A specific type of Berserk Button, this character is extremely defensive about their hair and will quickly become angry if it is messed up or damaged in some way. Often used to indicate the character is at least somewhat vain as hair is often seen as similar to a peacock's tail—a display—and so it is a very easy symbol for vanity in general. Often played for comedy, expect these characters to have very outlandish styles.
If it is Played for Drama, expect sexual abuse and/or assault to be a major element in their backstory, possibly including being dragged By the Hair.
Compare Not in the Face!
- Himeko from Destiny of the Shrine Maiden cannot stand anyone touching her hair—unless it's Chikane. It's a result of Domestic Abuse in her childhood.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Android 18 hates it when her hair is damaged because it doesn't grow back.
- Josuke Higashikata, protagonist of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, is normally a dorkily cute Nice Guy... but say anything negative about his pompadour, and you're in for a world of hurt.
- Jotaro ended up pressing this particular berserk button with Josuke in the first episode of the series by saying that Josuke could make "stupid comments about [his] hair" to some girls later. Jotaro didn't even directly insult Josuke's hair, but that was still enough to set him off.
- Later on it's revealed why this is such a sensitive issue for him: when he was a child he got deathly ill and on the way to the hospital his mother's car got stuck in the snow. Suddenly a young man with a pompadour showed up and helped free the car; as a result, Josuke wears his hair that way in honor of his mysterious savior, and takes any slights against it as slights against the man who saved his life.
- Talking bad about his hair is such a Berserk Button to Josuke that, when Rohan Kishibe repeatedly mocked it, Josuke became literally blind with rage and was complete immune to Rohan's Stand ability, which at that point trapped its victim through their vision.
- Naruto: Filler villain Fuuka goes from flirting with Naruto to screaming in anger when Naruto manages to cut some of her long hair during their fight, shortly before paralyzing him to stop playing around and steal his chakra and soul with her Reaper Kiss. It turns out to be justified because her hair is actually her Soul Jar, so she can't afford to let it get damaged.
- One Piece:
- Brook will try to prevent enemy combatants from contact with his afro at any cost. His motivation is one of the most serious examples of this trope: being a reanimated skeleton, he considers it his only visible trait still the same from when he was still alive, and it won't grow back if it gets cut off. Why is this so important? Because his sole reason for staying alive after coming back, waking up alone and on a ghost ship and staying there for decades with no hope of escape, is to return to his friend Laboon, whom his crew left behind when they began their journey. Thus, he protects his afro to ensure that when the time comes, Laboon will be able to recognize him, and he takes the protectiveness to such an extent that he loses his very first real fight in the series in order to avoid damage to his hair.
- Subverted when Zoro chops off some of Hachi's spiky hair in their sword duel. Hachi starts getting angry about it, but then says he forgives Zoro, since it's just hair, so it'll grow back.
- Musashi/Jessie in Pokémon: The Series. It rarely comes up, but when it does, she gets dangerous.
- During the Orange Islands arc, a group of Scyther chop her hair up For the Lulz. Jessie is predictably angry and starts reciting the Team Rocket motto by herself.
Jessie: You insult my hair? Prepare for trouble!
James: It used to be there, but now it's stubble!
- Probably a more notable example occurs near the start of Hoenn: a wild Seviper defeats Ash's Treecko. That same Seviper also outsmarts Team Rocket's attempts to catch it... up until the point where it bit off a large portion of Jessie's hair.
Jessie: AAAAAHHH, NOT MY HAIR! MY FLOWING HAIR IS MY TRADEMARK! Now I'm really mad! [death glare] You've made a very big mistake, Seviper!
James: Poor Seviper!
Meowth: It knows not what it's done!
[Jessie delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Seviper before catching it in a Pokéball]
- During the Orange Islands arc, a group of Scyther chop her hair up For the Lulz. Jessie is predictably angry and starts reciting the Team Rocket motto by herself.
- Ryo from Shaman King takes a lot of pride in his hairstyle. Unfortunately for him, his hair getting sliced into increasingly weird shapes is a Running Gag, to the point where you can use his current hairstyle to follow the series' timeline. In the first episode, Yoh cuts the tip off his two-foot pompadour to scare him away from a grave he's vandalizing. During the first arc's Storming the Castle finale, the whole thing gets cut down to the middle, leaving him with two half-pomps sticking out in a v shape. Both of these are then sliced off by Dracula... only for Ryo to come full circle by spontaneously regrowing his original pomp before kicking vampire ass.
- In the Tamagotchi series, Memetchi does not take it kindly when anybody tries to touch her curl of hair.
- Witch Craft Works: Ayaka Kagari has hip-length hair that she never cuts or lets anyone touch - when three bullies threatened to deface it, she responded by raising their body temperature until they collapsed and threatened to make their blood boil (literally) if they tried again. This is because when Honoka Takamiya saved her when they were both eleven, all he asked for is for her to let her hair grow so she would be prettier. Due to her devotion to him, she won't change it anymore.
- Yuri!!! on Ice has Victor. In this case, his hair is implied to be thinning out and he is in risk of getting bald, so his hair is a pretty sensitive topic. The fact that Yuri likes to poke his hair becomes a bit of a Running Gag. Eventually though, Victor grows out of it and lets Yuri touch his hair a lot more; the fact that they become an Official Couple definitely helped.
- In Nora's top secret plans to kill everyone, she notes about Yang:
ALSO DO NOT TOUCH HER HAIR. Blake said that is like instant death if you clip a single strand.
- Dorian, in Life is a Roller Coaster, refuses to go on any of the fast rides at the amusement park because he doesn't want to mess up his hair. When Varric lures him onto a ride and it gets just a little unkempt, he plots revenge.
- Ōtengu Masaie of Tales of the Undiscovered Swords wears his blond hair in an elaborate crown braid and does not want it down within sight of anyone else. When his hair tie snaps and his hair comes rolling down in a battle, he goes Shinken Hissatsu, slaughters all enemies and then collapses to the ground sobbing and whimpering.
- In Tales of the Hunger Games, Johanna wore her hair in a long ponytail during her Hunger Games. When she finally subdues her final opponent (Signiall, the District Three boy), she refuses to grant his wish for a mercy kill over him yanking on her hair at the start of their battle.
Narrator: She [Johanna] infamously proclaimed, 'don't touch my hair, bitch' and for each word of this that she said, she slammed the axe down on his [Signiall's] body, harder and harder each time, until she said the final word and his cannon sounded.
- Total Drama Legacy: As Sierra says in "Aftermath: Double Trouble", Violet's dancing skills are rivaled only by her obsession with her own hair. As a result, she's very meticulous about not getting it messed up. When Chef hits her with a fan in "Reality Shogun", she exclaims "Watch the hair!". Later, in "Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself", she refuses to dunk her head into a fish tank not only because she's afraid of fish, but also because she doesn't want to mess up her hairdo.
- Rapunzel in Tangled will let her hair be touched only by her adoptive mother, although this may be a case of having being told by aforementioned mother that people would use her healing locks for their personal gain. She also does not want to talk about her hair much, to the point she neglects to mention its powers ("I have hair that glows when I sing") at a time when they may be needed...
- Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. Interestingly enough, this seemed to be a theme with John Travolta characters; see the Welcome Back, Kotter entry below.
Tony Manero: Would ya just watch the hair. Ya know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair.
- In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, a warrior of the Wachutoo tribe changes Ace's famous duckbill hair into horns — to match the "White Devil" name they referred to him as — during a duel. This pushes Ace over the edge. "All right. THAT'S IT! This 'White Devil' thing has gone far enough! Nobody! Messes! WITH THE 'DO!" Then immediately subverted when the warrior continues kicking Ace's ass.
- In the Girls with Guns action Enter the Eagles, Mandy totally loses her cool during a fight when a henchmen missed a swing at her with a scythe, but cuts off a bit of her hair.
Mandy: I just had my hair done. [rips out the mook's hair]
- Undercover Brother: Undercover Brother is very protective of his Afro, including telling Sista Girl, "Don't touch the hair!"; telling Conspiracy Brother, "Don't touch the 'fro!", and beating up Mr. Feather when he cuts off a piece of it: "You mess with the 'fro, you got to go."
- Come Drink With Me: Protagonist Golden Swallow keeps her cool long enough, until the villain Jade Face runs his sword a little too close to her hair.
- Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class uses this trope. This is an In-Joke to fans, since anyone who is familiar with the series knows that he goes completely bald. Xavier uses the Cerebro prototype for the first time, and Hank struggles with fitting the electrodes on his head.
Hank: Are you sure we can't shave your head?
Charles: [annoyed] Don't touch my hair.
- Princess Vespa refuses to make herself useful when escaping from the Spaceballs prison complex until one Mook's stray blaster fire singes her hair, then she picks up a blaster rifle and guns down all of 'em.
Barf: Not bad... for a girl.
Dot: Hey, that was pretty good for Rambo!
Princess Vespa: Let's blow this joint.
- In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the news teams come together for a fight and establish some ground rules:
Ron Burgundy: Now before we do this, let's go over the ground rules. Rule number 1: No touching of the hair or face!
Arturo Mendez: Of course.
Ron Burgundy: And that's it! Now let's do this!
- Thor: Ragnarok: Thor gets very touchy when it looks like part of being forced into the Contest of Champions (and then killed by its reigning champion) is getting his hair cut. His angry bravado very quickly turns into fear and then utter terror at the approaching Noodle Implements. Next scene, Thor's been on the receiving end of an extremely rough buzz cut.
- Soto the History Monk from Thief of Time. The book says that even the most restrained mind has a conditional clause somewhere, and Soto's is, "But not the hair. Don't touch the hair, all right?" He gets around the monastery's shaved-head rules by insisting that the hair is actually a separate creature which makes its home atop his dutifully shaven head.
- Tolkien's Legendarium: In The History of Middle-earth, Feanor is captivated by his niece Galadriel's light of her golden locks but... "He begged three times for a tress, but Galadriel would not give him even one hair." Jump cut a good many millennia to The Lord of the Rings: Gimli (a rustic Dwarf) boldy asks for the same thing and Galadriel averts this affectionately giving Gimli three strands of her hair. So why did Galadriel cold shoulder his uncle from touching her hair but happily gave a battle hungry Dwarf three locks? Because Galadriel knew Gimli would treasure her hair out of goodness of his heart, while Feanor only saw her hair as prize and symbol of power thus she was protective. Also because Galadriel had the ability to psychically see into the minds of others, and there is definitely subtextual implication that Feanor had less than pure intentions towards his niece.
- Otto Malarkey, a gang lord in Eoin Colfer's WARP Series, is very protective of his "luscious locks".
- Sophie from The School for Good and Evil is vain in general, but she's especially protective of her long, silky golden locks, because she sees such beautiful hair as proof of her destiny to be a princess. When a werewolf guard lops it off as a punishment, she actually murders him without a trace of guilt, and she begins Slowly Slipping Into Evil from there.
- Invoked in The Saga of the Jomsvikings: The eleventh Jomsviking brought up to be executed is Svein Buason, a young man with hair "long and golden yellow like silk" who asks, as his last request, for a man of Jarl Hakon's bodyguard to hold his hair away from his head so that it will not be bloodied when he is decapitated. When Thorkel Leira is striking at Svein's neck, Svein jerks his head so that the blade falls on the arms of the volunteer who has wound Svein's hair around his hands, cutting them off at the wrist. Svein follows up with a joke:
[Svein] then leapt up and said: "Whose hands are in my hair?"
- the Garden of sinners's Ryougi Shiki is not fond of anyone even thinking about touching her hair. According to Nasu and Takeuchi in an interview in the movie pamphlets, Kaname, her older brother, was the only one she actually allowed to touch and fix her hair. Not even Mikiya was allowed this privilege.
- In The Westing Game, tugging or otherwise messing with Turtle's braid is a wonderful way to test-drive the Little Girls Kick Shins trope.
- The titular characters of the Rip and Red books both don't like it when people touch their hair. Rip because he doesn't like anybody touching or playing with his dreadlocks, and Red because he's autistic, so he doesn't like anybody touching him in general. They're both fine with with the other ruffling their hair as a sign of the friendship and trust between them, but everybody else is off-limits.
- On one episode of Arrow, Roy volunteers Sin for a makeover from Thea so that Sin can look sexy/slutty and pose as a hooker as bait for a vicious hooker assaulter. Thea obliges, saying they'll do something about her hair, and Sin asserts that nobody touches the hair.
- Cheers. Sam is not only extremely protective of his hair, he's got hair care down to an exact science. This is probably because it's eventually revealed that, as did Ted Danson himself, Sam wears a hairpiece. In one episode Sam offhandedly mentions that he has hair insurance.
- Played for Drama in Inspector Rex, where molested children in an orphanage freak out when their hair is being touched.
- Fonzie in Happy Days.
- Uncle Jessie says this on Full House, to the point where it borders on being a catch phrase.
- Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when she is hit on the head by a crowbar.
Glory: Hey! [Beat] Watch the hair!
- In "Into the Dark", Spike imagines Angel doing this while mockingly impersonating him, references to the hero's Spiky Hair being a Running Gag.
- In "The Shroud of Rahmon", Jay-Don is a very loud (as in flashy) vampire who has two main rules: never touch the hair or the glasses. Angel stakes him to get into a heist by impersonating him. He gets rid of the sunglasses quickly but keeps up the fuss about the hair.
- After Angel gets turned into a puppet in "Smile Time", Winifred Burkle annoys him by going on about how cute he looks, "with the little hands and the hair." When she ruffles said hair, Angel tells her she's fired.
- Barbarino on Welcome Back, Kotter was like this.
- In one episode of Brotherly Love, Lloyd waxes nostalgic about how he and Joe's dad used to horse around together, and makes to muss up Joe's hair. Joe darts away and tells him not to do that. It's a long quote, ending in "Shoot me in the knee caps, that's good clean fun! But the hair is off limits."
- Ted from How I Met Your Mother hates people touching his hair, but only because he spends hours every day arranging it to look just right. Subverted at least once, with Barney deliberately ruffling his hair and Ted deciding that the ruffled look is actually "awesome".
- In one episode of Taxi, Louie tries to tell the cabbies about his supposed sex life with Zena, wanting to whisper about it in their ears. He tries to move Bobby's hair away from his ears, only for Bobby to tell him, "I don't even let people I like touch my hair!"
- Zak from Ghost Adventures has expressed this several times at even the suggestion that it be messed with, such as the time they went to Fort Chaffee and saw the chair where Elvis had his head buzzed when he joined the Army and they jokingly suggested Zak do the same. His response was a "No. Just… No" Reaction.
- Red Dwarf. In "Legion", circumstances force Kryton to knock out his crewmates. The Cat: "Do what you gotta, but don't mess up my hair."
- WKRP in Cincinnati: After a heartfelt personal conversation, Venus says there's something he's always wanted to do.. and musses up Andy's hair. Andy laughs, but then notes "Ever do that again, and I'll kill you."
- A Saturday Night Live parody of The Wiz has the 1939 version of the Scarecrow (Ryan Gosling) crossing over with the Wiz cast. Among other things, he's fascinated by Dorothy's (Sasheer Zamata) hair and wants to touch it. He's stopped by her Little "No" and Death Glare.
- In Welcome to Night Vale Carlos, owner of the hair in question, apparently doesn't feel this way himself, but the guy crushing on him, Cecil, definitely does and gushes about his "perfect hair" every chance he gets. When Carlos gets his hair cut, Cecil is so angry that he gives out the name and location of the person responsible and is positively gleeful when poor Telly the barber is found howling and clutching Carlos' locks of hair in despair at what he’d done.
- Pampero Firpo not only dislike having his hair pulled, but would No-Sell any pain from it before stretching out the offender. Apparently pulling his hair made him stronger!
- Bruiser Brody, and this was not just a work. He famously chose to bash Dick the Bruiser in the head with a chair in the locker room instead of simply receiving payment for his match because Dick pulled his hair during said match after being instructed not to touch it.
- Shawn Michaels was notoriously protective of his hair in his prime, but he mellowed out after it began to start thinning and eventually just shaved it all off. Amusingly, Sherri Martel was more protective of his hair than her own.
- Carlito Caribbean Cool detests the feeling of other people's hands in his hair, so you can naturally expect his hair to be pulled by someone at least once a month.
- Melina Perez will fly into a violent rage if anyone messes with her hair or nails...and sick John Morrison and Joey Mercury on those who manage to get away.
- Amazing Kong hates having her hair pulled more than the sight of her own blood, not that this will necessarily stop her from pulling anyone else's. She once left Cute Cip on a stretcher for being associated with someone who had gotten her hair cut.
- Black Rose considers hair pulling more disqualification worthy than chair shots, as long as she isn't the one pulling hair anyway. Like Martel she's also protective of her tag partners' and managerial clientele's hair, sometimes more than they are.
- Greaser-themed alien Greazer Clutch in Sentinels of the Multiverse deals counterattack damage to anyone who damages his hair (it's a separate card). This can be troublesome if your heroes have mass-damage abilities, or it can be hilarious - for example, if the villain team includes Plague Rat, who damages everyone, hero or villain, every turn. The card representing his hair can't be destroyed, but if it runs out of HP, he automatically refills it to full (in other words, fixes his hairdo), and then deals himself Psychic damage (as having his hairdo screwed up wrecks his morale).
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: In the second chapter, when Flonne reflects a Fire spell Etna threw at her, the spell ends up hitting Laharl, whom immediately gripes that he had his hair just the way he wanted it. This, of course, motivates him further to capture Flonne.
- DRAMAtical Murder: Aoba doesn't like having his hair touched because it's unusually sensitive, which is why he lets it grow long without cutting it often.
- Glory of Heracles (DS): Axios will sometimes say "Not the hair!" when being attacked.
- Kirby Star Allies: In an example where the character's Berserk Button involves someone else's hair being touched, Flamberge does not like it when others harm "a single blue hair on [her sister Francisca's] perfect head".
- Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Starting in this game, Hinata's sister Hanabi is shown to have a complex about her hair getting messy.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon: Dartrix are quite fussy about their hair (or the plumage that resembles it), and have been known to stop in the middle of battle to tend to it. Touch a Dartrix's hair in Pokemon Refresh and it will look ridiculously offended, like so◊.
- Several other Pokemon also don't like being touched on the hair or the head in Pokemon Amie/Refresh.
- Punch-Out!!: Don Flamenco has a battle quote telling you not to touch his hair. In the Wii version, it's a wig you can punch off him, which angers the Don.
- Sam & Max Hit the Road: Conroy Bumpus takes offense to insults about his hair, having his Dragon beat up the titular heroes when Max makes one wisecrack too many.
- World of Warcraft:
- Wrack has one level where the hero, Kain, returns to base... only to find out from his partner, Fabian, that the aliens had attacked his home base during his absence and took off with his girlfriend. But what upsets Fabian the most, is that the aliens burnt half her hair.
Fabian: Avenge my hair, Kain. Avenge my hair.
Kain: ...I hate you.
- RWBY: Yang Xiao Long has a long golden mane that is carefully styled in an asymmetrical way to look like fire. If Yang's hair is damaged in battle, her eyes turn red and her Berserk Button explodes. She punched Junior through a window for grabbing a handful of it and blasted an Ursa to death for cutting a single strand. During Volume 4 where her father Taiyang is trying to get Yang back on her feet following the traumatic end of Volume 3 when she lost her arm, Taiyang mentions that Yang first manifested her Semblance when she got her first haircut. This has lessened over the series as Yang got a grip on her temper, but never fully goes away, as a sleazy man learns the hard way when he tries to touch it and she very calmly punches him clear out of the building.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games Shorts: In "A Banner Day", Flash Sentry swats Micro Chip's hand away when he starts to accidentally get glitter in Flash's hair and shouts "Watch the hair, man!"
- Matchu has Amber, who is sick and tired of people telling her to donate her incredibly long hair.
Amber: I know it's for a good cause and all, but so help me God, the next person who tells me that is going to become an organ donor.
- Flaky Pastry: Subverted.
Zintiel: Agh, my hair! You cut my hair! That was a mistake.
Mona: Getting angry over losing such a superficial thing as a hairstyle! Such vanity is just what I would expect from a minion of darkness!
Zintiel: Huh? What are you talking about?
[Zintiel's cut off hair animates and attacks Mona]
Zintiel: I mean seriously. It was a mistake.
- In MegaTokyo Asmodeus gets an Apple logo lodged in his forehead after getting smacked by Seraph with her laptop. He appeals to the nurse to not touch his hair before she removes it.
- In the episode "Life in the Past Lane" of Daria, Jane falls for Nathan, a guy with fantastic dress sense, who turns out to be an aficionado of 1950s and '60s fashion. When the two cut the rug at a speakeasy-themed club, she runs her fingers through his... pomade. He freaks out, and runs to the men's room to fix his do.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy:
- Lee Kanker seems to have shades of this attitude towards her hair—she shoves Eddy away from her in "Look into my Eds" when he tries to move her bangs out of her eyes, and if she gets wet/injured/disheveled in any kind of way, she frequently asks, "Does my hair look okay?"
- Jimmy also frequently yells out "Hair emergency! Hair emergency!" when anything that might ruin his curls happens.
- Though there are no notable instances in Winx Club, the 4Kids opening theme song does invoke it:
Look all you want/ Just don't touch the hair!
- Motor Ed's Establishing Character Moment in Kim Possible is him getting his mullet professionally done, only to throw a fit when the stylist cuts it a fraction of an inch. His Start of Darkness, in fact, started when an employer told him he had to cut his hair - causing him to jump ship from being an engineer to become a supervillain instead.
- Motor Ed: You don't clip the lion's mane while he roars! Seriously!
- Jersey Shore-reject Anne Maria from Total Drama Revenge of the Island works on her hair so much that even reaching out to touch it will set her off.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rarity is fully capable of handling all sorts of danger and regularly works under crushing amounts of stress. Her reaction to having her mane dyed green, however? Quite loud.
- The Mask gives Ace Ventura a wedgie in the first of their crossover episodes. Ace takes umbrage.
Ace: You messed the 'do. And nobody messes with the 'do!!
- The Powerpuff Girls pilot "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins" has Bubbles going postal on Fuzzy after his meat gun turns one of her pigtails into a chicken leg.
- In the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode, "Lazy Daze", Zidgel tells Midgel, "I don't touch your buttons, you don't touch my 'do'."
- Hey Arnold! has Gerald, who will constantly remind people to "watch the hair."
- In at least one episode of Totally Spies!, Clover responds to an enemy accidentally cutting off a tiny strand of her hair by flying into an Unstoppable Rage and pulverizing him.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, when Billy gets sent to Asgard and switch places with a Norse warrior who gets sent to Earth, his parents see the warrior wearing Billy's hat and assume he's Billy, even though he clearly isn't, and he pesters them and their neighbors with his destructive antics. The final straw for Harold is when the warrior chops off the front of his pompadour (which houses his brain):
Harold: Young man, you can be rude, break furniture, run up phone bills, shave the cat, and even harass your mother, but when you touch the pomp, it's go time!
- Mitt Romney. His response to a political rival's threats to physically assault him? "Don't touch the hair."
- John Edwards as well, who was reportedly very obsessed with his hair if this tell-all book written by a former staffer is to be believed. Also, this video.
- One common characteristic of autism is difficulty in processing sensory stimulus, with their senses either being under- or over-developed. For those who are hypersensitive to touch, even the gentlest ruffling, patting, or brushing of the hair may cause great discomfort and/or pain derived from what were meant to be affectionate and harmless actions.
- Too many clueless white people try to touch black people's hair without permission.
- Our page image is Prince with Muhammad Ali. But given Ali was his idol, the musician just had to let him touch it◊.
- Empress Elisabeth of Austria was extremely proud of her famously long and beautiful hair, and allowed nobody but her court hairdresser to handle it, and even then only with gloves. The empress intensely disliked any of the natural effects of hairstyling (such as fallen hairs) and demanded that her hairdresser show her the comb with the fallen hairs after every brushing, and she would become so upset and angry when she saw them that her hairdresser began stealthily hiding them under her apron to protect herself from the empress' wrath.