downplayed. Envy has very thin, very long, wispy hair that somehow spreads outwards from their body, creating a shape that many fans compare to a palm tree. Granted they're a shapeshifter, but there is no way they use a completely human form to get hair like that.
  • Inuyasha has two locks of hair over his shoulders that remain separate from his considerably long hair no matter what he goes through, up to and including getting smashed through cliffs.
  • Kodocha: Sana's mother, whose hair is a combination of this, nice hat, and miniature mobile theme park for the family's pet squirrel.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Trowa Barton's enormous bangs manage to defy gravity despite spacesuit helmets, combat conditions, and the occasional quadruple flip with a double twist.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Setsuna's hair probably isn't outright impossible. However, she has bangs on only one side of her face, a weird spiky ponytail on one side while the other lets that hair just hang down naturally. And judging by her picture on the Negima character page, there appears to be another random hairband on the "normal" haircut side of her head.
  • Nobunaga no Chef: In the live action adaptation, Ken somehow manages to keep his hair immaculately short with well-trimmed bangs. (In the manga, Ken has waist-length hair that he keeps in a low ponytail.)
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Look at most of the characters in Pokemon, along with the hair color: they're downright ridiculous!
    • A good example would be Jessie's gravity-defying hair that curls only at the end and may be used as a blunt instrument. In a Kalos episode she wore it in a realistic bun, but it popped back up to its normal shape when she fell down.
    • Iris's ridiculously long, rug-like hair. It's large enough that Axew hides in it rather then going into a Pokeball.
    • Team Flare's ice-cream cone hairstyles (that also unfortunately has a rather... scatological look to them)
    • Jasmine, Marinz, and Lyra all have anti-gravity pigtails.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • Croissant-headed Emerald. Best part is that he uses gel, not to mention it isn't waterproof! Pearl also has the same hairstyle (and color).
    • The Sinnoh chairman has a hairstyle that appears to be a giant serving of soft-serve ice cream.
  • Pretty Cure: While their normal hairstyles are pretty basic and easy to perform, many of the Cures' hairstyles when transformed, especially those post-HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, can get ridiculous.
    • Cure Berry from Fresh Pretty Cure! and Cure Beat from Suite Pretty Cure ♪ have huge side ponytails that realistically would make them tip over sideways, or at least give them neck pain.
    • Miyuki from Smile PreCure! is a notable example outside of Cure form. She has two drills that stick out from the sides of her head with bows that sit perfectly on top of them. How she's able to style her hair in this manner on a daily basis is left to be seen.
    • Cure Princess and Cure Sky have very long pigtails, and somehow they never get tangled or trip over them.
    • Cure Mermaid's hair looks and flows like it is made out of water, and yet she never gets wet from it, nor is it a hazard.
    • Cure Star's long pigtails have giant odangeos at the ends with rings around them, like she has two miniature Saturns on her head.
    • Cure La Mer from Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure has pearl decorations in her hair. Simple, right? Nope; they are physically built into her hair.
    • Cure Spicy from Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure has her hair twisted into a giant ring on top of her head, with little trails flowing down to her ankles.
    • Princess Elle from Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure has an absurd amount of hair for a one-year-old baby; it's down to her thighs, and she has little wing pigtails as well.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami, with her massive twin-drills. The Movie actually justifies it by revealing that she actually uses her magic to make her hair sit that way.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The odangos and her relatives stay incredibly pristine throughout their battles. There is only one notable episode where Usagi's hair is destroyed by battle. The war-torn appearance of all the senshi at the end of the third season was to accentuate how tough this battle was. Other than that, there's usually no damage done to their ridiculous up dos during battle. Any cosplayer can tell you that those buns take a pack of hairpins and a can of hairspray to stay in for half a day. Forget the acrobatics.
    • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon subverts this. When in their civilian forms, the girls have normal hair (notably Usagi's buns are much more reasonable) and gain their Senshi hairstyles when they transform. Presumably A Wizard Did It to keep their hair in place. Their clothes never get damaged either.
    • Sailor Moon Crystal has a moment where it shows Usagi use a hairpin to keep the buns in place more likely to show off the animation rather than how it actually works.
  • Tao Jun from Shaman King does not seem to obey the rules of hair as they apply to humans. Her hair style doesn't look like it would stand up to weeks of tromping through the wild west, and yet it does. When she has her hair down, it magically becomes several inches shorter. Finally, there's a scene where we actually see her doing her hair, something that should take a good day and a half, what with all of the gluing, hairspraying, clamping in place until it dries, and praying for the whole thing to stay up. Three hairclips, five seconds, and she's all finished, spikes included.
  • Shiki is apparently set in a universe where you are required to have laughably impossible hairstyles by law.
  • Tiger & Bunny's Kotetsu has a very distinctive beard that, in real life, would take entirely too much time and skill with a razor for a guy like Kotetsu to manage. (Have you ever shaved your facial hair to resemble a cat?) Sunrise seems to acknowledge this, as Antonio has occasionally declared him a "beard narcissist" due to the amount of effort he puts into maintaining it.
  • Witch Hunter Robin: The titular character is surrounded by people with very mundane (if somewhat dated) hairstyles. Robin herself, however, apparently spends a great deal of effort putting her hair up in those odd wraps every morning. In one scene, she can even be seen removing a bicycle helmet... which somehow fit on top of those stiff projections; they're still at 90 degrees.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! series:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yugi. This also covers the Pharaoh, who had the same hairstyle when he was alive in ancient Egypt.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Yusei, who, despite being a motorcyclist, never ever gets helmet hair. Especially once you realize he grew up with that hairstyle in the slums.
    • All series of Yu-Gi-Oh! have protagonists with ridiculous hair. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Judai/Jaden, who has the mildest of the five protagonists. It's still kinda weird looking and asymmetrical.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Miss Peach has the front of her hair done up in a heart shape that must require a lot of work to keep in that shape, assuming it's even possible in real life at all.

    Comic Books 
  • Many Liefeld-style '90s comics characters had ludicrously long, physics-defying ponytails that were occasionally mixed in with other hairstyles at the same time. Case in point: Shatterstar.
  • Nero:
    • Nero is completely bald, but has two thin hairs sticking out of his head, much like the antennas of an insect.
    • So does Billy Whizz.
    • Petoetje has a high Afro hair cut, which gives him the unique opportunity to dance while jumping on his head.
  • In the first issue of Nightwing's own series, a thug attacks Dick with a knife and hacks off the ponytail he'd been sporting in New Titans and Batman. His hair instantly resolves itself into a neat, not-quite-shoulder-length 'do.
  • In Prez (2015), TV anchor Amber Waves has a different bizarrely-elaborate hairstyle every time she appears.
  • Spider-Man: Norman Osborn has what appear to be horizontal cornrows of brown and red hair. It's not entirely clear what this is supposed to actually represent, but even in universe characters repeatedly appear unable to figure what he did to his hair. Newer drawings of his son Harry suggest that it may be intended to be very tight auburn curls.
  • Suske en Wiske: Wiske's hair is very weird. She wears a ribbon on top of her head, which supposedly keeps her blond hair tied together. Whenever someone unties her ribbon her hair falls down in front of her eyes.
  • Tintin: Tintin's quiff stays erect no matter what happens.
  • X-Men: In one issue of his own comic, Wolverine has all his hair cut off. It grows back in minutes, in the same style. This,of course, also happens whenever his Healing Factor has to bring him back from burning or similar, but having it just happen to the hair really emphasises the oddness of it.

    Fan Works 
  • Used to be the case in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm until Sailor Jupiter came along. The work reimagines her as a chemist instead of a cook, and one of her inventions is "antifriction hair gel", a product that reduces the friction on one's hair to almost zero to prevent it from being a liability in battle. In Episode 6, she smears some on Sailor Moon's hair, who gets some more from her an episode later. Jupiter then switches over to selling the gel, and apparently makes some good money doing it. The only downside is that the gel limits your options when it comes to hairstyles (which is why Jupiter no longer wears her own hair in a ponytail), and hats will fall right off the user's heads.

    Films — Animation 
  • Subverted in Barbie as Rapunzel. Rapunzel this time only has hair that goes down to the floor (which is possible in real life depending on the person) and the maintenance is believable because she is only locked in the tower for a number of days — rather than her whole life like the original fairytale.
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo, Carlos and Luis have the famous "Sanchez Curl", which manages to stay in curl even after they died.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled gives us a twofer. First of all she has over 70-feet of long golden hair (though the length seems to change everywhere they go) but it's justified since the hair is actually magic. When she reaches the kingdom's capitol, she gets a more convenient style when three girls somehow compress that huge mass of hair into a fiendishly-complex mass of ankle-length braids. Then she gets her hair cut off into a perfectly styled and layered pixie cut. The hair was cut off in one go with a pane of glass.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Knight Rises: The police officers who were trapped underground for a period of weeks or months look very well-groomed on being freed, everyone with neat and clean hair and clothes, the men clean-shaven.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Legolas' miraculously tangle-free hair. Aragorn's, on the other hand, gets pretty grubby-looking.
    • In The Hobbit prequel trilogy, Nori's hair and beard are both styled into three points each.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Jack Sparrow's famous hair may be long and wild, but it's also very clean. On sailing ships, fresh water is too precious to wash with, and soap/shampoo don't work in salt water.
    • The nature of the work needed on sailing ships of this era was such that you were pretty much certain to get a load of tar in your hair during a voyage. You're not getting THAT out in a hurry without petroleum distillates like kerosene.
    • Also, Elizabeth spending most of the third film on sailing ships with her long hair loose, in high winds. Her Rousing Speech should have left her head practically tied to the rigging. Oddly enough Elizabeth also averts this in places, having her hair tied back in Braids of Action
  • Subverted in Rory O'Shea Was Here. Rory arrives in the care home with intricate spikes in his hair, which seems quite impressive for a guy who can only move his index finger. Then after he gets a bath, the matron refuses to do his hair for him. When he gets Michael to spike it for him, it's considerably less elaborate than it was at the start of the film.
  • Safe Haven: The heroine gives herself a perfect haircut and dye job while fleeing from her abusive husband. While one could stretch their imagination enough to assume that she could pull off the haircut, to dye one's hair from brunette to blonde takes considerable skill and time. There's no way she could have pulled off the salon-perfect job we see at all, much less in the brief time frame given. This problem arises from the fact that film is pulling an Adaptation Dye-Job to accommodate the blonde actress playing the role; in the book she goes from blonde to brunette, much easier for even a non-professional to do.
  • Spaceballs plays with the trope (as it does with so many) with Princess Vespa. When she first appears, she has what look like Leia-style hair buns (under lace and flowers as part of her wedding outfit). When she's fleeing the wedding (and the planet) she appears to have rather larger hair buns (and there's rock music playing in the background). When Dot Matrix talks to her, she pulls off the hair buns (which are part of her headphones) so she can hear properly and the music comes into the foreground. She has a normal hairstyle for the period the film was made until she gets back into her full wedding outfit at the end.
  • Star Wars:
    • Queen Amidala. During her first film appearance, every other scene, she's sporting a more improbable hairstyle than the last. Nobody seems to notice. Her daughter, Leia, is almost as bad. Those hair buns she had in A New Hope took two hours for a professional hairdresser to do. This is a list of her hair and its plausibility in real life.
    • Amidala, at least, is clearly wearing wigs that are part of the formal wardrobe of the job. In Attack of the Clones, the current queen is shown wearing an outfit, including hair and makeup, precisely identical to one worn by Amidala in the first movie (and it doesn't really suit her quite different build). The implication (including statements made by the designers about the intention to create a very complexly liveried military to indicate the cultural complexity of pre-Empire civilization) is that Amidala was switching to the costume protocol dictated was to be worn for the type of occasion. The sheer number of bodyguards (as the handmaidens are revealed to be) available to help with costume changes makes it feasible. All costumes including heavy makeup that doesn't conform to the lines of the face also helps hide switches when one of the bodyguards plays decoy and Amidala hides among the rest.
    • An episode of The Clone Wars, "Pursuit of Peace", lampshades this trope when Teckla Minnau — one of Padmé's handmaidens — hands her a pre-made wig in preparation for a Senate meeting.
  • In Superman Returns, Superman falls to earth like a meteor, charring his suit, and falling into a coma, but his forelock is still in a perfect curl throughout.

  • Dragon Jousters by Mercedes Lackey: Averted in the last book. Great Queen Nofret needs to wear extremely elaborate hairstyles, different styles for different royal duties. She cuts her hair short and wears wigs instead.
  • If Anne Rice's vampires get haircuts, while they sleep their hair grows back to the length it was at when they were created.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens so often on soaps that the Soap Opera Digest felt the need to commend As the World Turns for averting it in at least one instance—when a character was finally rescued from her kidnappers, she actually looked like she hadn't been to the salon in months—several inches of new growth, split ends, etc.
  • Babylon 5
    • The Centauri are an entire race with an Improbable Hairstyle. Their primary (visible) difference from humans is that the males style their hair into gigantic fans/crests up to a foot high, depending on social standing. The women, however, shave their heads entirely, except for a few younger women who leave a ponytail at the back.
    • Delenn's hair is even stranger, as it seems to go straight through her skull. Word of JMS says that there is a gap between the back of her head and her skullbone, allowing hair to go through it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy's fresh-from-the-coffin hair in "Bargaining" is neatly combed and has only a few leaves in it after she clawed her way out of the grave. Possibly part of the resurrection spell restored her hair to full lustre.
    • Spike and Angel have perfectly bleached and gelled spiky hair (respectively) for vampires with no reflections. Lampshaded for both of them, as when Angel can actually see his reflection in Pylea he's dismayed by his hair, and when Spike shows up crazy and with a soul (so a bit preoccupied) his hair is curly and the roots are showing.
  • Averted in Carnivŕle in an episode where Libby's hair, curled in a style common to the time period in which she lives, falls flat and gets pretty messy after she spends some time stranded in the middle of a desert. Also, when Sophie leaves the carnival and becomes Justin's maid, her hair actually looks noticeably better groomed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Notably averted by the Fourth Doctor, who, when he regenerates, has his hair and facial hair in the same rollered bouffant style with short sideburns (going only just below the cheekbone) that the Third Doctor had been wearing at the time of his death. His hair gets messed up while he's in sickbay, and he doesn't bother to put it back, which becomes his trademark hairstyle. He also has to slowly grow his sideburns into their usual mouth-length shape over the course of the story, although they grow much faster than normal facial hair would. (Justified as he has just regenerated and his physical processes are shown to be in overdrive, with his heartbeat racing).
    • The Sixth Doctor regenerated with an obvious perm. River Song implies in "The Eternity Clock" that he bleaches it, which would be fine if he didn't regenerate with it already blond.
    • The Ninth Doctor has a crew cut. This would normally be fine as he has constant access to the TARDIS, but we find out in "Rose" that he's never seen the face of his current regeneration in the mirror before then. We do know he's been travelling about for a while on his own as there are photographs and anecdotes online, so how is he shaving his head blind?note 
    • The Tenth Doctor regenerated with obviously gelled hair.
    • Martha Jones sports straightened hair in "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", while having been in 1913 for two months. She does have access to the TARDIS the entire time, though.
    • The Thirteenth Doctor is supposed to be naturally blonde, but Jodie Whittaker has a persistent problem with visible dark roots. (Her appearances in comic books, as well as toys and figurines, don't have them.)
      • This get muddled in Revolution Of The Daleks, where the Doctor's dark roots have grown out while imprisoned by the Judoon.
    • Torchwood: Captain Jack Harkness' hair and clean-shaven-ness after spending 2,000 years buried underground without a coffin in "Exit Wounds". Could be a side effect of him dying and constantly reviving, though.
  • Many of the women on ER were often seen wearing their hair loose/down. While not outright forbidden, most female medical professionals don't do this—loose hair can contaminate an open wound, get soiled by body fluids, or get grabbed by an unruly patient.
  • Falling Skies features the survival of humans After the End. Despite the lack of running water and electricity the women, teenagers, and children maintain perfectly-styled hair even months after the invasion. The men, on the other hand, have greasy locks and rough beards.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Daenerys once she starts regularly riding on her dragons. Her intricate braids were likely done by her handmaidens, but flying at high speeds and altitudes in strong winds should turn those luscious waves into a complete rats' nest. Apparently being Mother of Dragons gives Required Secondary Powers of all forms.
    • Loras's hair still has perfect volume and bounces like a L'Oreal commercial after he removes a helmet it's been underneath for hours in a raging battle.
    • Bran, Meera, Jojen, Rickon and Osha always look far better than they ought to after months spent travelling in the wilderness. It's possible Osha as a wildling has tips and tricks for haircare in the wild, but Bran looks like he's just been shampooed at the start of every episode.
  • Heroes:
    • Adam Monroe, who after 350 years looks exactly as he did in Japan. Like Jack, probably a side effect of no aging.
    • On a lesser level, Yaeko's perfect, untangled ponytail, which withstands kidnap, explosions, and sudden teleportation.
    • In a first season episode, Claire's hair regrows completely intact, even in the same style, after being exposed to radiation that burnt off her flesh. Yet between seasons 3 and 4, she cut it shorter. (Maybe her Healing Factor operates partly based on her own image of how she looks?)
  • In the season 2 finale of How I Met Your Mother Marshall unknowingly gets blond tips in his hair from Lily's cousin. As anyone who's ever had their hair dyed before will tell you, him not knowing until it's too late is highly impossible. Marshall doesn't notice Amy mixing up some strong smelling paste and not questioning what she's doing while she's rubbing it over his hair. For that to feasibly happen, Marshall had to have either fallen asleep or been too polite to tell Amy he didn't want his hair dyed.
  • Kamen Rider OOO:
    • Ankh. He first sleeps in a park due to having no home, frequently rides a motorbike and jumps into rivers. His flamboyant hairdo remains pretty indestructible. Since his full Greeed form also sports it, it's presumably an incontrovertible part of his body.
    • Also, Philip from the previous series, Kamen Rider Double, whose hair, although different from Ankh's, sports similarly flippy bangs (on the opposite side). During his Big Damn Heroes moment in episode 16, when he removes his motorcycle helmet his hair appears messy, but in the next shot it's as perfect as always, as if he didn't have the helmet on to begin with.
  • Lexx - Kai: Hairstyle is definitely on the improbable side. Large "bun-ish" hair on top, ponytail in back, a couple of locks dangling down from the front side. For the rest of them, the standard "hairstyle doesn't generally change" version.
  • Everybody in Revolution has clean and impeccably cut hair, despite the post-apocalyptic setting that has left the world with no electricity or running water.
  • BBC's Robin Hood is a strong example. The characters are far too well-groomed and clean to be a bunch of outlaws living in the woods of medieval England. In Season Three, we got Braid-Face.
  • The Tribe: The characters have remarkably elaborate hairstyles for survivors of a world-emptying plague. There must have been a lot of hair products waiting to be looted.
  • Almost all of the ladies on The Walking Dead have long hair that is always worn loose and immaculately cut, styled, and taken care of, despite the lack of grooming products in the apocalypse and the sweltering Georgia heat. Not to mention the hordes of zombies that could easily snatch a survivor By the Hair. In later seasons, even some of the men have impractically long hair, such as Daryl, Carl, and Jesus.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Missing Link cut out a little bald circle on the top of his head. That actually might not be too hard to maintain but it was definitely odd and maintaining the paint might have been a choice. Also, he shaved his beard at the chin as if to give himself a giant mustache.
  • The Road Warriors members Hawk and Animal took to wearing a flat top Mohawk and a hair cut purposefully designed after male pattern baldness, with paint in between the part in the mid 1980s.
  • Part Of Terry Taylor's much maligned "Red Rooster" gimmick of 1988 was spiking up the pair in the middle of his head and dying it red. The Miz would later revive this look, though he at least had the sense not to dye it.
  • Toshie Uematsu wrestles with her hair down, except for as many as four strands of it stuck straight up.
  • Psycho wrestled with a hairstyle similar to Luna's, only he had the additions of separating the hair on the top of his head into several died spikes and also dying that which fell backwards.
  • Sheamus O'Shaunessy tended to wrestle with each of his hairs sticking straight up. Not quite to Bull Nakano levels though.
  • Though it is practical for wrestling, Boogeyman's haircut, a little triangle on the upper top of his head with the left rest bald, doesn't seem like it would be too fun to maintain.
  • Between 2003 and 2009, Kane had the front of his head shaved bald and the back was buzzed really short. He shaved it completely bald after returning from injury in 2009, before growing it all back out later (though he still wore wigs when he started wearing his mask again).

    Video Games 

In General:

  • In general, there are almost no characters in the entire medium who have armpit hair, whether male, female, living in a world where they are on the run from zombies, etcetera. Even grossout scenes like the full-frontal nudity in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned show no armpit hair, no matter what other kind of hair is on display. This is partly because armpits are positioned at an awkward angle for a character model and are difficult to texture realistically, and partly because there's a general belief that no-one wants to see it. When there is an exception (such as Olga's armpit stubble in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty) you bet the gamer reaction will be extreme Squick.

By Game:

  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. After the End it may be, with ammo, fuel and food shortages galore, but apparently there will always be enough hair conditioner to go around.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Khajiit will cut off their manes in deference to the Mane, who will have them weaved into his own mane. As the Khajiit population grew over time, this became impractical, so in modern times, only the Mane's own tribe and his royal guard will cut their manes in this fashion. Still, the Mane is so weighted down by the impractical hair that movement is difficult without aid and he will often travel the countryside by means of a palanquin.
  • Elite Beat Agents: Agent J keeps his elaborate cantilevered hair up, even after all that dancing? It never budges! His hair looks like some of it got caught in a candyfloss machine. See for yourself.
  • Fallout 3 has characters with many varying hairstyles, a lot of which would be appropriate in the pre-apocalyptic Zeerust setting, but impossible to maintain without access to modern equipment and hair products. Even some Raiders are able to maintain mohawks and other punk hairstyles in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Cloud Strife has an extreme hairstyle that he maintains perfectly through rain, snow, desert heat, motorcycle riding, Chocobo racing, Random Encounters, falling hundreds of feet down through a solid roof, spending years being subjected to medical torture in People Jars, being sucked through an underground stream across the whole of the world and washing up on the beach having gone so insane that he cannot even sit up straight in a chair, and wearing a wig. Justified as the game's primitive graphics allowed little else for identification of the character, and because Cloud's unique hairstyle makes the character model continually stand out even against the game's busy backdrops. In Crisis Core, where the graphics are much better, Cloud's hair is shown plastered down in the final scene - in a shocking image that's supposed to show Cloud at the point of losing his entire identity — but even then it doesn't budge that much.
      • Vincent Valentine, but it's much less obvious.
      • Zack has a similar extreme, spiky hairstyle to Cloud. His hair was toned down considerably in later renders.
      • And then there's Sephiroth, who not only manages to not strangle himself on his extremely long hair while fighting, but manages to keep it perfectly smooth and untangled at all times. Crisis Core mentions in a secret email that he uses a special Shinra blend of shampoo and conditioner made especially for him. He uses a whole bottle each time, and there's one of twelve different smells each time he shakes his head.
      • Technical limitations means Yuffie and Elena's hair stays pointing in the same direction during a scene where they are made to hang upside down.
      • Rosso's sideburns in Dirge of Cerberus are a really silly crotchet-rest shape where, judging by the visible hair ends coming off the 'bend', the 'curl' part of the sideburn below isn't connected physically to her head. Weiss has hair that radiates out from his head perfectly, as if with static energy, even while swordfighting.
    • Selphie in Final Fantasy VIII was, according to Word of God, deliberately designed to have an impractical hairstyle, to reflect her personality.
    • Garnet from Final Fantasy IX is able to cut off her long hair into a perfectly styled bob with one slice of a dagger while her eyes are closed. Youtube anyone cutting their hair off with a blade and you'll find that no matter how sharp it is, it's impossible to cut through hair on one stroke. Garnet's hair also rapidly grows back to its original length in time for the game's ending, which is only less than a year later.
    • Seymour from Final Fantasy X has one of the most improbable hairstyles in any work of fiction, such that only pictorial evidence could do it justice. Wakka from the same game definitely qualifies. He swims underwater, rides on the deck of an airship, traverses the world, and he maintains the same physics-defying hairstyle throughout the game. Seymour at least has the excuse of being part Guado (essentially part plant) even though full Guados hair is far less crazy so...
    • Final Fantasy X-2:
    • Meyvn Nooj has impressive Hair Antennae. He appears to be retired from front line combat, but flashbacks to his time in the Crimson Squad show him with the exact same hairstyle.
    • Yuna in Final Fantasy X-2 has a reasonable (by FF standards) spiky bob, except that at the back of her neck is a really long lock of hair that goes all the way to her feet. Somehow it grew from shoulder-length to heel-length in the space of two years. Unless it's caused by the Dresspheres. A hairpiece that long would also get in the way for Dresspheres relying on physical combat, but of course wouldn't be an issue for ranged weapons like the Gunner, Alchemist or Gun Mage, or else magic usage.
  • Eoleo in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has an impeccably groomed ponytail down to his thighs. Between his occupation, his fire powers, his combat style, and his ability to use aforementioned fire powers to fly, such a loose hairstyle should really be a huge mess.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn's Aloy has intricate braids that certainly look nice, but would not be at all practical for a hunter living in the wild. Whenever she goes into a river or gets them wet, they would have to be unbraided immediately to prevent mold from growing on them.
  • Sora from Kingdom Hearts. Seriously, how much gel does that guy use? His hair keeps its shape underwater. In fact, most of the cast are examples.
  • The Beauties from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots can't leave their suits for more than five minutes, or they literally burn up and die. All have beautiful, trendily-styled hair. One's even a peroxide blond with no visible roots.
  • Isabelle in Shadowverse has two long sidelocks of pure white hair coming down off the middle of her head on either side like ribbons, far longer than the rest of her purple hair.
  • Wilson from Don't Starve has hair the sticks up into three spikes, and it keeps its shape even though he's stranded in the wilderness with presumably no access to hair gel.
  • Tales of Xillia: Musee's long hair is pretty tame in that its cut is at least physically possible. However, she'd still need hours with a straightening iron, a bottle of product and to experience no air-resistance whatsoever for it to keep its shape. Granted, she's a Spirit, but still.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Numerous characters from the series, including:
    • A good example is Daryan Crescend.
    • Kay Faraday from Ace Attorney: Investigations is a pretty good example as well. Her hairstyle is several feet tall, and has a rather large key stuck through the middle of it.
    • Oddly enough, Phoenix's hair is quite easy to pull off in real life if one's hair is thick enough. Without gel.
    • Redd White has that loopy pink Little Debbie swiss roll thing.
    • Damon Gant's hair looks like a friggin lightning bolt.
    • Pearl Fey has a pretzel.
    • Luke Atmey has a normal, shaved haircut...topped off with the weirdest lightning bolt/crescent mooned-shaped...thing.

  • Blindsprings has a heroine named Tamaura, whose long hair is literally twice the size of her frail body and entirely composed of Regal Ringlets. She goes the extra mile by adding a dozen or so hair decorations, most prominently the flowers in her hair. She's also been living in the woods for about 300 years, sleeping in the dirt and prancing around barefoot through countless bushes, rivers and piles of snow, and the only time when her hair is ruined is when she's taken outside her forest, and therefore the reach of the Nature Spirits that protect her/keep her from aging/shut her away from the outside world.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Invoked by Red the former Fairy, for whom it's very Serious Business that her hair stand straight up, never mind that her new human hair is a lot different from fairy hair.
    Kat: One of us is going to have to explain to her that she'll need like a whole can of mousse every day to keep her hair like that.
  • In MegaTokyo, Miho's hair often has a ribbon wound through it, which cosplayers (or just people who think it looks cool) in real life have had difficulty keeping in. However, the comic heavily implies that this has something to do with her powers, as whether the ribbon is present, absent, or mussed up depends on her emotional state and how in-control she is.
  • Thae from Overlord Academy often wears her hair in an incredibly large, incredibly long ponytail which seems to defy all laws of physics, especially since she's the series' action girl.
  • Emil from Stand Still, Stay Silent has a relatively easy to maintain chin-length hair and shorter bangs, but it is improbably clean and glossy, to the point of being Bishie Sparkle inducing. He may have been a rich kid in his youth, but he is currently poor and working in an army Demolitions Expert unit. After the End.
  • Unsounded: Several Crescian noblewomen are shown wearing their hair in insane updos for the Treenahin holliday, making their hair look like a tree, errupting volcano, tall wave and other things. They manage this by using pymaric hair clips and hair pieces, outright using magic to complete their look.
  • Mike Warner of the Walkyverse. It was actually a problem when creating the figure because his hair defies the laws of gravity (not to the extent of many of the other examples, but it's still not gravity-friendly).
  • Survivor: Fan Characters:
    • Drake's green hair in a horn-like shape.
    • Jez has a rather odd-looking voluminous ball of dark red hair. It's not long before someone calls him "Mr. Hairgel".
    • Prescilla also qualifies. Specifically, how did she fit her spiky black natural hair under the lank blond wig?
    • Bernie's haircut looks like an atomic blast.
    • For his small head, The Survivor Critic has a giant mass of hair.
    • Tapioca's hair is dyed white with a magenta tint not unlike Eli's. What's truly surprising is that she manages to keep it intact during her entire stay. The same applies to all the people above.
    • Mikah has ponytails shaped like ears.
    • Sylvia's is the winner.
    • Charity has a big hair bun with two blue tints. Again, she maintains it during the course of the entire season.
    • Jeannie has a huge ponytail with a golden necklace on it.

    Web Original 
  • Shutter and Pencil:
    • Toki's hairstyles are something of an odd case. Her elaborate hairstyles (an example of such can be seen here and here) can be rather probable in the sense her extremely long hair can make it so, however, one would have to wonder as to how she can maintain them or, for that matter, take her street-length hair and compress it to a bun or few.
    • Her twin sister, Doki is an otherwise averted case, as her hair is shorter and wouldn't need high maintenance, anyway [1] [2].
  • Whateley Universe: Tennyo's hair. Long, perfect, it looks like it would take ten hours to create, and all day to maintain. In fact, it refuses to do anything else. She can't get dyes to stick to it, so the color is unmistakable. It's impossible to cut. She can't get it into any other style. It won't stay wet even when she showers. She's stuck with it.

    Western Animation 

  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, who has hair shaped like soft serve. All the time. That and his enormous head are the only reasons he is as tall as the other characters his age. Cosmo from The Fairly OddParents! even comments on it in one of the Power Hours; he repeatedly calls Jimmy a "fudge-head."

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The obvious example is Katara, who keeps up a pretty high-maintenance-looking hairstyle throughout all kinds of trials (although it does fall out of place during one duel).
    • The Legend of Korra, Avatar's sequel, shows Water Tribe women continuing the tradition of hair loops and looped braids and other traditional styles seventy years after the original future. However, Korra herself is an aversion, sporting a high ponytail and side tails that take virtually no time to put up.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory Dee Dee manages to dye Dexter's hair blond in his sleep without him noticing. For that to work she would have had to prop him up and keep him that way while she pasted the dye on and left it to set. Then she likely would have had to use sedatives to stop him from waking up while she washed it. Or Dexter is just a very heavy sleeper.
  • Alice's fluffy triangle in Dilbert. It was lampshaded in the episode about Y2K when Catbert (the Evil Director of Human Resources) points out that she spends a lot of time doing her hair and makeup in the morning.
  • Leela from Futurama has a ponytail that goes to her breast level, and remains perfectly fine during all of her Action Girl routine.
  • Hey Arnold! has this trope exclusive to the four main characters:
    • Arnold's spiked-hairstyle is theoretically possible, but he is never shown using any gels or mousse to style it. In "Arnold's Hat" for example, he simply combs it straight up and it magically stays there. He's also had it since he came out of the womb.
    • Helga's hairstyle is simple pigtails, but they are shaped like brooms, somehow stick straight out and have no visible ties or holders keeping them in place. She is also never shown doing anything to maintain them and they stay in place almost all the time.
    • Likewise with Gerald's exaggerated hi-top fade. It gets soaking wet in Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie and all he has to do is wring it out and it returns to form.
    • This even extends to Phoebe, as the front of her hair is jutting ahead like a blimp and the back is straight. Even more odd is that she is partially Japanese, which means her hair is supposed to be completely straight. Her father has a similar hairstyle.
    • Besides the leads, Nadine has her hair styled to resemble insect legs. That doesn't look too fun to maintain.
  • Invader Zim: Dib's little... pointy... thing. "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom" demonstrates that the older he gets, the bigger and more ridiculous the hairstyle gets.
    • His dad has it too, and it's shown to be prehensile, as he uses it to pick up Gaz in "Gaz, Taster of Pork".
  • Jem: Being a show about a band, set in the 80's, it's essentially required that most of the main characters have huge, wildly teased manes (though the bright technicolour colors are harder to explain). With Jerrica herself, her enormous pink hair is effortless and maintainence-free, since it's a holographic projection.
  • Kim Possible has flippy waist-length hair completely resistant to swimming, scuba-diving, skydiving, being submerged in cookie dough, or the numerous helmets she's forced into by Executive Meddling. Shego's is the same though even longer, and even if either of them are drenched, buried or blown up, their hair springs back to shape in moments.
  • Claire's square bun hairstyle in Motorcity. And then there's her new do in "Julie and the Amazons" . . .
  • The Real Ghostbusters: The most paranormal and unexplained element is undoubtedly Egon's hair.
  • Rugrats: Didi's giant orange triforce. She's cut it into a slightly more realistic do by the time All Grown Up comes along.
  • The Simpsons: Marge Simpson's hair nearly always springs back into the same ridiculously-tall shape, no matter how it might get compressed or disturbed. She is shown as having a whole drawer full of hairspray, however, using several cans a day to maintain it. (It was pretty long even when she was a teenager, but not nearly long enough to become what it is now... and that was shortly before her senior prom when she first started wearing it like that.)
  • Steven Universe:
    • Gems' hair is part of their Self-Constructed Hard Light bodies, which is presumably why it retains occasionally bizarre shapes in harsh conditions with zero maintenance. Garnet's enormous, cubic afro in particular can support Steven's entire body without deforming. Even stranger, a large part of Blue Diamond's hair has no end, forming a seamless loop into and out of her head.
    • Mr. Fryman and Kofi have hair shaped like the food they sell (a bundle of fries and a slice of pizza, respectively), despite neither being a practical look for running a restaurant. The former doesn't even notice the resemblance, suggesting it really is like that naturally.
    • Lars essentially has a mohawk, albeit a loose one, but it looks the same even when he went a week without any way to shave the sides.
  • Cherice's, um, beehive in Superjail! It doesn't really help that she's a little person either.

    Real Life 
  • Women (and occasionally men) will show off their wealth with crazy hairdos by way of embedded jewelry, hair extensions, or just the sheer amounts of time and hired help it takes to make (and maintain) such a hairdo. The '80s alone may have been responsible for the hole in the ozone layer given the copious amounts of hairspray it took for some of those crazy styles.
  • Marie Antoinette had to sleep on a wooden block instead of a pillow to preserve some of her more ridiculous coiffures.
  • As do Geishas but only while still apprentices. Once they finish their training and become full Geishas, they switch to a wig.
  • Many of Lady Gaga's styles approach this. Most are quite obviously wigs; while her real hair is peroxide-blonde (dyed), it's normally fairly simply styled and plain.
  • Also, in the "maintenance" camp, the amount of time and effort to maintain a hairstyle can vary from person to person. If you wear the same elaborate hairstyle for a long time, you get good at it — many women with long hair can put it in a complicated-looking bun or braid very quickly, even though it took some time to learn to do that.
  • The Empress Elisabeth of Austria (known to her fans and family as "Sisi") had hair down to her ankles which she wore in a complicated braided 'do that took approximately three hours out of her day to create. She used the time to learn languages like Greek and Hungarian. When she washed that mane it took all day and huge amounts of raw egg and cognac.
  • There are actually artistic hairstyling competitions that take this trope to incredible levels. Past competitions have included entries such as realistic hair sculptures similar to the page image, the former page image for Helicopter Hair (a literal hair helicopter woven out of braids, with motorized spinning propellers also made from hair), and technicolor Cyberpunk Anime Hair stylings with Tron Lines formed by interwoven fiber optic cables.