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Messy Hair

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"Someone give the anarchist a comb!"

Some characters cannot be bothered to get their hair into a neat style, while others actually like their hair that way. All of them have Messy Hair. This is often used to set the character apart as unusual; it may indicate that they're a nonconformist, that they don't care about their appearance, or that they don't have the means to make themself look presentable, or that they are cool.

Frizzy, tangled hair is also commonly seen on characters who've just woken up (except if Wakeup Makeup is in effect), which is Truth in Television for most people except those with particularly short haircuts. It often goes away by the next scene change with the assumption that they've run a brush through it offscreen but might stick around longer if the character sporting Messy Hair is Not a Morning Person (for such people, coffee seems to be the best conditioner).

Long, tangled hair can be seen very frequently on The Ophelia, as part of that archetype's image of eerie, disheveled beauty; even sane, or at least saner, people might have it, to go with their general theme of unusual looks. Untidy hair, particularly dark hair, is also one aspect of Looks Like Cesare. Fighters also tend to have it at shoulder length as Barbarian Longhair.

Brilliant but eccentric, absent-minded, or downright deranged scientists often have Einstein Hair, which is a Sub-Trope, as is the Wild Hair found on animalistic or close-to-nature characters and Wild Children. Shonen Hair sits at the intersection of this trope and Anime Hair and is generally found on spirited young men. Messy Hair is also very common on conductors and musicians.

Compare Quirky Curls, Unkempt Beauty, and Curly Hair Is Ugly.

Often overlaps with Stubborn Hair, as many characters with this look are just not able to create a tidy style, no matter how hard they try. Also subtrope of Bad Hair Day and Bedhead-itis, of which messy hair can be a symptom, but usually does not last longer than 1 episode.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakuon!!: Onsa Amano, more prominently in the manga. Rin commonly names her "moja" ("frizzy").
  • Sally from Black Clover is a sorceress with a Mad Scientist vibe, which may be one reason for her scruffy, unkempt hair.
  • Ryousuke's mother in Bokura no Hentai began to suffer from mental health problems after her daughter's death. She has an overall disheveled appearance. When Ryousuke is reunited with her after he's sent to live with his dad while his mom receives treatment in a psychiatric hospital, it's shown her hair has been cut into a pixie cut.
  • In Chobits Hideki's messy hair is commented on by several characters It's even stated that he looks weird when he tried to comb it for a date.
  • In Dear Brother, "Lady Medusa" Katsuragi gets the "Medusa" nickname due to having very messy hair, which seems to be pretty uncommon in Japan.
  • L's messy hair is another artifact of his genius eccentricity in Death Note.
  • Sousuke is noted regularly in Full Metal Panic! to have rather disheveled, haphazardly cut hair. The reason for this is simple. He's a Shell-Shocked Veteran who reacts very violently when someone brings a blade too close to his head, so he cuts it himself — with a combat knife.
  • Rakka from Haibane Renmei has messy hair due to the static electricity caused by her halo. Even after the static goes away, her hair is in a permanent state of messiness. It also doubles as Stubborn Hair.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Child!England had notoriously messy hair, and as an adult, it doesn't really get any better.
    • Greece's messy hair is actually the subject of one strip where he explains to Japan that he doesn't like the rain because it makes his hair curly and frizzy, and Japan gets confused because Greece's hair doesn't look any different from its regular, already-messy state.
    • Iceland's hair is described as looking "tousled" or "bedheaded" in a character chart by Himaruya.
  • Shirogane's fringe in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War isn't a deliberate choice on his part, it's bed head that he never has the chance to straighten out due to having to rush to school in the morning. Notably, flashbacks to before he had an increased workload as Student Council President (and the one chapter where he got a good night's sleep), his hair is much neater.
  • The protagonist of Kasane has messy long hair in combination with her overly large eyes and sharp teeth. She's been bullied all her life for her looks and has insecurity issues.
  • Shuri's mother in Komori-san Can't Decline!. Combined with the fact that she never opens her eyes, it gives her a constantly exhausted look.
  • In K-On!, Jun has naturally messy hair that she struggles with every morning to get into place, and, according to her, it "explodes" on her if she removes her barrettes. Because she does care enough to go through it every morning, we don't often see it being messy... unless we see her first thing in the morning, such as in the anime episode where she spends the night at the Hirasawa home while Yui is with her class on a trip, or in K On High School on her own class trip. It's pretty sensitive to humidity, which she claims she can use to predict the weather, and indeed, offers such a prediction upon waking up.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Shota Aizawa has long, rather unkempt looking black hair because he just doesn’t want to take time to style it. It actually is a bit of an impairment in a way because he wears it that way even though cutting it short would make it harder for opponents to tell when his Erasure ability activates. Shigaraki even points this out.
    • Tomo Hagakure has long, messy hair as well once we finally see her. Justified as there would be no point in trying to style it, given she's invisible 99.9% of the time.
  • Tomoko from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! is an otaku with No Social Skills. Her long hair isn't usually combed too well.
  • Leo from PandoraHearts. Until his Important Haircut, that is. Though, some of it still sticks out all over the place.
  • Gold from Pokémon Adventures has a large, spiky fringe that combines this trope with Shonen Hair. Lampshaded by his mother at the beginning of his arc, when she's says that his hair is "exploding" again.
  • In Ping Pong, Peco, after he quits the Katase High team.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma Saotome has an enchanted hair ribbon because without it, his hair gets really out of control.
  • Nagisa's hikikomori brother in Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai keeps his hair in a messy ponytail. He gets a haircut when he decides to join the Self Defense Force.
  • Mika in Seraph of the End has blonde hair that sticks up on top of his head. Not that this makes him any less Bishōnen.
  • When oft-mentioned horror novelist Sen Takatsuki finally shows up in Tokyo Ghoul, she turns out to be an Unkempt Beauty with major bedhead. Even when she does make an effort, it just results in a particularly messy bun piled on top of her head. It definitely helps establish her as a quirky, eccentric, and dorky character that exasperates her editor to no end. At first anyway... Averted in the sequel, in which she cuts her hair into a neat short bob a few minutes before she confessed that she's a ghoul in public.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi's hair is always short and mussy because she barely earns enough to support herself and her kid brother. So hair care is a luxury she can't afford, and her fans wouldn't have it any other way.
  • According to flashbacks in Wandering Son it's shown that as a teenager Yuki's hair had grown long when she refused to go to school anymore, after being forced into wearing the girl's school uniform by bullies in middle school. When we see a picture from her Coming of Age ceremony her hair has been cut but when she began living as a woman she grew it out again.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): Multiple members of the Endless. Death and Dream have straight hair that sticks out in all directions, Despair's hair is snarled and ratty, and Delirium's is wavy and changes between various flavors of unkempt.
  • A Funny Background Event in one of X-23's early appearances in the X-Men books: While Psylocke is casually and expertly braiding her hair preparing for a coming fight, Laura can be seen behind her struggling to emulate her. Once the fighting actually starts it's revealed she failed miserably and settled for a messy ponytail instead. Her hair in general tends to end up messy and out of place since she normally wears it long and loose (apparently she never quite gets the hang of braiding it).

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, Sergeant Travis develops this kind of hair during his Madness Makeover as his Sanity Slippage worsens. It's later mentioned that Vivienne's late biological father had messy hair.

  • In The Matrix fanfic Bringing Me To Life two characters have this. Neo in the early parts with his almost always messy hair is a combined normal/just doesn't care example, while Max in the later parts has this as his normal hairstyle.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Harry, as per canon. His bedhead is spectacular, his post-shower hair even more so, to the point where Carol bursts out laughing.
    • Carol herself has spectacular bedhead since she's Not a Morning Person.
    • Hermione, also as per canon, though it gets a little more manageable with time. This likely has something to do with the fact that she's the daughter of the more manageably curly/wavy haired Wanda Maximoff.
  • Contraptionology!: Doctor Stranger von Danger is described as having "a wild dishwater mane" and, in an equine variant of this, unshorn fetlock hair.
  • Whenever Kill la Kill fan-artist Herokick draws Ryuko, they tend to draw her with messy hair, as illustrated here and here. It serves as a contrast between her and Satsuki, as the latter's hair is always neat, suiting her rather prim, proper, and practical personality, while Ryuko's hair alludes to her wild personality.
  • In Pokémon Strangled Red, Steven's hair becomes messy after his Charizard, Miki, dies.
  • Scorpius Malfoy in Returning gets this after only a few days at Hogwarts where his parents aren't around to remind him to brush his hair. It's one of the few visual differences between him and Draco at his age.
  • One of the main character's most iconic traits in FREAKIN GENSOKYO. Described as "curly-ass, dishwater-blonde Danny-Sexbang-esque hair, except with more grease".
  • In Alternate History, Yue has messy, disheveled hair to go with the fact she's a Fire Nation prisoner.
  • VampireMeerkat depicts Edd from Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy with tangled hair that he keeps in his hat. It doubles as Stubborn Hair that won't keep tidy.
  • Downplayed in Cadet Scrap. Sophie doesn't tie her hair back for her sparring match, allowing it to get a bit mussed up by the end.
    • Played straight in the story's prequel, Well-Matched. Sophie's hair is sweaty and disheveled when she removes her boxing headgear after the main fight.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hiro Hamada from Big Hero 6. Word of God says this is because he thinks "cool hair should never look combed".
  • Merida from Brave. Her hair is not a reflection of her sanity or her quirkiness, but rather a consequence of her preferring more physical activities over traditional feminine traits such as taking care of her appearance. The creator of the character said that Merida was designed to give girls a more attainable role model and because of that, she was given messy hair to show that she has no time and/or interest in looking good. Considering that extremely curly hair is difficult to maintain, specially with medieval elements (Anti-Frizz hair products weren't invented) her hair is very realistic and justified.
  • Flint Lockwood of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has wild hair that he has to struggle to get to lie down flat.
  • Coraline: Wybie and his Other World doppelganger both have Messy Hair.
  • Frozen, Princess Anna — the "picture of sophisticated grace" after just waking up.
  • Wanderer from Leafie, a Hen into the Wild has long, messy feathers on his head that emphasise his mysteriousness.
  • Young Ellie at the beginning of Up, to represent her adventurous nature.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Around the World in Eighty Days, "[Passepartout's] brown hair was somewhat tumbled; for while the ancient sculptors are said to have known eighteen methods of arranging Minerva's tresses, Passepartout was familiar with but one of dressing his own: three strokes of a large-tooth comb completed his toilet."
  • The Arthur picture book D.W.'s Guide to Perfect Manners depicts D.W. with messy bed hair in the morning before heading off to preschool.
  • Tally from Can You See Me? hates the sensation of hairbrush bristles so much that she almost never brushes her hair. Nell complains that her hair looks like a bird's nest.
  • Susan Sto Helit, granddaughter of Discworld's Death, apparently has supernaturally unmanageable hair as part of her general inherited oddness. On the rare occasions she manages to get it to stay still long enough to style it, she can actually feel it messing itself up again almost immediately. In later books, however, her hair manages itself.
    • In Paul Kidby's artwork, she has a gigantic Bride-of-Frankenstein-toned afro, based on the book's description of it as a dandelion clock.
  • Similarly, when we first meet Lessa in Dragonflight, she's grimy, with matted hair, since she lives disguised as a "drudge", or household servant/slave. Even she's surprised by how long her hair is once she gets it washed and brushed out.
  • In The Dresden Files, the titular wizard Harry Dresden has hair that remains perpetually unable to be properly shaped. The fact that he doesn't have any mirrors save a small shaving mirror (because lots of things can use mirrors as gateways) doesn't help.
    • Then there's eccentric medical examiner Waldo Butters whose hair looks perpetually electrocuted.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, Cala wears his hair in a messy braid. He just doesn't care.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry has hair that won't lie flat no matter what he does. His aunt at one point cut it embarrassingly short but it had grown back by the morning.
    • Hermione, meanwhile, has frizzy, bushy hair which she finds too much trouble to tame except on special occasions. (The films have given up the look around the third installment, alternating for Emma Watson's naturally wavy hair instead. By the fourth film she also became rather blonde).
    • Harry's dad, who had hair just like his, used to mess it up on purpose because he liked looking as though he'd just been flying.
    • Luna, resident Cloudcuckoolander, has "scraggly" hair. It's probably naturally curly like Hermione's but is most likely a lot thinner, so it isn't so much bushy as scraggly.
  • According to the Heimskringla, Harald Fairhair swore not to cut his hair until he'd been made king of Norway, and as such had to go around being known as the slightly less impressive "Tangle-Hair" for the first part of his adult life.
  • How to Fly with Broken Wings: Fox never combs his hair. Willem thinks it's because he's a former rock star.
  • Mike Donovan from I, Robot is always described as having perpetually messy hair that rejects all attempts to tame it. It goes with his Fiery Redhead personality.
  • Junie B. Jones. The illustrator's initial sketches for the character had her with neat hair until she realized it didn't suit the character.
  • Judy Moody Judy Moody is known for having messy hair with a curl on top.
  • In Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World, the Wild Child Karen's hair is so matted that Gorda has to cut off most of it.
  • Miyamoto Musashi (aka Shimmen Takezo) in "Musashi" is described as having hair like "a bird's nest". The fact that he never washed it because he didn't want to be vulnerable to attack while bathing probably had a lot to do with it.
  • Door of Neverwhere had tangled hair at first, as part of her general grimy and ragged appearance, but fixed that when she had a chance to bathe properly.
  • In Newsflesh, Georgia describes her curly hair as "comes in two settings: long enough to tangle, and short enough to look like I haven’t brushed it in years. I prefer the short version." In her world, hair too short for an attacking zombie to grab is practical. She also really doesn't much care about her appearance, except for special occasions and her insistence on dying her hair back to her natural dark brown. She dislikes the blonde streaks created by the bleach used in the standard Decontamination Shower she has to go through regularly.
  • A style common among the inhabitants of the titular space station in the novel Paradyzja by Janusz Zajdel, because combs with too fine teeth are illegal there. The protagonist, who likes his hair neat, thinks the local government is really overdoing the paranoia when they take his comb at the customs. The local government knows exactly what to fear - it's mostly concerned with opressing the populace. Combs are banned, because they could be used to get rid of miniature surveillance drones that anchor in people's hair.
  • Shock-headed Peter from Struwwelpeter, who never once has combed his hair.
  • Sunshine from Survivor Dogs has messy, matted fur for no fault of her own. Maltese's are high-maintenance and are known for their silky, white pelts. As a stray dog running around in the forest, it's impossible for Sunshine to stay clean.
  • Sword of the Rightful King: The narrator can barely mention Morgause without also describing the "elf-knots" in her long black hair.
  • Eatbugs is an old Talkative Loon cat from Tailchaser's Song with perpetually messy and dirty fur.
  • Kinkfur from Warrior Cats is named because of his permanently kinky fur. It's possible that he has some curly-furred or rex-furred cat breeds in his blood.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hatter in Syfy's Alice miniseries.
  • Kitty Sanchez from Arrested Development, when Letting Her Hair Down.
  • In the episode "Soul Mates" from Babylon 5, Delenn comes down with this...because until earlier that year, she'd never had any hair to deal with, and doesn't know how to care for her hair. Ivanova ends up having to help out.
  • Bernard Black in Black Books.
    • ...also, every other character played by Dylan Moran, including his stage persona. As he himself says: "It's its own bioculture, I just leave it alone... we sleep in separate rooms."
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Second Doctor had an unkempt mop-top haircut as well as an abiding five o'clock shadow, both of which sets him off against the clean-cut First Doctor. He has his hair tidied in "The Macra Terror" and "The Enemy of the World", and apparently hates both the look and sensation of having it combed both times.
    • The Fourth Doctor has a mop of longish, aggressively curly hair. Messing it up from the Third Doctor's hairstyle with his hand is actually the very first thing he does after regenerating and it's usually tangled, though precisely how messy it is seems to have a lot of variation depending on the story (ranging from relatively smooth and tidy in "Terror of the Zygons" to a complete frizz in "The Power of Kroll"). Tom Baker refused to let the makeup team touch it after the start of recording because he felt it would be out of character for the Doctor to comb his hair while he was saving the universe — see Episode 4 of "Pyramids of Mars", where he starts out with a combed bouffant which you can watch slowly coil up into a springy mess. In "The Deadly Assassin", the Doctor claims his hair curls whenever he's thought up a good idea (or when it's going to rain).
    • The Eighth Doctor has messy, curly hair too, but longer and looser than the Fourth Doctor's. Both he and the Fourth are the resident loopy romantics of the Doctors.
    • The Tenth Doctor has pretty unkempt hair, though the kind that's clearly deliberately messy. Like with the Fourth Doctor, the mess level depends a lot on the story.
    • The Eleventh Doctor had wild hair in his first season, but it was gelled to immobility from "A Christmas Carol" onwards because it was causing the hair continuity people a headache.
    • The Twelfth Doctor originally had short silver curls in Series 8, but it has grown out into a curly silvery mess by Series 10.
  • In Firefly, River Tam's hair is long, wild, and unkempt, partially because she's insane and thus doesn't seem to care a whole lot for it. Of course, she's the most "in-tune" of all the characters, being a psychic. In Serenity, her hair is a bit more controlled, hinting at her growing sense of self-control.
    • In The River Tam Sessions, the first session shows River's hair as being very neat and well-groomed. As she is experimented on and begins to lose her grip on sanity, her hair (and the rest of her appearance) becomes progressively messier.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Dr Harrison Wells starts the series with reasonably tidy hair, but it gets longer and more unkempt as time goes on. By the time his true identity as the Reverse Flash is revealed, 'distinctly ruffled' has become his hair's default state.
    • Harry Wells of Earth-2 has very messy hair that sticks up and out in all directions, which helps to indicate that he is focussing completely on his mission to defeat Zoom to the exclusion of everything else.
  • Glee features Blaine Anderson, whose naturally frizzy, curly hair isn't revealed until hair gel is banned by ditzy Brittany. His arc in the episode was meant to show how even the character always presented as the most proud and comfortable in his own skin still has body image issues. The frizzy hairstyle then disappeared for two seasons, when Blaine attempted to rock the look as an Expository Hairstyle Change. Even his best friend didn't recognize him.
  • Gossip Girl: Fans speculate if Serena van der Woodsen even owns a hairbrush.
    • Dan's season five hair is considered by some to be its own character.
  • Parodied in the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Platinum Rule" when Ted spends the ENTIRE episode trying to get his hair messy in the exact right way to go impress a girl. At one point when he's about to leave he gets stalled when one of his friends messes up his messed up hair, and Ted returns to the mirror trying to re-perfect it.
    • Which is pretty ironic considering that Ted's hair is always a large spiky mess.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Louis de Pointe du Lac is normally meticulous with his appearance, but when he's wallowing in the throes of depression in "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart", his hair is disheveled.
  • Legion: David Haller's hair is usually messy or spiked up, indicating his mental health issues. It's slightly evocative of the original character's towering hairstyle.
  • Rodrigo in Mozart in the Jungle (and his real-life inspiration, Gustavo Dudamel).
  • Odd Squad:
    • When she doesn't have the required amount of juice boxes in a day, Oprah's usual Prim and Proper Bun becomes undone and her hair gets progressively messier the more she suffers from withdrawal.
    • In "Recipe for Disaster", Olive and Otto are shown in completely disheveled states, with knotted unkempt hair that has sticks and leaves in it as a result of them surviving a vortex of their own (unintentional) doing. They manage to fix it by the time they help Rainbow Robyn with her gardening as an apology for pinning the blame on her, but in helping her, they end up creating another vortex.
    • During the climactic battle with a sick Olive in "The Curious Case of Pirateitis", she cuts a clothesline in order to use it as a rope to descend to the bullpen, which causes a large sheet to fall on Oscar and Odie. Otto also descends to the bullpen and helps Oscar up (as he is the one with the Un-Pirate-inator gadget) while Odie continues to struggle under the sheet, and by the time he manages to get it off after Olive is cured of her pirateitis, he is left with a messy head of hair — his first original hairdo, since Oscar copied every hairstyle he ever had. He falls in love with it and decides to keep it, while Oscar begins to grow envious and has to hold himself back from copying yet another hairstyle of his fellow Scientist.
    • In "Rookie Night", Owen is shown with a messy hairdo after having participated in the "Running of the Wheelbarrows" portion of the titular event and going skydiving. Orchid also develops a bubble-filled hairdo later on when she comes across Olympia and Otis after playing in the Bubble Room.
  • The Office (US): Jim has messy, cowlicked hair until the end of the third season when he gets an Important Haircut. After that, it's not quite as messy, but not as well-groomed as the few episodes after the haircut. It's even lampshaded when Michael tries to imitate Jim in the second season by messing up his normally tidy hair.
  • John Sheppard of Stargate Atlantis has perpetually messy hair, which helps to indicate his status as the resident Military Maverick who is Brilliant, but Lazy.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Emmet's (the Emergency Tactical Hologram on La Sirena) hair is the most unkempt of the holograms, and not surprisingly, he lacks good manners (e.g. he's snoring on the couch instead of listening to Raffi).
  • Supernatural: In "The Benders", the daughter of the titular Serial Killer family has frizzy hair.
  • In Taxi, the character Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd) usually had messy hair to go along with his regular drug use and "spaced-out" behavior. Here's a picture of the Reverend.
  • Professor Jirou Ueda from the J-Drama Trick always has messy hair and always looks like he just got up from bed.

  • Bob Dylan has this.
  • Robert Smith of The Cure.
  • Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack
  • 2D and Noodle of Gorillaz both have uneven, shaggy haircuts. Noodle pairs it with bangs.
  • Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat, with his untameable head of ginger curls.
  • Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace has messed-up hair.
  • Buzz Osborne of the Melvins is known for the huge pile of messy black (or later on, black and gray) hair on top of his head.
  • Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi of the band Kino had wonderfully messy dark hair, good for throwing around.
  • Geddy Lee of Rush has been keeping his long hair a bit messy in recent years, though this is probably just a natural effect of having naturally curly hair that would probably be a Jew-fro if he kept it shorter. (He comments, while in very humid and hot Brazil in a short documentary, "Jews must have a hell of a time with their hair in this climate. We get the frizzies immediately.")
  • If there's a poster or painting depicting Syd Barrett, chances are it will show his hair either in a Dylan-esque frizz or messily straight down.

    Mythology & Folklore 
  • In Brazilian Folklore, the Pai do Mato (akin to "Woodsfather" in Portuguese) is an enormous man-eating humanoid from the wild woods covered in fur with giant nails and long, messy hair, that towers over all trees and makes frightening screams. He is popular in the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, Goiás and Mato Grosso, and due to his unkept hair, a common expression in those regions is mothers teasing their children by saying they look like the Pai do Mato when they haven't cut or taken care of their hair in a long time.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Invoked in US Championship Wrestling on "Gorgeous" Gary Garvin, who takes great pride in his appearance. When Lexie Fyfe finally got a match with the meddlesome manager, one of the first things she did was mess up his hair.
  • As Carlito Colón's Face–Heel Turn settled in he decided to do as little as he could get away with his hair. No more shaving, combing, conditioning, or oiling. It doesn't look as bad as some wrestlers cutting promos on him would have you believe but it conforms to no popular style and has no consistent shape beyond "Afro".

  • Lenore from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues sports a ruffled black mop, fitting with her punk get-up and her lackadaisical personality.
  • Several characters have this in Survival of the Fittest. Some examples include Jonathan Jarocki and Lily Ainsworth, for starters. Chris Richardson of Evolution is also described this way.

  • Mad Margaret in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore.
  • Moritz Stiefel from Spring Awakening is almost always portrayed as having messy hair, as befitting his anxious, scattered thoughts. Played With in the Deaf West Production, where Moritz's hair is slicked down but his Inner Voice (who represents his inner desires/true self to a certain extent) still has the trademark hair.

    Video Games 
  • Advanced Variable Geo: Satomi appears the same as she does in her anime portrayal - with her hair being short and mussy, for the same reason. Though she never seems concerned about her appearance.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Alucard has long, messy silver hair that he never seems to tidy up since being Back from the Dead.
  • Dragon Quest V: Debora's black hair goes everywhere, ponytail be damned. It's more of a mane than anything. It reappears in Dragon Quest IX and Dragon Quest X as a female hairstyle choice.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this is a commonly depicted trait of Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness, associated with all things revolting, decay, disfiguring diseases, and cannibalism. This combined with her black dress means that her appearance all but crosses into crosses into Witch Classic territory (minus the pointy black hat).
  • In Final Fantasy X, Yuna has bedhead following a tiring night of helping the injured and doing the sending at Djose Temple following the massacre on the Mi'ihen Highroad. Your other party members crack jokes and laugh at her for having bedhead, Wakka commenting "A summoner with bedhead? What's the world coming to?" It's only later that your PoV character, Tidus, realizes that he was the only one really laughing, and everyone else was just laughing to keep going.
  • Bernadetta of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is always seen with messy, unkempt hair, likely as a result of her extremely low self-esteem and not leaving her room. She cleans it up after the Time Skip and becomes more presentable.
  • He may be in the process of balding, but whatever hair Trevor has left in Grand Theft Auto V is always in a messy state regardless of how you decide to cut it.
  • Sabitsuki from .flow. According to her in-game menu, she has "bed hair".
  • Link has quite the bedhead at the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Minish Cap, before he gets his iconic hat.
  • Musashi Samurai Legend: Musashi. just look at him. His real life inspiration did it to frustrate his enemies.
  • In Persona 5, your teacher Sadayo Kawakami always has a messy bed head at school, due to moonlighting a second job in the evenings that causes her to oversleep and not have enough time to bother combing her hair in the mornings. The protagonist himself has unkempt curly hair, a visual indication of the trickster hiding beneath his meek facade.
  • Target Of Desire Episode 1: How many hours in the morning does Maria spend to get her hair that messy?
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: Common among the main characters. Ichiban wears his hair in a fluffy not-quite-afro as a result of a botched punch perm, Nanba wears his hair in a wild mop that defies description because he is homeless and has very limited opportunities for personal grooming, and Adachi keeps his hair in a shaggy grizzled mane, which admittedly does look pretty good on him. All three characters are outsiders and misfits in some way, and their hairdos reflect that well.

    Visual Novels 

  • More than half of Archipelago's male characters have hair like this. In particular, Blitz (and therefore Raven) has hair that goes up, down, and all around.
    • Lampshaded when Riley is surprised that Alice remembers him.
    Alice: Hair like yours is hard to forget.
    • Thanks to Art Evolution, Paollo's fairly tame hair from book 2 becomes a mass of fluffy Quirky Curls towards the end of the story. In the sequel, City of Somnus, it's all over the place, constantly trying to get out of the ponytail Paollo tries to contain it in.
    • Speaking of City of Somnus - Paollo's father has the exact same hair as his son, except receding a little. His guard Danise's hair is similar. Come to think of it, a number of inhabitants of the guard village have very curly, messy hair, so it's probably genetic. Goji (who wasn't born there and arrived along with Paollo's group) also has a full head of fluffy, unruly curls.
  • Surprisingly averted by Tamaura of Blindsprings while she lives in the magical forest - she has a huge mass of hair and lives in a forest, but her hair somehow manages to look well-kept, though enormous. After she leaves the forest, her hairdo visibly disintegrates, hinting that it was held up by magic.
  • Bleu of Cuanta Vida has stupid hair. It always looks like that, by the way, it's not just hat hair.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Sarah wakes up with messy hair and on Saturdays doesn't bother to brush it immediately after.
  • In Godslave, Edith has no Wake Up Make Up benefits, which results in her waking up with an awful case of having a tangled mess on her head.
  • Zimmy of Gunnerkrigg Court has messy hair with lots of flyaways as one part of her generally unkempt and dirty appearance, and Jack's hair has become steadily messier as he's become more Zimmy-like.
  • Several of the trolls from Homestuck: Karkat Vantas, Gamzee Makara (easily the best example among them), Aradia Megido, Nepeta Leijon, and arguably Vriska Serket.
  • Phineas Kidd, the title character of Kidd Commander has pink messy hair. "That hair gets stupider every time I see it, I swear to god." says Jocasta to Phineas, p.80. Phineas loves her messy hair, which acquires with the art improvement a superlative "boof".
  • Nagisa from My Impossible Soulmate frequently has unkempt hair.
  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick, while s/he was suffering the effects of trance deprivation.

    Web Original 
  • The "Crow Girl" strips by an unknown artist show the titular crow girl as having very messy hair. This strip shows that she does brush it, but it gets messed up every time she flies anyway.
  • Pretty much the entire cast of Marble Hornets, save for Slender Man himself. It probably has something to do with the fact that the vast majority of the characters are (or at least are implied to be) Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • If you look on the comment sections for The Nostalgia Chick's videos (...why would you do that to yourself?), you'll nearly always see people saying she needs to at least look like she's brushed her hair. Somewhat shallow Fridge Brilliance here; she's only pretending to be a girly girl for her reviews, she's not really.
  • VlogBrother Hank is often slightly untidy, as noted in this video from February 2007.
    Some of my friends were telling me last night that my hair is sometimes a little bit messy on Brotherhood 2.0. So, last night I went to bed with wet hair. I haven't actually touched it yet, so I want to see what it looks like in its preserved state. It's kind of... skateboard ramp going on, and a wave, and little tufts — tufts like I'm a baby bird...

    Western Animation 
  • Anne's hair in Amphibia is a curly mess that inexplicably always has leaves and twigs stuck in it. Whenever she does clean it up, it's always back to being a mess before the end of the episode.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Tales of Ba Sing Se", the first story involves Katara and Toph having a girls day out. When Katara wakes Toph up, Toph's hair is so messed up that it looks like a porcupine is sitting on her head.
    • Towards the end of Book 3, Azula’s once neat and orderly hair steadily grows more and more disheveled, eventually resulting in her cutting it quite messily out of frustration, likely symbolizing her worsening Sanity Slippage.
  • On Dragon Tales, both Max and Emmy have bedhead throughout "Zak's Song" due to have been woken up at the crack of dawn by a call to Dragon Land well before they would normally get up in the morning.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): In the flashback of "All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues," it looks like Ivy didn't bother to comb her hair to show how much of a disaster she was until she and Harley became friends.
  • Icarus from Hercules TV series has spiked hair that is assumed to have been fried when he flew too close to the sun (along with a few brain cells).
  • Zuri and Tiifu from The Lion Guard have messy fur (and fur markings) to better help distinguish them, considering there is only so much you can do with lion designs.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Pinkie Pie, resident Cloudcuckoolander, is permanently knotted and messy, even after being ironed flat by a hairstylist (it repoofs in seconds) or being trimmed (it grows back instantly). It becomes perfectly straight and lifeless when she's depressed, though.
    • In the very first episode, after Twilight's encounter with Rainbow Dash and her "rain-blowdry" technique, Twilight's mane is messier than even Pinkie's! It only goes away after Rarity gets her hooves on it.
    • Twilight's mane gets progressively messier and messier in "Lesson Zero" as part of her Madness Makeover.
    • In "She Talks to Angel", Fluttershy's mane and tail are disheveled once she gets Angel under control.
  • The Owl House: Flashbacks show that in her and Eda's youth, Lilith used to have red frizzy hair before she dyed and straightened it in the present. As of "Elsewhere and Elsewhen", it's gotten curly at the bottom again.
  • Both the title characters of Phineas and Ferb and Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (2016) Buttercup has a cowlick to visually distinguish her as the rambunctious tomboy.
    • Original series episode "The Mane Event" opens with the girls waking up in the morning. Bubbles and Buttercup rise with their hair unkempt and disheveled. Blossom subverts this as she beams, waving her perfectly coiffed ponytail back and forth.
  • As first expressed in the SheZow episode "Coldfinger", whenever SheZow's hair is messy, her powers won't work. Fortunately for her, she keeps a can of hairspray in handy.
  • Amethyst from Steven Universe is a messy and wild woman with long, uncombed hair.

    Real Life 
  • Tim Burton's perpetually unkempt mass of dark hair has no doubt served as inspiration for many of his characters who are similarly coiffed.
  • Neil Gaiman has untidy dark hair, at least in his author photos. This is probably the inspiration for the looks of several characters he's written, including Morpheus, Richard Mayhew, and Tristran Thorn, not to mention the picture book Crazy Hair. One of his "about the author" notes includes the sentence, "He thanks you for the offer of a comb, but doubts that it would do any good." Even after a haircut.
  • Curly hair is often referred to as "messy hair" because many people assume it will be unstyled or not cared for.
    • When someone brushes it, the curls tend to merge into one giant puff ball.
    • And if you don't brush it people tell you you look like Harpo Marx.
    • And if it's secured back when you're asleep, it comes out of its tie and you suddenly bear a striking resemblance to Bellatrix.
  • Helena Bonham Carter, especially as Bellatrix Lestrange. To the point that it was a genuine shock to see her with neatly styled hair in The King's Speech.
  • A certain Albert E. Hey, with his smarts, Mr. Einstein didn't need to keep his strands looking maintained.
  • Mia Wasikowska looks like her hair-care routine consists of two steps: 1. Wash it. 2. Maybe comb it. Not that anyone's complaining.
  • Darren Criss' hair is a curly mess. Fans will forever argue over whether he looks better this way, or with the short straight hair he had on Glee.
    • This is addressed on Glee when it's revealed that Blaine's hair is naturally curly just like his actor's, but he hates it and spends hours straightening it with gel.
  • Similarly, Robert Sheehan cannot cut or straighten his hair without fans threatening (jokingly...we hope) to commit suicide.
  • Zooey Deschanel's hair just seems to grow out of her head like kudzu.
  • Scout Taylor Compton's hair often borders on Flock of Seagulls.
  • There are exhaustive books, websites, boutiques, and product lines aimed at trying to get hair like this to look good- usually, preferably, to turn it into Quirky Curls (especially the many that are primarily pitched at a Caucasian market). Some are a little... zealous about the importance of embracing it (check out Lorraine Massey's "Curly Girl", with its twelve-step programme to a correct attitude to curly hair, and you'll see what we mean...)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers player Troy Polamalu is known for his long, wild hair. Not only is his shampoo endorsement deal particularly logical, but there are even jerseys with his hair printed over his last name, mimicking the way it sticks out under his helmet.
  • Jeff Buckley, he had quite a variety of hairstyles, but not a single one was neat.
  • Milton Jones is an example of this trope. However, it's mostly only when he's doing comedy. He thinks it makes him look funnier.
  • Ian Anderson, early in his career, tended to look like a hobo.
  • General Jean-Baptiste Kléber's hair looked like a lion's mane, only adding to his impressive stature.
  • John Cooper Clarke has distinctively messy black hair, reflecting his status as the "punk poet" of the late '70s/early '80s.
  • Peter Jackson, combined with Perma-Stubble.
  • The late British comedian Ken Dodd combined wild hair with buck teeth, supporting his crazy, energetic image. The energy was real (he was working nearly up to his death at the age of 90), but the craziness covered a highly professional competence in his craft.
  • One of Robert Pattinson's trademarks is his uncombed, basically almost punky hairstyle. Like with Mia Wasikowska, this has not stopped him from being attractive.
  • Sally Hawkins' hair is so unruly, in interviews, you often see her brushing it out of her face.
  • Rowan Atkinson's daughter Lily Sastry.
  • Pedro Pascal sports tousled curls during occasions that don't require him to comb his hair, which grows more wavy the longer he goes without having it cut.
  • Boris Johnson's messy hair is legendary.
  • Aside from his beard, one of Jack Stauber's most distinguishing features is his unkempt blonde hair.