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Mistaken For Dyed

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Some characters have hair colours that are rare or unusual. Maybe their hair is abnormal for their parentage or ethnicity, maybe their hair is outright abnormal for their species period, but their hair is actually natural. Others don't believe them, though. They think that their hair is dyed.

This trope is usually lighthearted, but it can it can also be Played for Drama if dyed hair is looked down upon as Delinquent Hair or if it causes rumors of the person being a Chocolate Baby.


Can lead to Mistaken for Subculture. Not to be confused with Mistaken for Dying. See also Your Costume Needs Work.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Scott Pilgrim: Zigzagged and Played for Laughs with Ramona. At one point, Ramona is asked if her hair color is natural or not, and Ramona is unable to tell herself. Due to the comic being in black and white, her hair looks to be colored black. Upon the comic being released in color though, her hair is clearly blue, which has an editor's note pointing out the part is funnier in black and white.

    Film — Animation 
  • Parodied in Finding Nemo. Dory, a regal blue tang fish, mentions that she's a "natural blue" while sleep-talking.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Everybody thinks that Wildstyle's black hair is her natural hair color with pink and blue highlights. Later, it is revealed that she had used a marker to dye her hair black while the pink and blue parts are her natural hair color.

  • Kodaka of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai has naturally blond hair thanks to his English ancestry. This alienates him from his peers, who all mistake him for a delinquent on sight because of this.
  • Youko of The Twelve Kingdoms has implausibly red hair for a Japanese person, causing her parents to worry that she'll be mistaken for a delinquent that bleaches her hair. She actually dyes it a more subdued color to prevent this.
  • The blond Simon from Darkest Powers gets offended when people ask if his hair is dyed. He's half-Asian and half-white. Simon gets his blond hair from his mother.
  • Elcenia: When Rhysel first sees Keo, she assumes that her green hair (including eyebrows!) is "either the work of magic or a very thorough dye job". In fact, Keo is a jade dragon, and Elcenian dragons keep their scale color when they shapeshift; females in humanoid shapes have scale-colored hair.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A related example from Star Trek: Voyager. In "The '37s" our heroes are being held hostage by people who have been frozen since the 20th century. Janeway tries to prove that aliens exist by showing off Kes' elf-like ears. Amelia Earhart (long story) isn't convinced, saying that she's seen people all over the world modify their bodies, that doesn't mean that aliens exist.

  • Genocide Man: Invoked by the Inuit Designer Baby Girii, who colours her roots brown so that people think her telltale platinum-blonde hair is a dye job. It's a survival tactic — the One World Order summarily executes anyone and anything that's been genetically modified.
  • The NSFW Furry Webcomic Shayla The Pink Mouse gets a visit from her brother while she's working at Trevor's convenience store. While the two siblings update each other, Shayla's boss and some regulars comment on Shayla's pink fur and her brother's teal fur. After Shayla points out that her large mouse ears heard their puerile chatter clearly, she goes on to explain that her ancestors lived in the Southwest painted desert, where pink and teal are typical landscape colors. Their fur coloration is actually a natural camouflage effect.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted and played straight in the Steven Universe episode "Last One Out of Beach City": Pearl doesn't understand how a human woman has pink hair like Rose did, so Steven explains what hair dye is. Later, Pearl talks to the woman offscreen, who is said to have made the opposite mistake about Pearl's pink-orange hair.
    Pearl: I asked her about her hair, and then she asked how I colored mine. I told her, "My appearance is just a conscious manifestation of light." and she said, "I know how that is." although, heh, I highly doubt it.

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