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Letting Her Hair Down

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A smart, sexy asskicker.

"Do not then winde up that light
In ribands, and o'er-cloud in night,
Like the sun in's early ray;
But shake your head, and scatter day."
Richard Lovelace, "To Amarantha; That She Would Dishevell Her Hair"

Often, when a female character is particularly serious or uptight, her hair will be serious and uptight too — pulled back in a tight bun, or something of that sort. When a woman gets a love interest and starts to loosen up a little (as such characters almost inevitably do), she will start wearing her hair down, or at least in a looser style.

Unlike the hair-letting-down that is part of Beautiful All Along, this is never part of a makeover and is not necessarily commented upon by the other characters. The hairstyle in this case is more of a quick visual indicator of the character's relaxation. If the new style is noticed, there will be comments along the lines of "you should wear your hair like that more often." This is a subconscious appreciation of the heroine's new state of relaxation.

A variation of this can be seen in shows for younger girls. If the girl has low self esteem, she will wear her hair down and over her face. At the end of the show, when she has gained some confidence, she will pull her hair back to signify the change, opening her face and no longer hiding.

Sometimes the letting down is actually done expressly to make the character look more attractive, with existing admirers having their desires heightened while those who hadn't noticed them before suddenly find them to have been Beautiful All Along. This is likely related to the medieval notion that long hair was an indication of the owner's sexual prowess and concupiscence, and in fact incited others to arousal if it were not hidden, concealed, or worn up in some fashion.

A Sister Trope to Important Haircut, The Glasses Gotta Go.

Compare Slipknot Ponytail (one's hair goes au naturale because they are being badass), Wild Hair (where it is normally worn loose), Shaking Her Hair Loose (a more aggressive way of undoing hair), or Glasses And Ponytail Cover Up (which this action oftentimes follows).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Variation after the events of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, which has Teana losing her Tsundere twin-tails after she had matured into a highly competent and reliable leader.
    • Inverted with Nanoha. She loses her tight little pigtails as she grows up, and is shown wearing her hair out, but her personality doesn't change at all, since she was already very mature. She's back to wearing it tied up in the third season, albit looser and in a single side ponytail.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, when Marcille needs to cast a high-level spell complete with a runic circle, she undoes her hair first.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi
    • Setsuna stops wearing her hair in a Samurai style side-ponytail in the later chapters once she starts growing out of her intensely serious, near-deadpan demeanor.
    • Inverted with Nodoka, who starts with her hair down and over her face. As she gains self-confidence she starts wearing her hair back so we can actually see what she looks like.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, who is normally seen with an efficient, no-nonsense bun, but generally lets her hair down when she's seen off-duty. In the 2003 anime, Hawkeye doesn't take her hair down until the very last episode, when she visits wounded comrade Roy Mustang.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's Lady Une normally keeps her hair up in a tight bun, but lets it down for her less uptight alter-ego "Saint Une". When both personalities merge back into the real Une, she decides to keep her hair down from then on.
  • In The World God Only Knows, when Mari Katsuragi lets her hair down, someone will get hurt very badly (and she'll look good at it). Elsie on the other hand just gets prettier.
  • No-nonsense Dr. Chiba in Paprika wears her hair in a neat bun; we only see it down when she's asleep or in the process of transforming into her free-spirited dream avatar Paprika.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Aki reverses this: when she lets her hair down, it's a bad sign. The band holding her hair up is designed to hold her psychic powers in check. When it comes off and her hair is let down, run.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • Miranda Lotto definitely does this when she first activates her Innocence, by accident. Well, she transforms from this to this. Honestly, which one looks better?
    • Lenalee has done this several times, too, before she gets an Important Haircut.
  • Gundam X's Tiffa Addil has a ponytail but when Barrier Maiden Lucille Lilliant "borrows" her body to ask for help from Jamil, Tiffa's adoptive father as well as her former pupil, she lets it loose.
  • Misty/Kasumi from Pokémon normally has her hair tied into a small pigtail. While she is indeed a cute girl, her appearance changes dramatically every time she puts this trope to practice.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, following the rather traumatic incident with N at the Nimbasa Ferris Wheel, White keeps her hair out of its usual ponytail, signifying her depression. She ties it back up when she somewhat comes in terms with herself. Incidentally, fans agree she looks much prettier with her hair down.
  • Played very unusually in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Originally, Homura has her hair done up in twin braids, but eventually lets it down. This doesn't signify her becoming more relaxed in the slightest, though; in fact, it marks her transition into being serious. So you could say it's inverted, only it's also played straight, because the character was previously shy, so it signals a growth in confidence. On the other hand, it also seems to represent the loss of her innocence. So it's hard to classify where this one lands.
    • Kyoko also later does this in the fight with Oktavia von Seckendorff to show that she finally became a better person.
  • Ringo Noyamano from Air Gear lets her long hair loose when she becomes Ikki's link tuner.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny has Meyrin Hawke, who keeps her hair in Girlish Pigtails. After helping Athrun defect from ZAFT and joining the Archangel, she ditches the pigtails and wears her hair loose. At the very end of the series she puts it back up again, to the disappointment of some fans who thought she looked a lot more mature with it down.
  • Retsu Unohana of Bleach is an inversion. She's gentle and motherly with her braid, but when her hair is let down...
  • Young and overworked Ritsuko from The iDOLM@STER 2: The World Is All One!! lets her hair down and ditches her office attire after some cutting words from Iori rattle her confidence. This shedding her of her profession appearance reemphasizes Ritsuko's age, which was also something that was bothering her.
  • Space☆Dandy:
    • A particularly badass example is seen in the second episode. Scarlet, almost always seen with an uptight bun, lets her hair down before demolishing a team of elite super-mafia aliens.
    • Later in the series, when she has Dandy be her pretend date to make her old stalker boyfriend jealous, Dandy is impressed with how good she looks with her hair down.
  • Phyllis Jaraba in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Coffin of the End normally has her hair braided up and also wears glasses. She takes off her glasses and lets her hair down after she's Brainwashed and Crazy by the giants of La Gias.
  • Variation: The hot-headed, brash Yuri Plisetsky from Yuri!!! on Ice wears his hair down most of the time, but there's a significant shot of him letting his hair down during training as he embraces his very well-hidden vulnerability and sensitivity.
  • Inverted in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Kaguya removing her ribbon and letting her hair down is a sign of her (Ice) personality coming to the forefront, in which she acts colder and more blunt to those around her.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: In the series, Miaka is seen letting her hair down whenever she is in her place (her home or her bedroom in the palace), where she can be relaxed. In the OVA, she lets her hair more often indicating her maturity.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Harley Quinn is shown to wear glasses and have her hair in a bun prior to meeting The Joker. When she goes crazy and springs him from Arkham she loses the glasses and begins to wear her hair in pigtails.
  • Nightfall from ElfQuest can't be described as uptight by any stretch, but she does keep her long brown hair under a headscarf except in her most intimate moments.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Philippus is almost always depicted in full armor with her hair in a bun but was seen out of armor with her hair loose for the first time when she had an informal intimate discussion with Hippolyta about the last portion of "The Contest" at night.

    Comic Strips 
  • In On the Fastrack, the personification of Autocorrect, understandably, starts out with a very uptight appearance. Her budding romance with Percy has loosened her up.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Rapunzel has the titular character's evil stepmother Gothel and the prince repeatedly asking her to do this so they can climb up to her tower. As Freud would point out, this releasing of her hair was not just for utilitarian purposes, considering that Rapunzel eventually gets pregnant from all this, um, "relaxation" with her prince.

    Fan Works 
  • Virtually universal in any romance fic involving Minerva McGonagall. Probably something to do with a funny line she had in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Ask Jappleack introduces its version of Applejack with the same ponytail as her canon self, and a crude personality befitting the blog's humor. As the story progresses and she mellows out (befitting her introspection after losing her sister), she begins letting her hair fall naturally. This also helps to separate her from her canon self when they begin interacting, and carries over to her appearance in the finale of PONY.MOV.
  • Rules: Light Yagami's love interest Charlie is a tough-as-nails tomboy who usually has her hair up. Light only realizes his attraction to her when he sees her hair down, which causes her personality and overall appearance to soften considerably.
  • The Body Reflects the Heart, the Shadow Reflects the Soul: Ann does this for her date with Ryuji in Chapter 37. His brain briefly short-circuits at how nice it makes her look.
  • The Bridge has typically pigtails wearer, Aria Blaze, let her hair down in the final battle with Enjin. Especially once she activates her Super Mode.
  • A variation occurs in a side story of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines with Elite Four member Lorelei, who normally wears her hair in a ponytail. In this case, it's more of a Let's Get Dangerous! moment since she keeps a Key Stone for Mega Evolution hidden in her hair clasp.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Chloe Cerise's braid falls apart when a gust of wind from the Infinity Train blows away her scrunchie before taking her inside. Even after Chloe learns how to tie her hair into a braid, she decides to keep it as it is to establish herself as a girl different than the one back home.
  • Infinity Train: Boiling Point:
    • The first time Boscha goes into her Golden Super Mode, she removes her braid and lets her hair down before transforming.
    • Near the end of Act 1, right before she leaves the Boiling Isles, Skara follows suit by letting her hair free as she's packing up to leave.
  • Rocketship Voyager. As the eponymous Retro Rocket doesn't have Artificial Gravity, the female crewmembers prefer updoes or bobcuts, but this changes once they're underway and the thrust of the rocketship creates pseudo-gravity. Captain Janeway decides to let her hair down from the Bun of Steel, but this happens just before a dinner she's having with Space Commander Chakotay to try and mend some bridges with him, so this trope is implied.
  • This Bites!: During the climatic battle of the Strong World arc, Vivi lets her hair down right before using her new wind-based logia powers to blow the roof off of Shiki's meeting room.
  • The Wrath of Avelina: Starting with Chapter 4, Alma begins to wear her hair down, as a way of looking more approachable and calming her family's nerves.

    Films — Animation 
  • Princess Jasmine in Aladdin is shown with her hair down after the "Whole New World" sequence where she and Aladdin have fallen in love, and she's truly happy for the first time in the film.
  • Belle too, from Beauty and the Beast, after the Beast rescues her from wolves. Also, after the Beast defeats Gaston in battle. In both cases, the hair being down happens at a moment when she's more vulnerable.
  • In Brave, Eleanor originally wears her in two long, tight braids, contrasting with her daughter Merida's more wild red locks. By the final, she lets it down to show she's relaxed and is more open to Merida's point of view.
  • Inverted in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, where Sam puts her hair up and her glasses on when she loosens up.
  • Ugga Crood from The Croods, When escaping from man-eating plants with Sandy and Gran, her hair comes loose after taking off her costume.
  • In Frozen, Elsa first wore her hair in a tight braid which she put into a bun (symbolic of her tightly wound, suppressed nature). After letting go of her anxiety and deciding to no longer hide what she is, she tousles her hair and lets her braid hang over her shoulder.
    • Then in Frozen II, she begins with it braided just as it was in the latter half of the first film, and she's still not entirely happy, feeling restless and somewhat unfulfilled, which is twisted together with her fear of changing her already-happier-than-it-used-to-be life. The braid continues to hang until the scene where she finds herself standing alone ready to challenge the ocean, at which point she unbraids it and puts it into a loose ponytail. And as she reaches Ahtohollan, she undoes the ponytail and now her hair is completely unbound for the first time ever, symbolizing how she's finally completely and truly free from all fear and self-doubt.
  • A variant is seen in The Incredibles with Violet. She hides behind her hair for most of the movie, but when she gains confidence in herself and her powers, begins to wear it back.
  • In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel wears her hair tied up in a bun whenever she is on dry land, symbolizing how much more stern and strict she is. When Triton transforms her back into a mermaid, her hair comes undone and falls loose freely. After the ordeal is over, Ariel is shown wearing her hair down as a human to reflect her change in character.
  • Twice inverted in Tangled, since it was after a long time with Flynn that Rapunzel put her hair up, and let it back down after returning to Mother Gothel.
  • Jane Porter from Tarzan is only seen with her hair up at the beginning of the film. After her friendship with Tarzan starts, it's almost always shown down. This reflects how she's becoming accustomed to the jungle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rose in Titanic (1997) is first shown with her hair down when she meets Jack - the first time she drops her Proper Lady image and allows herself to be vulnerable. Around the time she decides she's going to leave Cal and her rich life behind, her hair is always down.
  • The silent classic Sunrise features this in its powerful ending, when the Wife, who wore her hair pulled back for the whole movie, is shown with her hair down after she's been rescued from drowning.
  • In Loaded Weapon 1, Destiny Demeanor is introduced wearing glasses and her hair up in a bun. When she lets her hair down, she is replaced with an obviously different actress. Colt's reaction? "You should always wear your hair down."
  • Lee the masochistic heroine of Secretary mostly wears her hair braided across her head to begin with. As she enters a, well, unconventional romance with her boss, she starts to wear it down, especially at moments when she clearly feels most confident. She reverts to updos somewhat as the relationship founders, but her reunion with her lover culminates in a scene in which he tenderly and sensually washes her hair, which is of course down for the purpose.
  • In Blade Runner, Rachael lets her hair down in front of Deckard — who apparently takes it as an invitation, as he comes onto her rather forcefully soon afterward. Doubles as a Defrosting Ice Queen moment.
  • Done by serious librarian Evy in The Mummy (1999). She is played by Rachel Weisz, so also a Hot Librarian.
  • Played in reverse in Pleasantville: Jennifer starts out with her hair down, but becomes more serious as the movie goes on, and pulls her hair back at about the same time as she discovers literature.
  • In The Big Sleep, the bookseller woman has her hair all tied up. After the detective chats to her a while, she closes the shop, lets down her hair, takes off her glasses, and ...apparently, helps him pass the time until the person he's seeking turns up across the street.
  • Victorian Proper Lady Lucille Sharpe from Crimson Peak finally lets her hair out of its elaborate updo near the end of the movie (in-story, because she's about to go to bed). While this does represent her loosening up, it's not exactly a good thing- she's no longer hiding her true nature as an incestuous serial killer, and things are about to go downhill fast.
  • The heroine of the German film Mostly Martha (and its American remake No Reservations) wears her hair up for most of the movie, finally letting it down after the first time she spends the night with her love interest.
  • When cousin Rachel is introduced in My Cousin Rachel (1952) she has her hair bunched up on two sides in proto-Princess Leia buns. So it makes for a dramatic moment when she enters Phillip's bedroom for the first time, in her nightgown and with her long hair undone, and kisses him.
  • Dr. Susan Calvin in I, Robot is the most blatantly obvious, since her hairstyle changes four or five times throughout the movie, each one seemingly coinciding with a meeting with Will Smith.
  • Angela Drake in Brewster's Millions (1985). When the movie begins, she's purely professional with her hair up, but near the end she sports a lady 'fro.
  • Saavik, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, once in an elevator, and once at a more emotional moment. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, she is seen with her hair down most of the time, and has certainly loosened up some.
  • Our Man Flint. After she's lured Flint to her apartment, Gila does this to signal to him that she's in the mood for love.
  • In Goodbye Lenin the main character notices that his love interest wears her hair down when she is happy and up when she isn't. This acts as a convenient visual aid for the viewer later on when they have an argument.
  • In the beginning of The Invisible, Annie goes the full tilt and has her hair in a tight ponytail, combined with a hoodie with the hood up. As the story progresses, and she becomes more sympathetic of a character, the hood comes off, and her hair comes down.
  • Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants after she steps out to spend time with Kostas to show that she's now open to love.
  • Princess Leia when she gets to the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi.
    • Played straight in the radio drama version of the film, where Han mentions it and adds "It looks nice."
  • Discussed about Aunt Polly in Pollyanna. Her old lover Edmund Chilton remarks that she used to wear her hair down when they were in love. Nowadays as a cold and detached Proper Lady she only wears it up. She does let it down for a moment after an argument with Edmund, but actually doesn't do this in the film. Her hair remains up after her Character Development.
  • Mitsuyo in Villain is a rather dark example; she starts the movie with her hair in a tight ponytail and lets it down when she decides to go on the run with her murderer boyfriend instead of turning him in to the police. After he's arrested she puts it up again.
  • In Something New, this is used as a juxtaposition between the characters of Brian (who wants Kenya to have her natural, kinky hair) and Mark (who wants her to keep artificially straight and buttoned-down). The metaphor is obvious.
  • In Cursed we are introduced to Ellie with her hair tied up in a bun. After being bitten by the werewolf and thus gaining a natural sexual aura she is always shown with her hair down with the men gawking appropriately. One of her co-workers mentions how much nicer she looks with her hair down.
  • In Airplane II: The Sequel (as seen in this clip), Ted Striker needed something metal to deactive the control panel. Elaine Dickinson, wanting to help, pulls out her bobby pin and lets her hair down, complete with a slo-mo Hair Flip.
  • Inverted in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. At the beginning of the film, Dr. Elsa Schneider lets her long, blonde hair flow while she explores Venice with Indy. However, once she's revealed as a Nazi collaborator, her hair is shown in tight buns. Her hairstyle remains this way for the remainder of the film, except in the grail temple, when her hair comes somewhat undone and messy when she desperately reaches for the artifact, but we never see the flowing locks again.
  • Inverted in Into the Woods. The Witch has her hair down in hag form. When she becomes beautiful again her hair is tied back. Also inverted with Cinderella, who wears her hair down as a scullery maid, and up when she's in her ballgown.
  • The Secret Garden: Inverted with Kate Maberly's Mary. She wears her hair down completely when she's in her Ice Queen phase. As she defrosts, she is seen with her hair in Girlish Pigtails or tied up with ribbons.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss is only shown with her hair down when she is at her most vulnerable. There's some justification to this, since her iconic braid is just how she wears it when she's hunting or in the games.
  • Similarly used in Divergent with Tris's hair. While going through the Dauntless Training from Hell, it's usually tied back in a ponytail. During intimate moments with Four, her hair is usually down. When she confesses that she's a Divergent her hair is down.
  • Done the other way around in American Hustle with Rosalyn. She and Irving are in the middle of a rocky marriage for the bulk of the film, and she wears her hair up. In their wedding photo - and it's implied they were happier when they got married - her hair is down.
  • Sunshine Cleaning:
    • Norah only has her hair down when she's around Lynn, which is when she also starts opening up and connecting with another human being.
    • Rose also only wears her hair down while meeting Mac in the motel for their rendezvous. She also wears it down for the baby shower - which is when she realizes that she is finally happy with her life.
  • Another case of being done the other way around in Black Narcissus. As a nun, Sister Clodagh of course has her hair up in a wimple. In her Happy Flashbacks to her pre-convent life in Ireland, it's no coincidence that her hair is down.
  • The Legend of Billie Jean shows Putter with her hair down after she gets her first period. It's been tied up in Girlish Pigtails for the majority of the film.
  • Pitch Perfect: a minor but significant one when uptight control freak Aubrey undoes her bun and later removes her vest in the Bella's finals number showing that she has learned to mellow a bit.
  • In Young Lady Chatterley II, the extremely uptight and sexually repressed Judith has her hair wound up in an extremely tight Prim and Proper Bun. After her liberating sexual encounter with Thomas, she lets her long blonde hair flow free.
  • The Hour of the Pig: Maria does this along with removing her head covering prior to having sex with Courtois.
  • In How to Rob a Bank, Jessica removes her black wig once she knows her cover is thoroughly blown. Under it, her naturally brown hair is pinned up to allow her to wear the wig over it. When the power to the vault is turned off, she lets her hair down, showing how at ease with Jason she now is.
  • The White Orchid: Claire starts out with her hair in a neat bun, as a shy, rather nerdy woman. Then, while getting into the shoes of The White Orchid, she lets it down to become looser like the dead woman was.

  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin usually keeps his hair in a practical braid. He gets to "let it down" at a royal ball, where it is decorated with flowers and jewelry, and arranged so that it cascades down over his shoulders. There's also the incident when Princess Lylia talks him into kissing her. She undoes his braid, a physical symbol of the unchaste act she got him to commit. Princess Ren re-braids it later, after scolding Lylia.
  • Hester Prynne lets her hair down during her secret forest rendezvous with Rev. Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter.
  • Played for laughs in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Professor McGonagall makes a remark about letting our hair down (in reference to the Yule Ball). Lavender and Parvati start giggling, and Harry's narration notes that it doesn't look like she's ever let her hair down in any sense.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie's mother won't let her get a fashionable bob because a woman should have long hair as her "secret" beauty that only her lover/husband (well, presumably Katie means husband) gets to see when she unpins it at the end of the day.
  • In the Spaceforce series, the culture of the Taysan Empire considers unbound hair to be indecent. When Jay pulls Ashlenn's hair bindings out and forces it to fall loose when he persuades her to elope with him, he might as well be stripping her.
  • In The Worst Witch books, it's tradition that at the Halloween celebrations all the teachers and pupils wear their hair down. Miss Hardbroom is described to have shining black tresses tumbling down to her waist and Mildred remarks that she doesn't look half as frightening with her hair down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Inverted in the episodes "Booby Trap" and "Galaxy's Child". In "Booby Trap", the warm and flirty holographic incarnation of Dr. Leah Brahms wears her hair up, while in "Galaxy's Child", the real, cold Brahms wears long and flowing locks.
    • Captain Janeway wore a bun in the first few seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. It disappeared when the writers decided to drop her "This is a Starfleet vessel" persona and let the poor girl loosen up a bit (or when they started stuffing up her character). Likewise Kes ditched her bobbed wig for long flowing locks, but that was because Jennifer Lien was getting a reaction to the adhesive used to stick her pointy ears on. Seven of Nine also wore her hair down in later episodes when she was doing social experiments in the holodeck. She'd immediately pin it back up when reporting for duty.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise. Science officer T'Pol has the standard Vulcan Sci-Fi Bob Haircut, but in "In A Mirror, Darkly" she's got long flowing hair down past her shoulders, in accordance with the Evil Is Sexy look of the Mirror Universe. Ensign Hoshi likewise has loosened her hairbun into a ponytail. Both are portrayed as Femme Fatale-types in contrast to their restrained normal personas.
    • Star Trek: Picard. As a sign of her more casual personality, Seven of Nine has Wild Hair in contrast to the French pleat she wore as an Ice Queen on Voyager.
  • Pam Beesly in the later seasons of The Office (US) when she finally gets together with Jim.
  • In the second season of Lost, when Ana-Lucia is being tough and in-charge, her hair is pulled back in a ponytail. In her more vulnerable moments (crying to Eko, apologizing to Sayid) it's down on her shoulders.
  • In The BBC's recent adaptation of Ballet Shoes, Emilia Fox's frail Sylvia always has her hair up in a scraped-and-elaborate-yet-somehow-also-messy-and-careworn bun until she's shown beginning to fall for her lodger, Simpson, when suddenly her hair is in a loose plait. When Sylvia finally marries him, her long hair is down altogether under her veil.
  • Chlo Granger briefly goes "high-bunny" in Waterloo Road.
  • Played with in one episode of The King of Queens when Carrie started to wear her hair in a really tight and unsexy bun... until the very end, when she saw how she looked exactly like a gnarly old librarian.
  • In Cheers, Lilith letting her hair down in "Abnormal Psychology" led to Frasier kissing her for the first time.
  • Farscape: Aeryn Sun. Her hair reflects her emotional state: as an Ice Queen in the first seasons, she wore it in a long ponytail. When she started to loosen up, she let her hair down. Then reverted back to ponytail after the one of the two Crichtons she was in love with died.
  • Parodied in an episode of That '70s Show. At the start of an episode, Kelso gets a ticket from a beautiful female cop who wore her hair down. Later that same episode, he meets the same female cop, this time with her hair in a tight bun, and does not recognize her at all. (Averted somewhat however, as he attributes her previous sexiness to the uniform instead of her hair).
  • Det. Dani Reese from Life wore her hair pulled back in Season 1. In Season 2, she wears it down, reflecting her new, considerably more relaxed, attitude towards Crews.
  • Invoked in an episode of Better Off Ted. When Veronica is told that she is too intimidating, she starts wearing her hair down as part of an attempt to be more approachable, and hates it. When told that Phil is falling in love with her new, more positive self, she even sighs and says something like, "This is why I keep my hair up. It maintains distance."
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Maternal Congruence", Leonard's mother Beverly, who is generally cold and emotionless, does this after she gets drunk and starts to feel sexual attraction.
  • Parodied in an episode of Arrested Development where during GOB's seduction attempt, secretary Kitty undoes her bun and removes her glasses to reveal horribly frizzy hair and severely crossed eyes.
  • Degrassi character Holly J starts out with her hair in a tight ponytail at all times, letting her hair down once in a failed seduction technique on resident hottie Blue. As she becomes more comfortable with people, and stops being the Alpha Bitch, she slowly moves to less uptight hairstyles. Season 9 she wears a series of cute functional hairbands, finally in Season 10 she moved to her hair being unadorned unless for practical reasons for whatever activity is going on. Other characters have done the switch to hair down for Beautiful All Along reasons.
  • Ami's mother in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a doctor and the first time we see her is at the hospital with her hair in a bun. This coincides with a plot where she wants Ami to transfer schools because her grades are slippingnote . At the end of the episode when the two have worked things out, we see Mama with her hair down and she looks like a different person.
  • In Glee, head cheerleader and the Alpha Bitch Quinn wears her hair in a tight ponytail for most of season 1, until her teen pregnancy is revealed and she is forced to quit the cheerleading team. She starts wearing her hair loose and becomes a more compassionate person. At the start of season 2, having given up her baby for adoption, she goes back to her original tight ponytail hairstyle. (Her more relaxed personality is also reflected in a change in wardrobe— from the sharp cheerleader uniform to more casual clothes.)
  • When Elvira, Mistress of the Dark lets her Beehive Hairdo down, she really lets it down! You wouldn't expect such a small beehive to have so much hair in it.
  • Annie in Community episode Debate 109. Notable for not only starting one of the most enduring and influential ships in the series but also turning her into a Breakout Character and one of the main members of the cast due to the overwhelming fan reaction.
  • Inverted on NCIS. When we meet Ziva, she's a wild, seductive, crazy, Israeli, ninja assassin. Her hair is also absolutely wild. As she becomes more friendly, open, and relaxed, her hair is also tamed somewhat. She's no less badass with her hair in a ponytail, but a little less...crazy.
  • Modern Family Alex does this in the Season 3 episode, "After The Fire" to appear sexy to a group of nerds giving Luke and Manny a hard time and make them stop.
  • Cirque du Soleil series Solstrom. In the episode "Rockin' Wind", a female orchestra member lets her hair down before hugging and kissing the conductor.
  • Once Upon a Time has Maleficent wearing her hair down for the first time when she finally gets to meet her daughter Lily.
  • Ally McBeal: Done occasionally with Nell Porter, who usually wears her hair in a professional bun at the law firm. Occasionally, however, she would let it down, revealing a cascade of very long, platinum blond hair that usually catches the breath of anyone who sees her.
  • Game of Thrones - Talisa usually wears her hair in a braid for practical reasons (she's a combat medic). For her wedding to Robb, it's shown down for the first time.
  • At the conclusion of the Hallmark Channel movie A Royal Christmas, a queen accompanies her son to Philadelphia to propose to the commoner girlfriend that she drove away because she didn't think that she was good enough for him. When they get out of the car, her hair is loose, in stark contrast to the prim updos she's worn throughout the film, representing that she's loosening up and willing to accept her.
  • Third Watch. As a paramedic waits for a doctor to leave the hospital (he's planning to ask her out), she emerges with her hair loose, in line with the Defrosting Ice Queen turn she's taken lately. (There's also the Fridge Logic of her wearing her hair up while at work, as most female medical professionals do, and taking it down once work is over).
  • The Handmaid's Tale: All women keep their hair up regardless of status, but when the Handmaids are giving birth, both Handmaids and the wives keep their hair down.
  • In Fate: The Winx Saga, Musa's interest in Sam and general softening is marked with her hair being worn down more often.
  • Stargirl (2020): In season 2, Bobbie is letting her hair hang a lot loeser while she drinks wine and dances around the kitchen. Once Cindy shows up to reassert her power, Bobbie's hair is seen back in its previous Housewife style.

  • The first line in Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night" goes "Take the ribbon from your hair/Shake it loose and let it fall...." Played for humor when he and Miss Piggy performed it on The Muppet Show and the Ray Stevens cover.
  • Charlie Rich: "When we get behind closed doors/Then she lets her hair hang down..."
  • Lucinda Williams, "Side of the Road": "And a farmhouse out a-ways./And I wondered about the people who live there./And I wondered if they were happy and content./Were there children and a man and a wife?/Did she love him and take her hair down at night?"
  • Doug Stone's "In a Different Light" is basically this trope in song form, but it's mentioned explicitly in the chorus.
    And I see you in a different light
    Your hair falling down
    With love in your eyes
    In my mind you're a beautiful sight
    I see you in a different light
    Just the way I saw you last night

  • In The Rainmaker, it takes a Con Man to convince Lizzie that she's beautiful with the pins taken out of her hair. (Her joyful exclamation of "is it really me?" became the title of one of the songs in the musical adaptation, ,110 In The Shade.)
  • Played with a man, and in a completely different meaning, in Les Misérables the musical. Javert does this in almost every performance during his BSOD song. It symbolizes his strict personality being splintered, but when it comes to Philip Quast, it's clearly Fan Service.
  • Magda in Tanz Der Vampire. Human!Magda has a skinny red braid. Vampire!Magda has voluminous, cascading red tresses.
  • Ilse in Spring Awakening (when played by an actress with long hair). In the first act, when she is living with her strict family, she wears her hair in two braids. In act two, after she runs away to live in an artist colony, her hair is down.
  • One community-theatre production of Ragtime had Mother wearing her hair up in a very staid sort of style in Act I, then wearing it loose in Act II after moving to Atlantic City (and meeting Tateh, whom she falls in love with and eventually marries after her husband dies).

    Video Games 
  • Noel Vermillion of BlazBlue as of Chronophantasma after two games of keeping it tucked under her beret.
  • Ashley Williams does this between her appearances in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Amusingly, James Vega still jokes about her being "a fun girl when she actually lets her hair down".
  • Terra does this at the end of Final Fantasy VI, symbolizing that at last she is truly free—not only of the Empire and Kefka, but of the emotional turmoil around her identity.
  • Metroid:
    • If you finish Super Metroid fast enough, Samus will remove her Power Suit at the end. She's shown with her hair tied, but then lets it loose, perhaps in a symbolic way to say that the mission is over for now.
    • At the end of Metroid: Other M, Samus is seen out of her Power Suit and Zero Suit, and into what looks to be a uniform, long hair let down. Though she ties it back into a ponytail after a while, the dialogue and her expression easily convey her feeling of peace and coming to terms with Adam's death and the resolution of the Bottle Ship incident.
  • Chris Lightfellow from Suikoden III dons a casual outfit for her 3rd chapter. Her character portrait for that segment of the game even looks a good deal more relaxed than the scowl she usually settles with.
  • Fiery Redhead Aika from Skies of Arcadia normally wears her hair in two noticeably stiff braids. She lets it down whenever she's sleeping or grooming, and it looks much softer and prettier.
  • At the end of Dead or Alive 5, Kasumi, who has been wearing her hair in an action ponytail for the entire game up until this point dramatically undoes her ribbon and lets her hair loose. This is done to give a sense of finality to her story now that she has killed her clone and made some sort of amends with the other members of her tribe. Also a gratuitous show of the game's new hair physics.
  • Midnight Venus, the hostess of Catherine, has a giant redhead afro. You can see her with her hair down if you beat the challenge mode.
  • Inverted with Juniper Woods of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, who wears her hair in two braids in casual clothes but lets it down at school, when showing her more serious and professional side as a student in the Judge course and Student Council President.
  • In Bar Oasis 1, Desree Mboshi lets her hair down after a series of late night duties, looking to relax at the titular bar. That also happens to be the very same night Vic sleeps with her.
  • Mega Man X8: Alia lets her hair down as part of her redesign, she also gains other...ahem, upgrades, and puts up quite a fight imitating X's fighting style quite well.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV: Juna Crawford usually has her hair tied up but in her swimsuit DLC costume, she has her hair down. She also has it down in the true ending route of the game.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In the anthropomorphic setting, Bianca lets her rabbit ears down when she joins the side of the heroes. Before, she hid them with a shadowy, imposing hood.
  • Ensemble Stars! has a Rare Male Example: Souma typically wears his hair up in a Samurai Ponytail, fitting for his hard-working and serious personality. However, in Greek Legends he falls ill and ends up in the nurse's office, and the player is treated to a CG of him sitting in his pyjamas with his long hair loose and a Luminescent Blush, proving that despite his scary initial impression he is capable of being downright Moe.
  • Splatoon: Callie and Marie usually wear her hair up, but various promotional material shows that they let it down when off-duty and lounging around their shared apartment.

  • Tavatiana, of Gene Catlow, inadvertantly does this by dunking the back of her head into a fountain. She doesn't realize it, however, until she gets back. But then, she does ask Cotton if she should leave it like that...
  • The uptight Necr... sorry, Croakamancer Wanda Firebaugh in Erfworld becomes a lot sexier (and much more open towards the protagonist) when she does this late in the comic.
  • In one Least I Could Do storyline, Rayne pursues a woman simply because she wears glasses and he wants to complete a mental "Sex Bingo" card. Issa demonstrates how pathetic Rayne is by getting the woman to do this, completely infatuating him. After beating up his friend Mick to try and impress her, Mick is upset...until she does it again.
  • A sort of reverse example happens with Vaarsuvius in The Order of the Stick when the elf cools down after his/her rampage of insanity, admits his/her mistakes and ties his/her Evil Makeover-induced Wild Hair into a ponytail. With his/her Headband of Intellect.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, after Annie messed with Jack's half-recovered brain and he in return messed with her, she let the hair down and took a deep breath before saying she's sorry. Combining it with a subtle case of Puppy-Dog Eyes made the apology absolutely irresistible.
  • In Nightmare Factory, Emai's braid gets loose during her confrontation with Phirre. Kreyul braids it again because he says she looks like a ghost. It switches from braided to loose for the rest of the series.
  • Magick Chicks: Callista is introduced with her hair done in a tomboyish ponytail. But, once she and Cerise start dating, she convinces Callista to let her hair down and bleach the fringes of it, as part of her scheme to reshape Callista's image.

    Web Original 
  • Dana in Echo Chamber's Trope Of The Week Unresolved Sexual Tension. Tom's reaction?
    Tom: That... totally works.
  • Zigzagged in RWBY. Weiss ties up her hair with a tiara that resembles her family's symbol, which she only takes off in the evenings. The first time this happens, she starts a fight with Ruby and Yang- and the second, she meekly reconciles with Ruby.
  • Whateley Universe: Discussed in The Big Idea with Delta Spike:
    Harlan had a brief flash of déjà vu, looking at Delta Spike. Then he realized that she was the picture of a Hollywood ‘Girl Scientist’, the one who’s supposed to be a drab little geek, but you know that the second that she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down, she’s absolutely gorgeous. Delta Spike had long glossy black hair that was tied up in a style that really didn’t suit her. She wore a pair of thick clunky-looking black frame glasses that couldn’t have done a better job of disguising her classic features if she’d designed them for just that task. Still, she smiled prettily enough.
    • Harley later learns that it is deliberate, when s/he meets Delta Spike outside of the labs; Elaine (Delta Spike) goes on to explain that she felt she needed to look smart and competent rather than attractive while working if she was to get anyone in the male-dominated Workshop paying attention to her work instead of her body.

    Western Animation 
  • At the beginning of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "The Mane Event", as the girls wake up from their sleep, we get to see Blossom with her hair down.
  • Kimiko Tohomiko undoes her bun by removing the Tangle Web Comb in order to use it as a weapon during a showdown with Jack Spicer in Xiaolin Showdown episode "Tangled Web!".
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Alone," Marge treats herself to a spa visit but is too worried about her family to relax. While taking a long hot bath, she finally unwinds, allowing herself and her towering hairdo to gradually sink beneath the surface of the water. When she comes back up, both she and the hair have loosened up.
  • In the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Miss Jessica's normally bunned-up hair is let down during her "I Am Becoming" Song "My World is Beginnning Today" as she moves away from her former strict schoolteacher demeanor and decides to stand by Kris no matter what. She does put it back up into a bun after the song, though she does wear a blue dress from that song on instead of the black one she wore before.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: For the first two Books in the series, Katara was known for her "hair loopies", though they often came undone during fight scenes. Come "Book 3: Fire", she finally decided to simply wear her hair long as part of her disguise, while they were in Fire Nation territory.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has Major Carol Danvers undo her bun once she starts fighting crime as Ms. Marvel, using the superpowers she developed after exposure to Kree energy. She also proceeds to wear her hair like this in her civilian identity. Though it's possible she always let her hair hang loose when she wasn't at work, so tying it back in a bun or a ponytail was just for the pragmatic purposes of her military job.
  • Adventure Time:
    • One of the Rule 63 episodes features Fionna removing her hat and revealing her very long hair while singing with "bad little boy" Marshall Lee.
    • The first time Finn took off his hat (season 2 episode "To Cut a Woman's Hair"), it was played as a gender-swapped version of this trope, with a specific focus on the majestic beauty and length of his golden locks.
  • Artemis Crock spends most of Young Justice with her hair tied back in a ponytail for functional day to day reasons, but can occasionally be seen with her hair down, usually to indicate relaxation (Salvage) or vulnerability (Summit).
  • Deb Whitman does this in an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, a brief variation of this shows up in the episode "Sisterhooves Social". Rarity normally has her mane curled, but near the end of the episode, she goes out in the rain to play with Sweetie Belle, and her mane gets straightened by water. While it's unintentional on her part, it still fits, as it's an indicator that she's been willing to relax her desire to keep up appearances in favor of spending time with her sister. Rarity's mane gets straightened by the rain again in "Magical Mystery Cure" and "Rarity Takes Manehattan".

    Real Life 
  • This trope occurs sometimes in women's sports, such as Mixed Martial Arts. Most female fighters with long hair wear it in a Prim and Proper Bun during bouts (for a number of reasons), and when they let their hair down outside of the octagon, they look downright glamorous. Check out this comparison shot of Ronda Rousey with her hair tied and with her hair down respectively.
  • Girls and women ordinarily wearing their hair up will incite the kind of reactions shown in media if, for some reason or other, they have their hair down and they're out in public to get these reactions in the first place.
  • Women and girls with long hair will sometimes wear it up everyday for practical reasons (to protect the ends from damage, keep it from getting tangled, etc.) and only let it down for special occasions.


Video Example(s):


Helen Lets Her Hair Down

As part of her vacation, Helen tries to invoke this. But since she has had her hair in a bun for a while, it stays in the same shape.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LettingHerHairDown

Media sources: