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Locked into Strangeness

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Lucien: What's happened to my hair?
Audric: You've gotten a little streak from the shock of the Dark Gift. Not unusual. The shock's greater for some than others... why, I used to be a brunet! Imagine! And as for Ginevra, she used to be a man!!

Let's say you've stumbled upon a MacGuffin or had some kind of incredible, scarring experience. It tends to change you — and it especially tends to change your hair. Skunk stripes and more are common mementos left on your once-lovely locks.

Compare Power Dyes Your Hair, which is strictly supernatural, often coming and going with the phenomenon causing it; and Prematurely Grey-Haired and Disease Bleach, which occur as a result of more mundane causes, particularly illness, and isn't spontaneous. See also Shapeshifter Mode Lock and Shapeshifting. Contrast Kaleidoscope Hair, when the change isn't permanent and can happen for other reasons.

As a trauma trope, expect spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 7 Seeds has Ango from Team Summer A. The top half of his hair turned white mere hours after the end of the traumatizing Final Test.
    • At one point in the manga, Tetsuo's hair turns completely grey as the result of a major psychic revelation. Later, after he shortly turns into a Blob Monster then reconstitutes himself, his body has lost all pigmentation.
    • The three psychic children that survived the original catastrophe besides Akira (Kyouko, Takashi, and Masaru), also all have white hair (along with albino skin and premature aging), but we don't know if this was gradual or not.
  • Argento Soma sees protagonist Takuto developing one heck of an epic streak after his girlfriend and her mentor are flattened by the wreckage of a laboratory demolished by an escaping alien named Frank.
  • Beastars: Legosi's fur turns completely white when he mistakenly believes that he killed and ate Haru in his sleep. Even though he quickly finds out that she is just fine, his fur doesn't go back to normal for a few chapters. This ends up helping him because while his fur is bleached he gets in trouble with the police, so he goes into hiding until he returns to normal so he won't be recognized.
  • The first time Guts uses the Berserker's Armor in Berserk, he gets a white streak in his hair.
  • In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, Aion's hair turned completely white (on top of his skin becoming darker, for whatever reason) when he witnessed forbidden knowledge during his coming-of-age ceremony, including the fact that the demon's Hive Queen was originally a human woman pregnant with twins — him and Chrono. It's implied his hair and skin color was identical to Chrono's before the change.
  • In D.Gray-Man, Allen Walker's white (originally reddish light brown) hair is the result of the trauma from his Innocence destroying Akuma Mana after he resurrected him with the Millennium Earl's powers.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • Zenitsu was born with black hair, but it turned blond with orange tips (fitting for a user of Thunder Breathing) after being struck by lightning.
    • Additional material states Mitsuri’s current hair color is actually a supernatural dye, just like Zenitsu but not something as grandiose as being struck by lightning, it is comically linked to Mitsuri chowing too much Sakura Mochi over the years. It became a sensitive topic for Mitsuri before she became a demon slayer since her hair no longer being black, in a hegemonic society like Japan in the early 20th century, turned away a potential suitor who specifically disliked her new hair color, not wishing something like that passed down to potential children.
  • Before the mass petrification, Gen Asagiri in Dr. STONE had completely black hair. When he was revived, roughly half of it turned gold (in the manga) or white (in the anime).
  • Upon activating the Nirvash Mark I, Ao's hair color changes from his father's brown to his mother's turquoise in Eureka Seven AO.
  • Probably the most famous example in anime, in Fist of the North Star, Rei's hair turns white after his life is extended by Toki's use of his Shinreidai pressure point.
  • Fourteen. Since Chicken George is... well... you know, a chicken-man hybrid, he doesn't have any hair. However, the horrible secret he discovered about the human race turns his coxcomb (the red crest on his head) white.
  • In the Gungrave anime, Brandon's black hair turns grey after he's reborn as "Beyond the Grave".
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: Isumi's hair is turned white when she uses too much of her power during the Athens arc. Interestingly, when she lost her powers in an earlier arc, no comment is made on her hair changing color in any way.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, the main character Sophie eventually gets her youth back after being cursed to old age, but her hair stays silver. She and Howl both think it looks good, though.
  • Hunter × Hunter: When Knov is infiltrating the Chimera Ant King's palace, the moment he feels a Royal Guard's gigantic aura who is a floor above him is more than enough to traumatize him and scare the living shit out of him. On his return, Knov's hair has turned white, he has become skinnier, and he has lost the courage to fight alongside the heroes. However, he does muster enough bravery to show up on the battlefield and save Shoot. This was at the cost of almost all of his hair completely falling down due to reliving the trauma.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: Giorno Giovanna's hair became blonde after he awakened to his stand power. He is currently the only character this has happened to.
  • In Mermaid Saga, Towa Kannagi's hair turns completely white overnight when she drinks mermaid's blood.
  • In Mission: Yozakura Family, a streak of Mutsumi's hair turns white after the incident that drove her brother mad to protect her and refuses to be dyed.
  • In Mushishi, coming into contact with certain mushi alters your appearance. This is what happened to Ginko, and previously to his mentor, Nui.
  • Musuko ga Kawaikute Shikataganai Mazoku no Hahaoya: Subverted. Merii is scared that she's done this to Chiharu when her healing causes Chiharu's originally brown hair to become black after linking their bodies together to save her from demonitis. However, Chiharu states that Merii's healing was simply too thorough, having reverted her previously bleached hair to its original color.
  • Naruto uses this with Pain/Nagato, whose hair turns from red to white after he resurrects everyone he killed in Konoha. Notably, he dies right after. The same thing later happens to Obito.
  • No. 6's Shion started out looking like a regular dark-haired Japanese guy, but his hair turns white after surviving the birth of a parasite wasp (which usually induces Rapid Aging) and falling into a coma for several days.
  • One Piece: After witnessing the execution of his idol and hero Oden, Denjiro locked himself in a shack weeping in fury for several days. By the time he emerged, his face had been permanently altered by his contortions of anguish and his dark blue hair had turned a much lighter shade. This allows him to go undercover as Orochi's top enforcer "Kyoshiro", to keep an eye on him while plotting his revenge.
  • Half of the hair on Jio's head from O-Parts Hunter is white, to go along with his heterochromatic eyes. Being possessed by Satan does wonders for his personal appearance.
  • Read or Die, the TV series: In the final episode, Joker's hair turns entirely white after being put in direct contact with the mind of Mr. Gentleman. He also goes more or less catatonic. Considering that his hair was naturally platinum blond before this, one may have a difficult time telling the difference.
  • In Sekirei both Minaka and Takami had black hair until they discovered the Sekirei ship. Something about it turned their hair silver.
  • In Soul Eater, Death the Kidd's three horizontal hair stripes, which normally only cover half of his head, begin to stretch around to the other side of his head and connect one at a time when he receives a major power-up. In the manga, this happens because he had been carrying a powerful MacGuffin called BREW which unlocks his true potential. In the anime, it just happens spontaneously. In the manga this is only temporary. However, when he reaches his full potential on his own in the final battle, the hair stripes connect permanently and he becomes a true shinigami in place of his father.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki's hair turns (from black) to white and his nails turn black (or supposedly, a dark blood red in the manga - this was because Kaneki was regenerating his fingers and toes after they repeatedly got cut off) after enduring Cold-Blooded Torture from Yamori (it changes over time in the manga, while the anime shows it happening instantly). This also marks the point where his sanity slips and he is Driven to Madness.
    • In :re, as Haise, his hair starts reverting to black beginning from the crown. By the time he becomes the Black Reaper (i.e. after the events of the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation), his hair was completely black again... before returning to white for the rest of the story. His daughter also ends up inheriting his white hair.
    • For a long time, it was believed by fans that this (or at least the first instance) was due to Marie Antoinette syndrome, but Chapter 99 of :re finally explains that this is because melanin production increases as RC cell activity is suppressed. In other words, suppressing his ghoul powers keeps him from growing white hair.
      • In a plausible instance of Marie Antoinette syndrome, Mutsuki's hair turns from green to white when he remembers what he did in his blackout episodes while under captivity by Torso. It returns to green by the time of the epilogue.
  • About a fifth of the way into the Trigun manga, we notice that Vash (who has just been given an Important Haircut) suddenly has black streaks in his hair. Later on, it's revealed that all Plants are born with blonde hair (or strawberry-blonde in one case), which turns black as their power is used up. Once it turns completely black, the Plant dies. This is unfortunate news, as Vash's own hair by this point is mostly black. Note that the anime adaptation does not have this plot point.
    • Readers can actually watch Vash's hair turn from almost completely blond to nearly black throughout the story; the changes appear incrementally, and after each time he uses his Angel Arm.
    • In the epilogue, we see that Vash is still alive despite his hair being completely black. He either has one random blond strand somewhere we can't see, or he and Knives simply don't work like other Plants, which itself makes some sense since they are the only known male ones.
  • In the Trinity Blood anime, the originally blonde Astaroshe Asran received a single blood-red forelock from a head wound in her backstory. In the original novels, she was originally a Fiery Redhead, whose hair went completely white except that one forelock after the death of her mother.
  • It's shown that Frostina from Yo-Kai Watch had dark black hair and dark black eyes when she was alive. After freezing to death and becoming a Yuki-onna, her hair turned blueish and her eyes turned a bright blue.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU supervillain Prometheus' backstory; his hair went white when his parents were gunned down in front of him by the cops.
  • In the Belgian series Papyrus, the title hero had his once raven-black hair turn white after being frightened to death by a venomous snake crawling over him for hours. It's a plot point later, as an evil demon sees the white-haired Egyptian kid and is shocked to death as well, which saves Papyrus's life.
  • Astro City's Samaritan has his hair turn blue after the Time Travel incident that gives him his powers. He can change it to white at will, but apparently not back to its original black. His archenemy Infidel's hair also changed color as a result of the same incident, going from black to green, though when not using his powers it's blond.
  • In Age of Apocalypse and his following solo series, Nate Grey's hair has a white streak in the fringe. It isn't entirely clear what causes this, though it might have something to do with psychic stress. Certainly, a period in Cable & Deadpool showed that Cable (Nate's mainstream counterpart), had the same white streak when de-aged.
  • The Sandman (1989): In The Corinthian: Death in Venice, Amedeo's hair turns abruptly white when his body is possessed by the Corinthian. His already mentally disturbed lover, Coco (or Pestilence, or Columbina), alludes to this trope, saying she's willing to bet it didn't happen out of fear...
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • In the original run of the comic, the second Invisible Kid ended up with a white streak in his hair after coming face-to-face with Darkseid.
    • The Postboot incarnation of Shrinking Violet gained a lock of green hair in the aftermath of the "Emerald Vi" incident.
  • In New Avengers (2015), Sunspot is afflicted with an illness that sends his mutant power into overdrive, but causes him to age prematurely if he uses it. The first time he does, to defeat the Maker, a lock of his hair is instantly dyed white as he loses five years of his life.
  • Jason Blood has a white streak in his dark-auburn/red-brown hair as a result of being the human host for the Demon Etrigan.
    • So did the original Jim Corrigan, as a result of being the human host for The Spectre.
    • During the time when they were both active in the DCU, it was sometimes difficult to tell which of them had just appeared on-panel.
  • Strangers in Paradise: This happens to Francine after she somehow "feels" that something had happened to Katchoo and David (who, at the moment, were involved in a plane crash).
  • Applied via Retcon to Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Rebirth. His hair going white at the temples was the first sign that he had been touched by the power of the fear demon Parallax.
  • An Archie comic has Mr. Lodge's hair turn white when he saw Archie doing something stupid. What's funny is that he had dyed his hair earlier that day.
  • In Batman comics, going through the Lazarus Pit apparently puts white streaks in your hair. (This is applied inconsistently.)
  • Depending on the artist, the white streaks at the sides of Doctor Strange's head are either placed near his ears where hair would naturally start greying (indicating age) or placed higher to make him look distinctive (this trope).
  • In X-Men, Rogue got her trademark skunk stripe after her powers first manifested. She was having her First Kiss and accidentally sent the boy into a coma. This event triggers a lot of guilt on Rogue's part and thoroughly establishes to her the danger of her ability. Afterwards, she starts isolating herself from others.
  • In Preacher, Herr Starr's hair fell out when he was five years old the night after a group of boys scratched his right eye out.
  • Nathan Never. After seeing her wife horribly slaughtered by a man he arrested time before, most of his hairs (all but the sides) turn white. Instantly, to the horror of a couple cops present. Curiously, when Nathan meets an alternate universe himself, he sports white hairs too, even if his wife is alive and well.
  • Being resurrected as part of the Vigil in Death Vigil grants the person Mystical White Hair. The protagonist, Sam, calls it the "dye after you die club".
  • In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge succeeds in scaring off the Whiskervilles from the grounds of his ancestral castle, and as a result, they all have completely white hair from then on.
  • Lady Death originally had blonde hair and blue eyes as a human, but they turned into complete white after being sent to Hell and having her body corrupted by its surrounding energies.
  • Satan's Hollow: A young boy who is attacked by ghosts while investigating the Hollow with his friend is later found with his hair turned completely white from the experience.
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • Sonic's fur was brown and spiked differently until an accident turned him blue. This accident also gave him Super-Speed.
    • According to one story, Amy was originally brown-furred but an incident caused her fur to turn pink.
  • Hound: Setanta originally has blond hair like his mother, Detira, but exposure to Morrigan's dark power turns his hair black to reflect the goddess' influence.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: Due to being briefly possessed by Chthon during the Final Battle of Book I, Harry is left with a white forelock in his black hair, much to his confusion. This is one of a number of things compounding his resemblance to Nate Grey/a young Cable
  • In the crossover fanfic CSI: Death by Chocolate, adult Violet Beauregard, last seen post-blueberried at age 12(ish), has blue hair. And skin.
  • In Frost Killing Hour, the white/platinum blond-haired siblings Jack and Elsa have dark-haired parents. Jack and Elsa get their light hair from their powers.
  • Gentaro has black hair as shown in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. In SplitxEnd, it's stated that he originally had white hair because he's a descendant of Asclepius. He gained the black hair after a traumatic experience in his life—his parents' death. Tears to Shed also hints that the power also has to do with Ophiuchus saving him from death.
  • Life Ore Death:
    • Joseph Wilson, aka Jericho, gets green eyes and superpowers after Miss Martian saves his life with an emergency flesh graft.
    • It's averted with the main character, Ferris - her most unusual physical trait, her "tawny gold" eye color, is entirely natural, and the mundane result of genetic drift between Scadrial and Earth.
  • The animation for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic song "Lullaby for a Princess" has Celestia's pink mane turn its current tone after using the Elements of Harmony on Nightmare Moon.
  • Subverted in The Queen of Hearts. Elsa always thought her platinum blonde hair had something to do with her ice powers. In actuality, she inherited it from her biological father. Her parents couldn't conceive an heir so they asked a man to impregnate the queen.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fic Princess Trixie Sparkle, when Celestia's powers get taken away, her mane turns pink and stops flowing. It's later shown that she was born a pink-maned Earth pony.
  • The Shinigami from Project Tatterdemalion don't just gain tentacles and psychic powers from a genetically engineered super vaccine, it also replaces their hair with swaying psychic tendrils, often in unnatural colors like purple or silver.
  • In Undocumented Features, Corwin Ravenhair develops a white forelock in his otherwise black hair after ascending as an Aesir and becoming the pillar of Cephiro.
  • Downplayed in No Hidden Contracts, Taxes, or Fees. After Rouxls and Spamton unfuse, both characters find that their hair has partially changed to the color of the other's.
  • Total Drama Legacy: In "Virtual Royale-ity", Drew develops a white streak in his hair due to repeated electric shocks. This is a Call-Back to what happens to Lightning in "Brain vs. Brawn: The Ultimate Showdown". Lightning himself even states in "The Dash for the Cash" that what happened to Drew gave him a serious case of "day jaw food".

    Films — Animation 
  • Show Within a Show example: In Bolt, Bolt's superdog tv persona acquires a black lightning-bolt mark on one side when Penny's scientist father equips him with superpowers. It's actually painted on and fades as Bolt learns to be a regular dog.
  • As a child Anna from Frozen got a white streak in her hair when her sister Elsa accidentally struck her in the head with her ice magic, which she later thinks she was born with due to Grand Pabbie wiping her memories of Elsa's powers. Later on, her hair starts quickly becoming whiter after Elsa accidentally freezes her heart; her skin also becomes paler and frostbitten as she gets closer to totally freezing. However, after she thaws out following her Heroic Sacrifice, her hair no longer has the streak.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: The same Green Rocks that turn Susan Murphy into a 49-foot-11-and-a-half-inch giantess also bleach her auburn hair white. Noticeably, she still keeps the white hair even when she's Brought Down to Normal (and back to her original size) by getting the Green Rocks extracted from her body. She gets them back in short order.
  • Rise of the Guardians: White-haired, blue-eyed Jack Frost used to have brown hair and eyes before he drowned in a lake.
  • The Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, when disguising herself as an old hag, uses "A Scream of Fright" to whiten her hair.
  • In Song of the Sea, Saoirse's hair starts to turn white to show how a long time without wearing her coat is taking a toll on her body. Bronagh, in the beginning, also got some white hair to show how bad her pregnancy really was for her.
  • Turning Red: After gaining her "panda powers", Mei's black hair turns red in human form. While it's implied everyone subject to the curse had red hair if the panda spirit is not actively sealed away, Mei decides to keep the red panda, resulting in what's implied to be permanent red hair.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the wuxia classic The Bride With White Hair, the titular bride becomes this after suffering a night-long Heroic BSoD.
  • Cloud Atlas: Zachry tells a story about a man named Truman, whose black hair went white from the shock of seeing Old Georgie harvesting a soul.
  • Constantine (2005): Constantine tells the men helping him with the possessed girl "Close your eyes. And whatever happens, don't look." One of them does and his hair instantly turns white.
  • Bruce Campbell gets a grey streak over his temple at the end of Evil Dead 2.
  • Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four (2005) movie gets his comic counterpart's grey temples after being exposed to the cosmic radiation that gives the eponymous four their powers.
  • In Ghostbusters (2016), Abby and Erin gain white hair after being hit by lightning in the Ghost Dimension.
  • Metropolis: Joh Fredersen is dark-haired for most of the film, but goes totally gray while watching his son and Rotwang fight it out on top of the cathedral.
  • In the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Nancy Thompson developed a streak of white hair after one of her encounters with Freddy Krueger in the dreamworld.
  • This happened to the Mom in Poltergeist after she rescued her little daughter from that ghost world – two white streaks in hair, one at each temple.
  • In The Royal Tenenbaums, the pet hawk that is released early in the film returns towards the end, but with a good deal of his feathers turned white. His owner speculates that he must have had some kind of shocking or traumatic experience, but he isn't really sure.
  • Cole and Vincent from The Sixth Sense both have white patches in their hair. M. Night Shyamalan has said that this is a consequence of the supernatural ability they share.
  • In The Ten Commandments (1956), Moses's hair turns grey after his encounter with God at the burning bush.
  • The Walking Dead (1936)': After being brought back from the dead, John Ellman develops a white stripe down one side of his hair.
  • In Young Frankenstein, Elizabeth's hair gets two white streaks after she's been abducted by the monster. This is mostly so she can have the Bride of Frankenstein hairdo later, because it's funnier that way. Of course, then there's the Bride herself...
  • Rogue gets her white streak in the X-Men Film Series because of Magneto's attempted power transfer toward the end of the first film. After recovering, she admits that she likes how it looks.

  • The Avenger: Richard Henry Benson's hair and skin turned pure white after the loss of his wife and child, and he suffered from paralyzed facial muscles as well, which led him to become the heroic Avenger in the Pulp Magazine series of that name.
  • A non-supernatural example in Gary Jennings' Aztec: Zyanya has black hair, except for a streak of white at the front. Her mother explains that a scorpion stung her at her hairline when she was a baby and her hair was always white at that spot.
  • When Kyri makes her pact with Myrionar in The Balanced Sword, she is marked with hair in the god's colors.
  • At the start of Volume 8 of The Beginning After the End, Arthur finds out that in the aftermath of the climactic battle at the end of the previous volume - wherein his bond Sylvie had performed a Heroic Sacrifice to save him after he had almost tore his own body apart using Sylvia's Beast Will - that his hair and eyes had turned to the same white-gold as Sylvie's. He realizes that Sylvie had given up her own physical form to reconstitute his own.
  • In David Eddings' The Belgariad and Mallorean series:
    • This is the reason for Polgara's white lock. She got it when her father, the sorcerer Belgarath, first laid his hand upon her after she was born. It resists cutting and dyeing, which has led to some interesting dilemmas when they've been trying to hide from their enemies. This trope shows up in the entire Rivan royal line, too, and (possibly?) all the disciples of Aldur. Polgara's hair is just the most striking example. With most disciples, it appears as a sort of birthmark. Garion's is the most consistent, as all descendants of Riva Iron-Grip carry the mark on their palm: the same palm Riva used to touch the Orb of Aldur.
    • Additionally, Belgarath's hair is entirely white (as befits his age). In the Book of Alorn, this is put down to frost settling in his hair during the trek across the frozen land bridge between Aloria and Mallorea. But in Belgarath the Sorcerer, he claims that it had gone white before then, and blames stress from dealing with the Alorns. However, the early narrative points to a more prosaic reason: he'd simply been around for a while and lost track of time.
  • In Elinor M Brent-Dyer's Chalet School series, Miss Wilson's hair turns white after she and a group of students are forced to escape from local Nazis via a secret passageway.
  • C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: Uncle Andrew, the Magician in The Magician's Nephew tells his nephew Digory Kirke that his hair turned white as a result of the bizarre magical experiments performed in order to create the rings.
  • Circleverse: Kethlun Warder, Tris's apprentice in Shatterglass, is a more mundane example. He has a white patch in his otherwise blond hair from a lightning strike.
  • Happens at the end of the Classic Singapore Horror Stories short, "The White Tiger of Kilimanjaro"; two Egomaniac Hunters travels to the Indonesian jungles to hunt a mystical white tiger, only to encounter it at the end and witnessing the tiger's supernatural powers. One gets killed (via Flaying Alive!) while the other returns in the final paragraph with his hair turned entirely white.
  • Codex Alera:
    • The Marat - basically a race of "barbarian" wood elves - are described as having Technicolor Eyes as "whelps" (children). When a Marat bonds with their chala, they have an Eye Color Change so that their eyes now permanently match the eye color of their chala. Most notably, this is the immediate sign in Furies of Calderon that Tavi has become Kitai's chala when her eyes change from being iridescent to his bright green.
    • Thanks to him having been in a stress-induced coma for the majority of Academ's Fury, Gaius Sextus' hair permanently changes from black to white after he's finally awoken and made ambulatory again.
  • Come Tumbling Down: After Cora is briefly possessed by the Drowned Gods of the Moors as their mouthpiece, she's left with faintly iridescent skin and hair that's always sopping wet. Whether it's just a cosmetic effect or a sign that she's Claimed by the Supernatural is left ambiguous.
  • In the Corean Chronicles beings who use the conduits linking worlds are transformed due to the long journey. This makes identifying ifrits and those possessed by their powers easier for those who know.
  • Extreme example: the "old man" in A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Discworld: Susan Sto Helit, adoptive granddaughter of Death, is slightly more than human because of the odd way heredity works on the Disc. Signifying this, her hair is pure white with a single black streak running through it.
  • Raistlin in Dragonlance had his hair turned white by the Test of High Sorcery, among the other bizarre changes it wrought to his appearance.
    • In the Dragonlance: The New Adventures books, Nearra got a streak of black (the "possessed" hair color) in her normally blond (the "normal" hair color) hair after the events of the first book, in which she came dangerously close to having her Superpowered Evil Side take over.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • After Justine was nearly killed by her Friendly Neighborhood Vampire boyfriend Thomas Raith, her hair turned snow-white. It's stayed that way even though she's been steadily recovering for over nine books now.
    • In Changes, Harry Dresden's fairy godmother Lea is shown to have gained white streaks in her hair as a memento of Mab's torture therapy to rid her of Nemesis.
  • Erast Fandorin's temples become completely gray (in sharp contrast to the rest of his hair, which remains black until very old age) after witnessing his wife blown to pieces by an assassin's bomb in the end of the first novel. In a much later book, the villain used this characteristic trait (and a few others) to successfully impersonate Fandorin.
  • The Factory Witches of Lowell: When the mill girls make a vow not to cross the picket line until their demands are met, they use a bit of witchcraft to bind themselves to the oath by weaving strands of their hair together. One of the girls, Abigail, tries to break the strike in secret, only for the magic of the spell to cause her hair to fall out the moment she goes to the overseer. The other girls mock Abigail for her bald head and weak fortitude, but agree that losing her hair is punishment enough (and a fantastic warning to other strikers not to give in) and welcome her back to the strike.
  • Kim Ford of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry. Her hair all turns pure white after she completes her "apprenticeship". A later book, Ysabel, reveals some of the problems she had when she returned to our world, by refusing to dye it back or pretend her experiences didn't happen.
  • After Doc experiences God in Lester del Rey's short story "For I Am A Jealous People", his hair turns white.
  • In The Grisha Trilogy, Alina's hair turns white at the end of Siege and Storm after she exploits her connection with the Darkling to take control of his nichevo'ya and create her own.
  • In "The Gypsies in the Wood", a girl named Maeve is stolen away by the fair folk and when she returns she has a skunk stripe. The story also has a scene with the protagonists, occult investigators Charles Beauregard and Kate Reed, that plays with the idea: Kate realizes that Charles has changed the way he styles his facial hair, correctly guesses that it's to hide the fact that he's started getting the mundane kind of white hairs, and jokes that after some of the things he's seen it's a wonder his hair hasn't already been turned completely white.
  • Use of magic eventually bleaches mages' hair in the Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey. (This is also why Companions are white.)
  • Several of Kay Hooper's characters in her psychic series end up with a white streak going through their hair.
  • At the end of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, the black half of Cruella de Vil's hair turns white with shock. The white half turns green.
  • In the Indigo series, Indigo's hair goes gray after she lets the sealed evil out of its can. And then slowly reverts to its original red over the course of the series.
  • Stephen King:
    • In The Stand, Nadine starts with black hair, gains several white stripes, then ends up all-white as a result of her personal proximity to Randall Flagg.
    • Also in his short story "The Jaunt", a character who stays awake during the jaunt ends up white-haired and insane, because Hyperspace Is a Scary Place.
    • And then there's Pet Sematary, where the protagonist's hair turning white is the last sign that he's snapped completely.
    • In his short story "The Mangler" (published in the collection Night Shift), the protagonist's hair also turns white by the end.
    • Same goes for main character Sam Peebles in "The Library Policeman" (Four Past Midnight).
  • In the Lockwood & Co. series, people who have been to the Other Side (the realm of the dead) tend to develop white flecks in their hair.
  • Machine Man: The Cyborg security guard Carl almost kills Cassandra and everyone else at Better Future. Afterwards, Cassandra's hair is "the color of ash".
  • In Les Misérables, the emotional turmoil Valjean goes through while trying to decide whether he should reveal himself as an ex-convict and save a man who has been falsely accused makes his hair turn completely white overnight.
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams, Simon gains a scar and white streak in his hair after being burned by dragon's blood. From then on he's often referred to as Simon Snowlock.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy and Annabeth get matching gray streaks in their hair from literally holding up the weight of the sky. Subverted when later installments show this is only temporary.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany: Johnny has this happen to him when he (apparently) has a beyond the grave encounter with Owen.
  • Fitz from the Realm of the Elderlings series had a literal scarring experience that turned a streak of his hair white – someone bashed him over the head with an axe. He decided to go by the name of Tom Badgerlock in the second trilogy for this very reason. He got better later in the series and had to quickly figure out why he now no longer had a white lock in his hair.
  • Nile Barrabas, the mercenary hero of the 1980s Gold Eagle Heroes "R" Us series Soldiers of Barrabas, had his hair turn white after a head injury in the Vietnam War. This gives him a startling appearance that's often lampshaded.
  • Star Wars Legends: Jagged Fel developed a white lock and scar from some head trauma he suffered. His descendants exhibit the same hair and scarring, and the surrounding Fanon suggests it's a family tradition.
  • Don Simon Ysidro in Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night had his hair and skin turn white when he became a vampire; "bleaching" is a rare but not unheard of occurrence to vampires in the book.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Tower and the Hive series, the Rowan has her hair turn totally white as a result of childhood trauma. Her children and grandchildren inherit white streaks.
  • In The Witcher book series, Geralt says his hair turned white during the Trials. Possibly due to his unique heritage, he received minimal side effects from the Trial of the Grasses. His teachers then decided to subject him to additional experiments, which he survived, with the most noticeable results being his white hair, totally devoid of pigmentation.
  • In the Zoë Martinique series, Zoe gets, then loses, and then gets again, a white lock of hair. It also changes sizes a few times.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Avengers (1960s) showing Tara King's backstory, she was originally white-haired, until she saw something so horrifying that it turned her hair black.
  • The early Charmed (1998) episode "From Fear to Eternity" has Prue's hair turning slightly white due to nearly drowning because the sisters are being targeted by Barbas for the first time; all the other witches targeted by him die of fear, with completely white hair.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Revealed courtesy of Martha Jones in the Torchwood episode "Reset", enough exposure to time radiation will forever alter you down to the genetic level, which had the added effect of granting a limited immunity/resistance to being caught up in events that change the timestream in unnatural ways. Doctor Who elaborates on this by saying that as a time traveller, you perceive time differently: one benefit is that you will still remember anything that was lost by time being rewritten or even unwritten (but you have to try really hard). And please try very hard not to conceive a child while within the time vortex itself (even in the safety of a TARDIS), or it might just grow up to be a Time Lord. (Ordinary Gallifreyans became true Time Lords through centuries of exposure to time radiation, making them nearly ageless and damn close to immortal, and able to perceive all possible pasts and futures.)
    • "The End of Time": The Master has white hair after his resurrection was sabotaged. It crosses over with Disease Bleach as he is slowly dying, exacerbated by Cast from Lifespan superpowers that his Horror Hunger can't completely stave off.
  • Discussed an early episode of Married... with Children. The Bundy family goes on vacation to an odd little town in Florida, and the local yokels refer to Kelly (who had bleached platinum blonde hair) as "that poor little white-haired girl." They decide something must have scared her to make her hair that way.
  • On Millennium (1996) Frank's hair turns white after Catherine dies in the Group-engineered plague. It's downplayed in Season 3, with white only at the temples.
  • According to his Backstory, Mystery Science Theater 3000's Dr. Clayton Forrester gained a white streak in his hair (and his mustache) after being struck by lightning. And according to Word of God, one other spot. Use your imagination.
  • Pretty Freekin Scary: Frankie Ripp gets a permanent white streak in her hair that cannot be dyed as a result of side effects from her resurrection.
  • In Princess Silver, Rong Le's hair turns white after she stabs Wu You.
  • From Cirque du Soleil's Quirky Work Solstrom: In the horror pastiche episode "Howling Wind", the magic that transforms an old hotel into a Haunted Castle / Hell Hotel hybrid leaves its elderly owner with Einstein Hair. And in a rare example of this relating to Shapeshifting, it turns out to be the first step in his slow Metamorphosis into a Wolf Man.
  • True Blood: Vampires don't age, so whatever age they're turned at is the age they'll always appear no matter how many centuries old they are.
  • In Twin Peaks, Leland Palmer's hair turns white after he kills Jacques Reanult in the first season's finale.
  • Word of Honor: Wen Kexing's hair turns white after he saves Zhou Zishu.

  • In the song "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm" by the Crash Test Dummies, the first verse is entirely about this trope. Namely, it's about a boy whose hair turned "from black into bright white" as the result of a traumatic car accident.
  • Voltaire's "The Beast of Pirate's Bay" includes a verse about Blackbeard the pirate's encounter with the beast resulting in his beard turning white and making him look like Santa Claus.
  • 2D, lead singer of the rock band Gorillaz, fell out of a tree at a young age, landing on his head and knocking all his hair out. It grew back in bright blue and has stayed that way since.

    Myth & Religion 
  • In Breton mythology, one story about Ankou (An entity similar to The Grim Reaper) describes his cart breaking down on the side of the road. Three men encounter him. Two of them throw stones at him and run away; the third offers to fix his cart. The next day, the pair who ran away are dead, while the one who stayed merely had his hair turn white.
  • In Irish folklore, Fionn mac Cumhaill was born Deimne, but received the nickname Fionn (meaning "fair") when his hair prematurely turned white. The exact cause varies (as does whether his hair was actually white or platinum blond), but the most popular explanations tend to make it an aftereffect of Fionn offending a fairy and briefly being cursed with old age.
  • More than a few ghost stories and urban myths claim that the fright of [insert scary supernatural incident here] caused the witnesses' hair to go white.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Mages who get overwhelmed by magical power and shunted into Twilight sometimes come back with minor modifications like iridescent eyes, hands that leave sooty marks on anything they touch, or the lingering smell of sulphur.
  • C°ntinuum: roleplaying in The Yet: The supplement Further Information: A Gamemaster's Treasury of Time has a Virgin Era NPC named Gos Poyikt. His hair is prematurely grey due to a horrible childhood experience he doesn't like to talk about.
  • Mage: The Awakening allows this (for varying durations) via the Branding Paradox result, which inflicts upon the mage an unnatural feature ranging from an odd scent to scales and a tail. Also, Arctos, a newly-awakened Mastigos mentioned in the core book's introduction flavour text, mentions that his formerly black hair went white in an instant when he Awakened to Pandemonium.
  • Pathfinder: Normally, gnomes have very bright hair in a great variety of shades. Balazar, the iconic Summonernote  used to be the same, with a fiery red mop and mustache. It turned white as snow when he was forced to gaze into the Void Chasm, a pit full of spirits and swirling mist that drove everyone else who looked into it mad, which was also the incident that saw him bonded to his eidolon, Padrig. Notably, this makes him look like he's undergoing Bleaching, the process where gnomes who don't experience enough new things slowly turn bone-white and die, something he's rather touchy about.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: Lillian Corvus (The Matriarch/The Harpy/Pinion) has hair that is mostly white, with a black streak down the middle. The designers have stated that her hair used to be all black until she first put on a mask that unlocked her magical power.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The ancient elven wizard Savan of Tiranoc once attempted to climb the Annulii Mountains that ring the High Elves' homeland of Ulthuan, something nobody ever did before or since, to learn what waited at their top and whether they were in fact a connection to the realm of the gods. Nobody knows what he saw up there, but when he came back down his black hair had been turned white as snow, his eyes were gone and he had been struck mute.

    Video Games 
  • Deadly Premonition. Zach's hair turned from brown to white upon witnessing the death of both of his parents and being attacked by Kaysen. His hair, as well as scar, are hidden throughout the whole game as the players play through the viewpoint of his second personality, York, who selectively omits these two changes to Zach's appearance.
  • Endless Ocean pokes fun at this trope with the salvage treasure the Deity Idol. Finding each piece of it will result in you receiving e-mails saying that you are now suffering from a horrific curse which will, among other things, turn your hair white... and there will be included file attachments which, yes, let you equip pure white hairstyles.
  • Fatal Frame
    • Itsuki — the boy locked in the storehouse — in Fatal Frame II has his hair turn white overnight after killing his twin brother during the ritual. This seems to occur with some Remainings while others keep their normal hair color.
    • Also happens to Tsuzuri Osaka, one of the ghosts in Fatal Frame III. She had also killed her twin sister, though the backstory to this falls under All There in the Manual.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: There is a secretive group within The Empire who performed experiments with Crests on children to try and give the test subject more than one Crest. The two characters these tests worked on, Edelgard and Lysithea, had their hair turn white as a side effect.
  • Gene Troopers has the Aloof Dark-Haired Girl sidekick, Keysha, turning her hair blonde after she's resurrected, and her hair remains light for the rest of the game.
  • The King of Fighters: As a side effect of the horrific NESTS experiments that created him, Nameless has a noticeable white stripe in his black hair. A flashback in the manhua adaptation of The King of Fighters XII depicts him with fully black hair until his girlfriend Isolde dies, after which he gains the stripe.
  • Last Scenario: In an inversion of the usual change, a blond character's hair turns black after prolonged exposure to a harmful magical substance.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: As a result of losing control of his Superpowered Evil Side in III, Rean Schwarzer's hair has semi-permanently turned white in IV. It reverts back to its original black hue in the true ending due to the Erebonian Curse dissipating.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future: Paul's hair takes quite the transformation when he sees Claire and Hershel together. And for him, that's some serious business.
  • Resident Evil 5: Jill goes blonde (not albino). If you pay very close attention, it's mentioned this is a result of harvesting T antibodies from her blood, which makes slightly more sense, verging on Truth in Television. It isn't unusual for patients undergoing treatment with chemicals or radiation (such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer) to find that their hair grows in a different shade and/or texture after treatment.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sega of America's origin for Sonic involved this. It was adapted into Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic. Sonic was a prickly brown hedgehog who befriended Dr. Kintobor. An accident turned Sonic blue and turned the friendly doctor into Dr. Robotnik. This origin story is non-canon to the games as of Sonic Adventure.
  • Steel Harbinger: Miranda, the player heroine, has blonde hair in the opening cinematics. Then she gets caught by a dormant alien pod and nearly assimilated, surviving the attack only to become a half-human, half-mechanical monster, and while she keeps her hair, it's now silver-white.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: A variant. Unicorns normally have pure white coats. Oleander used to be the same, but her study and practice of dark magic slowly caused her coat to turn dark charcoal gray.
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles has young Lara sneaking off to a haunted island by following Father Dunstan in secret. When she runs into him later on, she notices the man's once black hair is completely white. Dunstan theorizes the color change was due to his run-in with a demon.
  • Warcraft:
  • The Wind Road has Jiu-erh, who tries reviving herself with her chi to continue fighting you after her boss battle. She undid all the damage you inflict on her, but in the process turning her black hair silver-white.
  • XCOM 2: Soldiers who undergo training as a Psi Operative gain Mystical White Hair as a side effect of unlocking their Psychic Powers. That said, you can just as easily use the game's character customization options to change it back to their original color, or any color you'd like.

    Visual Novels 
  • Intense magic use in the Nasuverse has the potential to change hair, eye, and even skin pigmentation.
    • Aoko Aozaki's red hair is credited to her abuse of thaumaturgy.
    • Archer's white hair, gray eyes, and dark skin is implied, before eventual confirmation in Fate/EXTRA, to be the result of overusing his thaumaturgy.
    • After a lifetime of experiences best not explained on this page, Sakura Matou has been left with purple hair and eyes, something actually noted as unusual.
    • Kariya Matou was also affected by the same experience as Sakura, having white hair as a result.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Kiyotaka Ishimaru has his hair turned white after he gets out of a funk after Mondo Owada's trial and subsequent execution, in which Alter Ego consoles him by mimicking said killer's voice and changing his face display. It returns to his normal color after he is killed.
  • Fatal Twelve: The gold Rinka's hair might be the result of her being born outside of fate during a previous Divine Selection, or it might be because she's a relative of Parca. It's left ambiguous.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Prosecutor Simon Blackquill gained a white patch in his formerly entirely black hair after being convicted of murder and sent to the clink for it.

    Web Animation 
  • In Jerry, young Jerry's hair turns completely white after he takes a peek into Closet of Unimaginable Psychological Horror. However, later cartoons show that his hair continued to grow in with its regular color until he was back to normal.
  • No Evil: Taking up the Red Tezcatlipoca burns Kitty's formerly red fur ash-grey.
  • RWBY: At the end of Volume 9, Jaune is returned to age 19 after aging years during his time in the Ever After. He looks the same as he did at the end of Volume 8, but his blonde hair is streaked with white.

  • In Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, Jason Todd has a white tuft in his hair after his resurrection.
  • Can happen to vampires in Bite Me! Lucien gets a white streak in his hair, while Audric's hair is completely white. Ginevra also gained a streak, though contrary to Audric's claim, she was always female.
  • In Court of Roses, Merlow's blond hair has a red streak running down his left braid. Nocturne's research indicates that it is a demon brand.
  • In Dominic Deegan, Gregory gets a combination of this trope, and an inversion of Power Dyes Your Hair after a fight with the Infernomancer, which caused him to permanently lose his magic. The result made his white hair turn black, with the reasoning that his White Magic vanishing was akin to a light going out, and his hair reflected that.
  • Happens many times in The Dragon Doctors.
    • The wizard Sarin has green hair as a leftover from when she was turned into a tree.
    • The shaman Kili's hair turned white thanks to a shock caused by the emergence of her hypersensitive spirit sight in childhood, and when Kili and her boyfriend Greg became werewolves later, a side-effect was their hair growing really long.
    • There's also been one case of a woman trapped in slow motion having her hair grow several inches when she's accelerated back to normal speed.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • Arthur in Find Chaos has vivid blue hair, but was blond in the flashback comics. In the interim, he escaped from a mental institution by "...dying. A little."; it's not yet confirmed whether the two are related.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons, Allison's hair turns white after her Deal with the Devil with Incubus; it's still white after a one-year Time Skip.
  • Necessary Monsters: Creeping Tuesday's Game Face permanently replaces her human face when she enters another monster's Dying Dream and looks into the fires of Hell. He tells her that they burn away all self-deception — in this case, the facade that she's anything other than a Fully-Embraced Fiend.
  • In Splitting Image, a side effect of Black Magic is having your skin become paler and eyes turn neon-red. Even in a town full of vampires and other strange creatures, the protagonist Mortimer stands out like a sore thumb.
  • Alex Ivanova from The Sword Interval has a head of pure white hair despite her apparent youth. The prologue of the comic shows it used to be red, until she got a Facepalm Of Doom from the Heirophant, bleaching it instantly.
  • The anthropomorphic raccoon hero of Tales of the Questor has a white cow-lick where he was touched by a mythic entity — believed by some to be equivalent to an angel.
  • In When She Was Bad, Amber Price's hair turns blue when she receives superpowers. She is initially distraught by the change and eventually starts wearing a wig to hide it.

    Western Animation 
  • Princess Yue of Avatar: The Last Airbender was a sickly child but perfectly dark-haired; her hair turned white when the Moon Spirit healed her.
  • In the opening four-part episode of DC Super Hero Girls, Bumblebee gets an electric shock that gives her a yellow skunk stripe.
  • The Dragon Prince has two examples with similar causes:
    • Viren started out looking like a normal human being. However, when he starts using dark magic way too often, his skin ends up becoming grey and deteriorated while some of his hair turns white. It turns out this is a permanent alteration, but he can use a butterfly's essence to mask the change and make himself seem normal.
    • Claudia's hair gradually turns more white whenever she uses incredibly powerful sources of dark magic. When she used a fawn's essence to save her brother Soren from paralysis, a lock of her hair turned white. When she raised Viren from the dead, the rest of her hair on the left side of her head turned white as well.
  • In the Futurama episode "Mobius Dick", Zoidberg is so traumatized by a Space Whale attack that he grows hair just so it can turn white.
  • In Gargoyles, gangster Tony Dracon has a streak in his hair after his first appearance in "Deadly Force"; Word of God says that the in-universe rationale for this is because Dracon's first encounter with the gargoyles scared him so badly.
  • Harley Quinn, in her animated series, got her skin bleached white from a dip in the same chemicals that created the Joker.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • In his normal form Timber Wolf's eyes, fur, claws, fangs, and pointy ears were a result of his father tampering with his DNA too much. Before he was experimented on he was a normal-looking human boy.
    • After being shocked by the Lightning Beasts, Garth and his brother Mekt ended up with electric blue eyes instead of brown as well as Garth's scar on his face and Mekt's dark hair turning white.
    • After the events of "Dark Victory", Brainy became human (except he still had green skin and white circles on his forehead in the shape of the Brainiac symbol) when he was an android for the previous episodes.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Juniper Lee has a fuchsia stripe on the left side of her head upon becoming the Te Xuan Ze, with the hairstreak being justified in-show as "the mark of the Great Protector". In the episode where June is shown getting her powers, it's plain white, in the show proper it is a weird mix of dark pink and fuschia. Likely not a result of dying it, since other Te Xuan Ze's shown before have a similar color of hairstreak, excluding Jasmine Lee whose streak was lilac. Her grandmother's streak turned gray upon aging. Juniper's streak also fits in rather well with her status as lead singer/guitarist of her and her siblings' rock band.
  • According to the "Cutie Mark Chronicles" episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Pinkie Pie's curly mane and tail used to be straight, until she was hit by the force of Rainbow Dash's first sonic rainboom, which also made her want to spend her life smiling and having fun.
    • This is proven in a following episode, "Party of One", where her hair immediately loses its curl when she thinks her friends no longer like her and all the joy drains out of her life. Referenced in the next episode, "Best Night Ever", where Rarity tries to straighten her hair. It works... for about three seconds when her excitement about the Grand Galloping Gala causes her hair to become curly again.
    • Shown again twice in Season 4. In "Pinkie Pride", her hair is shown to have lost some of its bounce when newcomer Cheese Sandwich has bested her at her own special talent, throwing parties, and her friends ask him to organize a party for Rainbow Dash even though she had been doing so for days. The second time, in "Maud Pie", Pinkie's hair partially deflates on-camera (with sound-effect) when the others tell her they were unable to form any kind of rapport with her big sister Maud.
  • The Owl House:
    • Eda's curse caused her to visibly age faster, leaving her with grey hair by her mid-forties.
    • At the end of the first season, Lilith ends up with a grey streak in her hair after she decides to share Eda's curse. This stands out quite a bit given the fact that her hair was already dyed at the time. Both sisters also have one of their eyes change colour to grey.
    • An odd example happens with Hunter in the third season. When Flapjack sacrifices his life to save Hunter's, his dark pink eyes change colour to brown.
  • Starlite from Rainbow Brite originally had a white mane. When Wisp became Rainbow Brite he gained the ability to fly, and his mane turned rainbow.
  • In Recess, one episode established that Butch's skunk stripe came from him being traumatised after seeing two teenagers making out.
  • On one episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris' latest fiendish plan is so horrible that Natasha's hair turns white upon reading it. "Not white, dahlink. Ash blonde."
  • The Simpsons: Kent Brockman got his white hair when he snuck backstage at a theme park and saw its mouse mascot take his head off. In the same episode, Barney's hair turns white then he is told that the park's castle was really made of plywood.
  • Steven Universe:
    • After the events of "Off Colors", Lars was brought Back from the Dead and has changed colors along with gaining powers. His skin has turned bright pink while his hair turned a soft, cotton candy-like pink. It's heavily implied the same happened to Lion.
    • At the end of "Change Your Mind", the Corrupted Gems are purified by the power of the Diamonds, but most of them retain parts of their Corrupted form in their regular form. For example, all Corrupted Jaspers retain the horns and bangs they had while Corrupted, and Jasper herself retained the green skin patches and horns she got from fusing with the Corrupted Ocean Jasper.
  • Total Drama: In the Revenge of the Island finale, Lightning's brown hair was bleached white after being struck by lightning during his duel with Cameron.
  • In Transformers: Animated, it's been revealed that this is how Isaac Sumdac got the grey/white streak in his otherwise black hair. He found a protoform, and when he touched it, it did... something to him while scanning his DNA, resulting in said hair.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, the front part of Shiro's hair turned white after he spent a year being locked up and experimented on by the Galra. By the end of Season 6, his hair is completely white.

    Real Life 
  • There's an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata, which causes hair to fall out. If your hair has started to go gray, the condition will preferentially make the darker hairs fall out. Further, autoimmune conditions can be brought on by sudden stress. Ergo, a shock can trigger this condition, your dark hair falls out, and what's left is much grayer... This is probably the origin of this whole trope.
    • Reportedly, Marie Antoinette's hair turned white the night before she was due for execution. This is called Marie Antoinette syndrome, but it is suspected that this might have been alopecia areata or a variant of it.