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In fiction, it's rather common for characters who are rather unconventional to also have hair dyed an unnatural and usually bright color, such as pink, blue, green, or purple. This is applicable to a wide variety of character types: punk rockers, free-spirited artists, people who are not really right in the head, goths, people from conservative backgrounds dipping their toes into rebellion, and many more. It also allows for a wide variety of hairstyles, such as hair dyed a single bright color, the tips of the hair being dyed, a few bright streaks, colorful mohawks, or hair that sports multiple colors.

The rationale for doing so is quite simple: these characters reject societal conventions and stand out in a crowd, so they reject 'conventional' hair colors as a visual signifier. They contrast people who stick to their natural hair colors or, if they do dye their hair, keep it to other natural colors or subtler, more elegant color modifications like highlights. For example, a traditionalist or conservative parent might dislike the fact that their child dyes their hair orange.

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This trope is slightly weightier for natural brunets because it takes more work to put and maintain color on dark hair compared to blonde hair. In addition, characters from predominantly dark-haired populations stick out even more than they would in communities where some people are already varying shades of brown, blonde and red. For example, the Gyaru Girl dyes or bleaches her hair (and darkens her skin, in the case of the ganguro and yamanba types) to contrast the Raven Hair, Ivory Skin beauty standard in Japan. Nonconformist Dyed Hair is something of an Evolving Trope as well, since dyeing your hair an unnatural color has been much more common and accessible since the 2010s.

Colorful hair dye is a prime vector for an Expository Hairstyle Change. Someone experimenting with rebellion might dye their hair to signify this newfound freedom. Conversely, someone cleaning up their act might grow out their hair out and cut off the dyed parts, or dye their hair back to a 'regular' color. A Former Teen Rebel might be seen with dyed hair as a Funny Flashback Haircut, for example.

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Sister Trope to Quirky Curls, another hairstyling choice that indicates someone is quirky. There may be some overlap with Delinquent Hair, which covers any hairstyling choices that mark someone as a troublemaker. Compare and contrast My Hair Came Out Green, which is when the character didn't mean for their hair to come out an unnatural color after a dye job, Mistaken for Dyed, where someone born with unnatural hair might cause a kerfluffle because of its nonconformist connotations, as well as later iterations of Elderly Blue-Haired Lady, for the grandmas who choose to dye their hair odd colors. See also Kaleidoscope Hair, which might happen if they change colors frequently.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • BanG Dream!: Ran Mitake added a red streak to her hair after she and her friends founded the band Afterglow as a sign of her rebellion against her father's desire to have her take over the family's flower arranging school. After her father accepted that she was serious about the band, he supported her, and she met him halfway by resuming her flower arranging lessons, but she kept the streak in her hair.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Former Japanese Delinquent Kyoko dyed her hair strawberry blonde at a young age - it was originally a light brown like her future daughter's. Even after she quit the gang, she continued to dye her hair to showcase her free spirit. It also, symbolically, ties her to Kyo Sohma, who has naturally orange hair (see below).
    • Discussed with the cursed Sohmas, some of whom have unusual hair colors by Japanese standards, even though they're actually natural due to being possessed by spirits of the animals from the Eastern Zodiac. Because this is a secret, many teachers and peers accuse them of dying their hair, particularly the natural redhead Kyo.
  • Inazuma Eleven:
    • Fudou Akio's hair is styled into a mowhawk, with some strands of hair dyed silver. He's an aloof, rebellious player, who until his Character Development, prefered to solve his problems by himself and mocked the idea of combination hissatsu techniques. As an adult, he mellowed down considerably and mentained some close friendships. His hair grew out and he no longer dyes it.
    • Kira Hiroto from Inazuma Eleven: Ares rebelled against his father after feeling neglected for too long. His rebel teenager look includes, among other things, silver highlights which are revealed to not be natural.
  • Briefly played for laughs in Toradora!. After being rejected by Sumire, Kitamura dyes his hair blonde to rebel. One smack from his father (off screen) he's dyed it black again and is back to being a model student.
  • Zombie Land Saga:
    • Saki Nikaido has blonde hair with orange and green streaks. Unlike the other main characters' unrealistic hair colors, hers is very likely dyed, which fits with her past as a delinquent and her refusal to conform to society's idea of "normal".
    • Similarly, Saki's friend Reiko had red and blue streaks in her purple hair when she was the boss of their biker gang. In the present day, she no longer has the streaks, which shows how she's now a regular wife and mother.

    Comic Books 
  • Jem and the Holograms (IDW): The metal band Misfits have theirs as Delinquent Hair:
    • Pizzazz has a green mohawk that has some blonde and red highlights, with her natural black hair sometimes showing underneath.
    • Jetta has black hair with white highlights.
    • Stormer dyes her hair blue but has some of her naturally black hair uncolored.
    • Blaze has red hair with blonde highlights.
    • Clash has red hair with blue and green highlights.
    • Rio has his hair in two different shades of purple.
  • Runaways: Gert, the anti-capitalist activist of the group, dyes her hair purple. This initially contrasts her from other kids, but after (long story) she dies and is brought back to life several years in the future, she finds that dyed hair has become so common that she no longer stands out in a crowd, so she ends up ditching itnote .
  • Melissa Gold was a blonde hailing from a broken home. When she away and joined a wrestling group, she dyed her hair white, and ultimately became the villainess Screaming Mimi. The unusual hair was furthered by the pink stripe in her makeover as Songbird of the Thunderbolts. Even following a Heel–Face Turn she kept the hair.

    Films — Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: In contrast to the girlier Honey Lemon, who has long blonde hair, the tomboyish biker chick GoGo Tomago has Boyish Short Hair accentuated with purple streaks.
  • Encanto: Toward the end of the movie, Isabela's "Gaining Confidence" Song "What Else Can I Do" ends with her playing in some colored pollen that dyes her clothes and hair in a variety of bright colors, such as yellow and lime green. She keeps the new style to signify her new, more rebellious nature and her interest in being more than the "perfect golden child", and it stands out compared to the other members of her family (who are all dark-haired save for Pepa).
  • Wyldstyle in The LEGO Movie is a Master Builder, skilled fighter, and Badass Driver who has no patience for Generic Guys like Emmet, whom she deems another mindless follower. She has a pink and sky blue streak in her black hair. The Second Part reveals that, in a twist of this trope, her natural hair is actually pink and blue, and she colored most of it black to appear tougher and cooler.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: The beautiful and mysterious art student Emma is first identified by her striking blue dye, which Adele cannot get out of her mind.
  • Closer: Compulsive liar Alice has naturally brown hair, but she wears a pink wig while stripping, and is shown at the end of the movie - after she leaves London and appears to start again - with bright red hair.
  • Clueless: Tai is the kind, klutzy new girl whose hair is dyed a bright red. While she's not too alternative, it does come up when conventionally feminine and pretty Cher and Dionne befriend her. When they give her a makeover, their first order of business is to remove the dye from her hairnote . She spends the rest of the film with natural brown hair.
  • Inverted in Cruella. The titular protagonist was born with black and white hair, and she initially dyes it red to fit in.
  • DC Extended Universe: The playful and mentally unstable Harley Quinn has blonde hair dyed pink/red at the ends, like her comic book counterpart.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Clementine is the emotional extraverted ex-girlfriend to everyman protagonist Joel, who is not over their breakup. The multiple hair colors she sports over the course of the film solidify her as a memorable, if unstable, young woman.
  • Angela, the heroine of Kimi, is an agoraphobic shut-in who works from home; her misfit status is accentuated by her bright blue hair. In the end, her willingness to go outside and genuinely connect with Terry is highlighted with a hair color switch to pink.
  • Lady Bird: The titular heroine is an artistic teenager who continuously rebels against her regular Sacramento upbringing. Her hair is dyed scarlet, with the roots getting longer as the year progresses.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Ramona Flowers constantly dyes her dark hair various unnatural colors, such as magenta, blue, and green. She's a cool rollerskater whom Scott is immediately enthralled by. In an attempt to emulate her, Scott's first girlfriend Knives dyes part of her hair blue.
  • Inverted in Scream, where Liv has prominent neon red streaks in her hair. She is also widely agreed upon in-universe by her own friend group to be so bland and forgettable that she actually becomes a Red Herring because of it.
  • Star Wars: In The Last Jedi, Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo is quickly established as an eccentric, off-kilter, even suspicious character by her appearance: she wears a long dress while everyone else in the Resistance has more practical garb, and her short purple hair stands out among the other humans' natural hair tones.

    Literature 
  • Can You See Me?: In All the Pieces of Me, New Transfer Student Annie has rainbow coloured hair that Tally compares to a unicorn. Tally finds her a little scary, because she's never met someone who looks different on purpose, like she doesn't mind being stared at. Annie later stands up to Tally's thieving, bullying "friends" instead of changing herself to fit in with them, like Tally does. Tally eventually realizes that it's better to be alone than to cut off pieces of yourself to fit in, and that Annie would make a much better friend than any of the girls in Tally's group.
  • The Dresden Files: As a teenager, along with having numerous tattoos and piercings, Molly Carpenter would dye her hair various colors, as an act of rebellion against her parents, especially Charity.
  • Hannah Swensen: Subverted in Lemon Meringue Pie Murder. When Michelle Swensen first appears in person, she comes off a bus with green streaks in her hair and some other nonconformist changes to her appearance (especially the clothes), to the point where Hannah didn't even recognize her until Mike pointed her out, and thinks this trope is in effect. She visibly relaxes when Michelle explains that she was in a student play earlier that day, and just hadn't had time to change out of her costume or wash the spray dye out of her hair before she needed to catch her bus.
  • Inverted in The Hunger Games, where having quirkily dyed hair is a huge fashion trend in the materialistic and out-of-touch Capitol. For example, Effie has pink and purple hair, and Katniss's styling team wears their hair in a myriad of colors. Katniss, a rebel from the poorest district, is admired for her "natural beauty" (which includes her undyed brown hair).
  • Leia, Princess of Alderaan describes the teenage years of the aforementioned Amilyn Holdo. As a teenager, she dyes her hair wild colors and wears vibrant clothes, to distance herself from other Gatalentans, who are usually serious and prefer pale greys and whites. She's toned down her style as an adult, though she still has unconventional clothing and purple hair during her service with the Resistance.
  • Maya's Notebook: After nearly two days' worth of travel from California, Maya finally arrives to the remote Chiloé Island and is instantly recognized by her host. Maya figures her grandmother must have described her to him as having hair dyed in four primary colors and wearing a nose ring. However, just being a tall American woman is enough to make her stick out.
  • Bertie in Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy is constantly dying her hair different colors, showcased on each of the book's covers - in the first, it is Cobalt Flame blue, in the second, black and red, and the third, white. While the colors themselves are as dramatic as the theater she grew up in, the constant changes contrast the unchanging nature of the theater.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Wylla Manderly is a bold Plucky Girl who openly declares her loyalty to the Starks while everyone else seemingly kowtows to the Lannisters and their allies. Her dyed green hair emphasizes her free-spirited nature and contrasts her with her sister Wynafryd, a quiet and composed Proper Lady with natural brown hair.
  • Chloe from Stim has cobalt hair and piercings in her eyebrows, ears, and lip. She leaves her empty cup on the table, contrary to café regulations, which Robert thinks is a rebellious thing to do.
  • In The Switch 2022 by Roland Smith, Henry recalls how his friend Caroline was the first girl in their school to dye her hair pink (and get piercings), only to switch back to her normal appearance after all of the other girls in the school started imitating her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cobra Kai as part of his new more confident Hawk persona, Eli's Mohawk haircut goes through several different colours (Red, Blue and Purple) as the series progresses.
  • Gilmore Girls: Lane attempts to do this in "One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes" by turning her black hair "Manic Panic Purple" to match her punk rock persona. But once it's done, she chickens out at the thought of her mother seeing it, and dyes it back to her normal color. However, she takes some joy in the fact that her hair is still technically dyed, and keeps the one picture Rory took of her purple hair as a token of her brief rebellion.
  • Glee: The very classically feminine and blonde popular girl Quinn goes through a short-lived rebellious phase in season three, which involves dyeing her hair pink, getting piercings, and dressing in dark colors. Zig-Zagged, since it was later revealed/retconned that Quinn's natural hair color is auburn, so her blonde hair was an example of conformist dyed hair.
  • House of Anubis: Downplayed with Patricia in season 1. While her hair isn't technically dyed so much as she uses brightly-colored clip-on hair-streaks, it's another way of marking her as the tough, alternative "goth pixie" who stands in contrast to the rest of The House, such as being Nina's Foil and Sibuna's independent, anti-heroic Lancer.
  • I May Destroy You: Arabella has pink hair in the present and purple hair in the past. She's a free-spirited feminist writer.
  • Jessie: In "Karate Kid-tastrophe", Emma goes through a temporary rebel phase. She dyes her hair purple for this episode and starts dressing like a goth.
  • Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls: Aspiring Grrrl Moesha shows up in blue and yellow hair, to go with her multiple tattoos and facial piercings. Lizzo's Glam team suggest a slightly more neutral look for her stage persona, to let her personality shine through. She accepts, albeit reluctantly.
  • Nevertheless: Bit-na, Na-bi's goth artist school friend, has long dark hair dyed fuschia from her chin downwards.
  • Paper Girls: Adult Tiffany is shown to be a hip, freespirited DJ who's living a bohemian lifestyle, with braided hair that's dyed blue. She had dropped out of MIT as the atmosphere was too rigid, unaccepting because Tiffany is black and rejected any independent thinking. Tiffany decides that she'll start an institute herself to foster new ideas.
  • Sense8:
    • Amanita Caplan is the understanding and intelligent daughter of Hippie Parents who works at a bookstore in the liberal Bay Area. She's also into women, and has dreadlocks dyed blue, purple, and pink (the colors of the Bisexual Pride flag).
    • Riley Blue is a DJ with a deeply traumatic past whose hair is bleached white with blue stripes. When she and Will go on the run the blue starts to fade and she has to re-dye them before her big comeback performance at a nightclub.
  • Sex Education: Maeve has naturally dark hair, and in the first season it's dyed blonde with pink streaks. She's the school's surly, rebellious outcast from a Trashy Trailer Home, and an outspoken feminist with a (slanderous) reputation for being promiscuous. As she becomes more integrated into Moordale and begins to strive for legitimate academic recognition, she goes back to her natural brown hair.
  • Invoked in the ending of Squid Game. Having survived the games, Gi-hun dyes his hair red as a reminder of his fallen teammates to stop himself from going back to "normal".
  • Veronica Mars: Anti-authoritarian Playful Hacker Mac has brunette hair, but she also has a different color in streaks every season: blue in Season 1, red in Season 2, and blonde-yellow in Season 3. By the time of the movie, she has short fully blonde hair to reflect her "selling out" to Jake Kane, though she eventually comes back to working with Veronica.
  • Warehouse 13: A hacker who grew up in a series of psychiatric institutions due to her Dark and Troubled Past, Claudia has streaks in her hair and frequently changes the color, including blue, purple, green, white, and magenta.
  • Young Sheldon: In S3 E12, Paige dyes her hair pink to lash out after her parents' divorce.

    Music 
  • Bowling for Soup: Implied in "Star Song", which carries a "Be Yourself" aesop:
    Your mother's so happy you became a cheerleader
    Homecoming queen, just like your older sister
    'Til you dyed your hair pink, and she said what were you drinking?
    And it never did sink in it don't matter what they think...
  • Eminem, who bleached his naturally dark brown hair blond in 1998 to play his Ax-Crazy alter-ego Slim Shady, frequently uses this trope in his lyrics. His dyed hair launched a famous '90s Hair fashion trend, which worked beautifully with Slim Shady's role as The Virus, corrupting America's children with The Power of Apathy. Slim also came to signify Eminem's fame, relevance, dark side and drug addiction, so especially in his mid-period work, bleached-blond hair is used as a symbol of him relapsing back into his old misbehaviour (in Kayfabe).
    • In the music video for "The Real Slim Shady", Eminem is flanked by factory-made dyed-haired youths representing rebellion in the hearts of kids — the Slim Shady lurking in every single person.
    • In the music video for "Stan", Stan (a Loony Fan taking Eminem's persona literally) bleaches his hair to emulate his idol. He's also, as it turns out, murderously insane.
    • "Sing For The Moment": The first verse describes a nonconformist child from a broken home with "dyed hair" whose parents fret that he is brainwashed from rock and rap music.
    • Em returned to dark hair in 2008 to signal getting clean of his drug addiction. This was seen as such a potent signal that fans worried he was relapsing when he bleached it back in 2013 (which ended up being for his most mature album up to that point, maintaining only the playfulness of his blond older persona).
    • Eminem also has an example of conformist dyed hair when sarcastically debating becoming a mainstream manufactured Teen Pop star in "I'm Back":
      Should I dye my hair pink and care what y'all think?

    Roleplay 
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Zia, a punk and a social outcast, dyes her hair a bright purple.
    • Carlie is a member of a delinquent gang and is enamored with the punk aesthetic, which she shows with her blue-dyed hair.

    Theatre 
  • Invoked in The Black Suits song "Blue Hair." Lisa dyes her hair blue to piss off her boyfriend Chris and make herself look cooler to his friend John. She confesses near the end of the song that she doesn't feel very cool, but she'd like her hair to be.

    Video Games 
  • Dance Central: Glitch is freestyle hip-hop dance prodigy who dyes streaks of color into his hair. This goes with his more carefree personality and also helps him stand out on the street when he performs.
  • Far Cry 6: Mercedes "Jonron" Martinez is a former college baseball star turned arnachist revolutionary who loves killing FND soldiers, and has dyed solid red hair, which in addition to her red and blue clothes, establishes her as a Primary Colour Champion.
  • Fate/Grand Order: In her First Ascension, Sei Shounagon has bright blue and red stripes in her otherwise black-colored hair, and said black-colored hair turns pink upon her Second Ascension. This reflects how the carefree and energetic writer's appearance is based on modern youth (such as wearing modern clothing and playing with a phone in her animations). It also serves as a contrast to fellow Heian-era author and rival, Murasaki Shikibu, who has dark-colored hair and is old-fashioned.
  • In Life Is Strange, Chloe Price's most notable feature is her bright blue hair. She's a rebellious and angry punk who was expelled from the same school the protagonist, Max Caulfield, attends. She has her natural blonde hair in flashbacks (and an alternative timeline where her father lived), and while she still has a rebellious streak, she's a lot less overtly angry and contrarian. In the sequel in the timeline where she lives, her hair is now much longer, and only dyed on the ends, and she's much chiller (and has a better relationship with her step father).
  • Mass Effect: Asari "maidens" (young adults) are known for going a little wild for their first couple centuries of life, which often includes dyeing their skin or their scalp to colors other than its natural pale blue. Ereba, an asari you meet in Mass Effect 2, discusses this in the context of her relationship with her krogan boyfriend Charr who's trying to get her to marry him.
    Ereba: It's fun to join a mercenary guild or dance at bars for a few centuries, but eventually you hit the matron stage, you know? Then you get your back tattoo removed, let your scalp go back to its natural blue, and settle down with someone dependable.
  • Sombra of Overwatch has dark hair with bright pink extensions in her default skin. She's a former member of the Mexican gang Los Muertos and has been a rebellious Hackette since.
  • Persona 2: Eikichi dyes his hair dark blue with a lighter blue patch at the front to match his Visual Kei aesthetic and his dreams of becoming a rock star. The dye is temporary because he thinks his conservative father would disapprove. While he does have the reputation of a deliquent due to being a known name in an all-boys school and a Bully Hunter, he's actually the one keeping order in the place and encouraging all the other students to try their best.
  • Persona 5
    • Ryuji dyes his hair blonde because everyone thinks he's a deliquent, as a minor form of rebellion against the teacher that ended his dreams of a sports career and his former friends that abandoned him. However, that's as far as it goes, and he's actually a perfectly nice and decent guy.
    • Futaba, the quirky hacker and hardcore gamer Otaku dyes her hair orange, even though she never leaves the house.
  • Abigail from Stardew Valley is interested in the occult and enjoys adventuring in the mines and playing video games, to her parents' dismay. She dyes her hair, something her mother, Caroline, specifically dislikes. There are plenty of denizens in the setting with hair colors that would be considered unusual in real life (including Caroline herself), but Abigail's the only character who's explicitly stated to have dyed hair.
  • The delinquents in Yandere Simulator dyed their hair blond. If the player wants to join the gang, she has to purchase blond hair dye.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Sunohara's blond hair is actually dyed, and his real hair color is a greyish blue that's similar to his sister Mei's hair. While he doesn't do much that's nonconformist aside from skipping class and being a Cloudcuckoolander, the fact that he bleaches his hair at all still marks him as a delinquent by Japanese standards.
  • Havenfall Is for Lovers: Overlapping with Delinquent Hair, town troublemaker JD has a punk aesthetic and hair dyed in flame colors.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 

  • On Bless the Harts, Violet's hair is dyed indigo to show that she is rebellious.
  • DuckTales: Lena has streaks of dyed pink hair, marking her as an edgy teen in contrast to clean-cut Webby. Subverted by the reveal that Lena is Magica's shadow, and was thus born with her hair already like that.
  • The Legend of Korra: Suyin and her family are the wealthy, powerful, and respectable leaders of Zaofu, and all have naturally dark hair due to being Fantasy Counterpart Asian. Of her children, Huan is the most artistic and expressive; he goes from long hair with an undercut in season three to long hair with green streaks in season 4.
  • The Loud House: Sam has a strip of aquamarine dyed into her hair, which goes with her aesthetic as a punk rocker.
  • Zigzagged in The Owl House. Amity Blight, a natural brunette, dyes her hair green on her mother's orders so she'll match with her older siblings' naturally green hair (which isn't considered an unusual hair color on the Boiling Isles), to symbolize how controlling her mother is. As her feelings for Luz develop and she decides to think more about what she wants for herself instead of what others expect of her, she dyes her hair purple to show how she's no longer going to just be what her mother wants.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Mayor Mare is an inversion: her hair is naturally vivid pink, but she dyes it gray, making her look older and more befitting an authority figure, but also making her stand out among the pony populace for not having brightly colored hair.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Implied to be the reason for the blonde streaks in Auntie Eggplant's hair. None of the other Bortronians have that in their hair, and Eggplant has been shown to surprisingly cunning. This means it could very well be a rebellious fashion statement.
  • South Park:
    • One of the antisocial Goth Kids, Pete, has Peekabangs with a red streak.
    • The Vamp Kids, a strange group of vampire fans who like to hang out alone in the cafeteria, has several members with dyed hair, including their leader Mike "Vampir" Makowski, who has black hair with dyed green tips. When Butters joins their group, he dyes his blonde hair black.
  • Star Wars: Rebels: Sabine Wren is a member of the early rebel alliance with a knack for explosives and a flair for art. She delights in decorating her armor in bright colors (which she wouldn't be allowed to do had she remained in Mandalore), repainting drab Imperial equipment, and leaving graffiti behind after her exploits. She dyes her dark brown Boyish Short Hair bright hues like turquoise and blue, with the colors changing each season.
  • Total Drama:
    • Duncan is an anti-authority punk with a bright green mohawk. According to the Total Drama Online website, he secretly gets it done at a salon.
    • Gwen is an artsy misanthropic goth with blue-streaked hair. Supplemental material reveals she goes to the same salon as Duncan to dye it.
    • Sierra's long violet braid makes her stand out more as an overly-obsessed and clingy fangirl with a Friendless Background.
    • Revenge of the Island introduces Zoey, a self-proclaimed "indie chick" with a Friendless Background. Her hair is dyed bright red.
    • Pahkitew Island introduces Max, a hammy wannabe supervillain whose obsession with evil and mad science seems to prevent him from having friends. His purple bowlcut makes his oddity more obvious.
    • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: The Goths, Crimson and Ennui, have black-and-white hair and red-and-black hair, respectively, to complete their eerie vibes. At one point, they lose their wigs, revealing their natural hair colors (ginger and brunette), which freaks them out so much they try to cover their heads.

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