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People of Hair Color

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There is such a thing as physical dislike. Europeans know this about other Europeans.

A Heroic Fantasy trope. Also found in Hollywood History.

In fiction hair colors are often used to easily identify a character. They're usually meant to identify personality traits, such as the Fiery Redhead or Brainy Brunette. However, hair colors being used to distinguish a character's ethnic background are not uncommon.

As in many historical eras, many fantasy writers divide their humans up into finer ethnic categories than are common nowadays. One of the most common is 'races' that would in the USA, South Africa, and other places all be called 'white' (after their pale-ish skin and the legal names for prior ranks of citizenship) but, in the work, are categorized by their hair color, of which blond and dark are the most common. These hair colors are often depicted as remarkably uniform throughout the different populations.

There is a certain amount of Truth in Television here. Before widespread genetic diversity, with people meeting and mixing between different countries or continents, the traits of a single tribe or village or other group of people were often common across the entire population. One group of people, who haven't been mixing with outsiders, will generally share the same general appearance. It's part of why, for instance, there are two main stereotypical depictions of Irish people, the 'black' Irish, like Colin Farrell, and the 'red' Irish, like Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien from Star Trek). Of course, with black hair and brown eyes being dominant genetic traits a focus on these (admittedly very visible) characteristics isn't very helpful for differentiating between ethnic groups outside of Europe and the Middle East.

In all too many works, however, the races are absolutely uniform, living in an ethnic Patchwork Map. Even at the borders, mixed-race characters are unusual and physically distinctive. Phenotype Stereotype usually prevails: blue eyes for blonds, green eyes for redheads, gray eyes or brown eyes for dark-haired people. Furthermore, the physical appearances are also used as a short hand for Planet of Hats traits. Sometimes two characters sharing a hair color may be a Hair Color Spoiler, especially if their connection is supposed to be revealed later.

The prevalence of Medieval European Fantasy makes the subdivisions of European ethnic groups somewhat plausible, but other ethnic subdivisions are known, and, sometimes, a blond race will contrast with a dark-haired race with darker skin. Often, the mere presence of whites and blacks in the same area will not preclude their regarding themselves as more finely divided than that — which is also Truth in Television.

And, of course, racism follows the racial divides the cultures use. Compare Fantastic Racism.

Phenotype Stereotype applies to Japanese media where European or North American characters are blondes, while Latino Is Brown usually goes hand-in-hand with latinos having dark hair colors.

Compare to Facial Profiling. Sub-trope of Group-Identifying Feature.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The Ishvalans have grey hair and red eyes, as well as dark skin. Other races in the series tend also to have a common hair and/or eye colour, but not quite to the same extent as the Ishvalans.
    • Xingese are all shown to have black hair and black/grey eyes, while those with Xerxes blood have golden hairnote  and gold eyes.
    • This is averted more in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), as Xingese people do not exist (though a passing mention is made to Eastern countries and both Izumi and Roy seem at least part Asian) and Xerxes is nonexistent. The Ishvalans keep their dark skin and red eyes, however black and brown hair are the default hair colors. Lior, where Rose is from, is a desert town (instead of a mountain one as in the manga) and there are a large amount of dark-skinned, dark-haired inhabitants. There are implications the people of Lior are distantly related to the Ishvalans which makes the Lior massacres even more comparable to the Ishvalan genocide.
  • Played with in Kemono no Souja Erin. There is a tribe called the Mist People, with green eyes and green hair. Unfortunately, they are associated with black magic. Interestingly, their unusual hair color is actually never brought up and it is their eyes that function as a stigma. Also Je, the First Shin Oh of Ryoza, and her people were known for their golden eyes and blond hair.
  • The Migurdians of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation all have blue hair and blue eyes as a Mark of the Supernatural.
  • In Naruto members of the disbanded Uzumaki clan are said to have red hair, including Naruto's mother Kushina, Nagato and Karin, who was revealed to be an Uzumaki due to this. Naruto is the only known Uzumaki with blond hair and blue eyes, which he inherited from his father, Minato Namikaze. His own son, Boruto, is also blond. His daughter, Himawari, takes after her mother, Hinata, who has blue hair.
  • In the Macross franchise, humans tend to have hair colors that exist in the real world. Most characters with green/blue/pink/etc hair are at least part-alien (with the exception of a handful of blue/purple-haired humans, which are likely a case of Hair Color Dissonance and Purple Is the New Black).
  • In Magi: Labyrinth of Magic; members of the Fanalis tribe are immediately recognizable by their reddish pink hair and eyes, the Imuchakk with their blue hair and gold eyes, whilst the people of Heliohapt are a race of dark-skinned blonds.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms: The Iorph aside from their youthful looks induced by Immortality Begins at Twenty, can be told apart due all having blonde hair.
  • Sword Art Online: Some of the playable races in Alfheim Online all have the same hair color. For example, the Spriggans have black hair, the Undines have cyan hair, and the Salamanders have red hair.

    Comic Books 
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: In Gemworld, a person's lineage and House allegiance can be traced by their hair and eye color. For example, Princess Amaya's blonde hair and purple eyes indicate that she's from the House Amethyst. Those with brown hair and grey eyes are neutral and can't take sides.
  • The Blackblood Alliance has an animal version. Each pack roughly has its own typical coat color, though there are wolves who don't follow this pattern. Inarians tend to have gray fur, the Rubicund have red fur, and the Shadeless used to have a brownish color, but their descendants tend to have yellow on them now (Anyway is an exception with their dark fur). The hyenas also follow this trope; they tend to be a hard to describe brownish-yellowish color.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The "Golden Women" are an extraterrestrial group who all have blonde hair. The "Sky Riders" are all redheads.

    Fan Works 
  • Compared to the Warriors books, Warriors Redux puts more emphasis on each Clan having a generalized look thanks to inbreeding and natural selection:
    • ThunderClan cats have the most diverse designs because they often interbreed with non-Clan cats. They're the largest cats (looking Maine Coon-like) and usually have medium-length fur that thickens in winter but sheds in summer. Most are either tabbies or torties. White markings are common but not all-white cats. Spots are all-but-unheard of.
    • RiverClan cats are known for their beauty. They're colorful looking and are usually patched. Calicos and torties are commonplace. Rarer are the non-patched RiverClan cats. They're generally light colours (typically silver or gold) with either stripes or spots. Their tabbies are usually classic, marbled, or mackerel. Every few generations a leopard-patterned cat pops up.
    • WindClan cats are muted and monochromatic. The brightest they come in is a diluted ginger. Most WindClan cats are plain brown, gray, or brownish-gray and fur patterns are rare (most commonly consisting of white markings on the stomach and chest).
    • ShadowClan cats are dark colours like brown, gray, and black. ShadowClan produces a lot of melanistic cats as well. They frequently have faint stripes and spots, while white markings are very rare and mainly limited to their paws.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, most of the Romani characters have dark skin and black hair. There are exceptions, including the light-skinned and redheaded Quasimodo.
  • The Prince of Egypt distinguishes the ethnically Egyptian and Hebrew characters by character design. The Egyptians have darker skin than the olive-toned Hebrew characters.
  • Klaus (2019): The Krums all have black hair, and the Ellingboes all have red hair. Jesper, Alva, Márgu, and the Saami, who aren't part of the town of Smeerensburg and thus aren't part of the feud, all have blonde hair.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Invoked by Enid in Censor. She and her sister Nina have distinctive red hair. That Alice Lee also has red hair leads her to conclude that Alice is Nina. She isn't.
  • The 1966 film One Million Years B.C., set during a mythical Stone Age, features a dark-haired tribe and a fair-haired one.
  • In Big Bird in Japan, Big Bird observes that the Japanese people he sees on the streets of Tokyo all have black hair.

  • The Arts of Dark and Light: Although Humans Are White in Selenoth, there is noticeable ethnic diversity between the different nations, from the mostly Mediterranean Amorrans to the blond, blue-eyed Dalarns in the Wolf Islands, with expansionist Savondir a mixed region in between. At the same time, while some racial types are clearly predominant in some regions, the boundaries aren't clear-cut, and there is a range of traits across the whole continent—for example, even in Amorr proper there are some blonds and redheads, though they are much less common there than in the northern lands.
  • Unless they have Human ancestors, the color of the Elves’ hair in The Village in An Outcast in Another World are almost uniformly silver. Having non-silver hair color, such as Tarric's brown, is indicative of possessing Human ancestors. As Humans are despised in Elatra, this is not seen as a good thing.
  • The Germanic tribes in Attila are described as predominantly blonde, in contrast to the dark-haired Romans.
  • The Belgariad and The Elenium have descriptions of people from specific lands who, though of the same race as their neighbors, tend to have characteristics specific to their own nationality. This is justified in the Belgariad; the gods each picked out the people they liked and (effectively) inbred them. The places where the races mixed (Sendar, Mallorea) have the most sensible people.
  • Black Jewels: The races are often very distinct. For example, all people from Glacia have blond hair and blue eyes. All of the long lived races have brown skin, gold eyes, and black hair, with all Eyrien's having straight hair (it's mentioned when an Eyrien child is noticed to have a slight curl to her hair.) Children of half short-lived and half long-lived descent are easy to pick out; ie, Surreal, being half Hayllian half Dea al Mon, has lighter skin than a Hayllian, green-gold eyes, and pointed ears. The Dea al Mon are considered "short lived" with a lifespan of a hundred years or so, and they all have silver hair, light skin, forest blue eyes, and pointed ears (so they're basically elves) and so Surreal's coloring is believable; her hair is black while her skin is a bit of a mix, which is usually how genetics work, and eye colors do sometimes combine. Lucivar, being half Hayllian and half Eyrien, looks pure Eyrien because the only difference between the races is that Eyriens have wings. In fact, until he was born, no one knew his mother was Eyrien, as she was born with no wings (because her bloodline wasn't pure Eyrien in the first place) and passed as either Hayllian or as a Dehmlan witch.
  • Books of Bayern: In The Goose Girl, Princess Anidori is recognised as from the country of Kildenree because of her yellow hair, and is called "the Yellow Lady" by her friends. The country of Bayern, where she was hiding, apparently has no blonde people.
  • The Brides Of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan: All of the wives on Rollrock Island are selkies, or seal women, who have black hair and dark eyes. Meanwhile, the natives of the island and the mainlanders have red hair. Generations of breeding only with selkies has led to everyone on the island having black hair, thus making it easy to tell who is not from the island.
  • The Brightest Shadow: A softer and more realistic version of this applies, as most groups are ethnically separate. Rhen all have dark hair, Corans have brown to blond, Estronese have very light hair, etc.
  • A Chorus of Dragons: The Kirpis vané of the northern forests have hair in colorful pastel shades, while their souther cousins, the Manol vané, have hair in brighter jewel shades.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: There are two factions of dwarfs: red and black, distinguished by their hair and beard color. The red dwarfs are generally on the side of good (Aslan the Lion), while the black dwarfs have aligned themselves with the forces of evil (the White Witch). At the beginning of Prince Caspian, the two factions are on the same side, represented by the red dwarf Trumpkin and the black dwarf Nikabrik. In the end, Nikabrik just can't help himself, and turns to evil.*
  • Chronicles of the Emerged World: All half-elves have bright blue hair.
  • Conan the Barbarian: The barbarians of the north are divided into the Aesir, who are blond, the Vanir, who have red hair, and the Cimmerians, who have dark hair. Howard had a whole essay on the various human races of Hyboria and how they got to be where they are in the story in question, "The Hyborian Age". The racial descriptions given there are characterized by the very best racial science of his day.
  • Count To A Trillion: Blondies. Indeed, when Menelaus is viewing an old SF series and realizing it depicts the future (which didn't happen) as racism-free, a white man kissing a black woman is described as a Blondie kissing a Swarthy — the hair color trumps the skin color for the man.
  • In the Darkover series created by Marion Zimmer Bradley, individuals with the special abilities called laran are overwhelmingly red-haired, with light eyes, although exceptions do exist—not all redheads have laran, and occasionally someone with darker coloring has laran.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: The Sartan and Patryns are Mage Species who are also Human Subspecies, and are distinguishable from baseline humans primarily by their hair color — Sartan have Mystical White Hair with dark tipsnote , while Patryns are the opposite, with dark hair that turns white near the tips.
  • Aaron Allston's Doc Sidhe has three divisions of people on the Fair World: light (blond whites), dark (dark-haired whites), and dusky (blacks, Asians, Native Americans, etc.). That's right; the difference in hair color among whites is considered more significant than the differences in skin color among the duskies.
  • Earthsea has the races contrast by skin color as well as by hair, but the white race is also chiefly blond.
  • Played with in The Farsala Trilogy. The upper class deghan and the lower class peasants, which are eventually revealed to be two separate peoples who migrated to Farsala at the same time, are differentiated between by hairtype. The deghan are marked for having straight black hair while peasants have curly brown hair. A black haired peasant or curly haired deghan is an indicator of an affair between the two groups. Despite living as one kingdom, the two treat one another as entirely separate groups of people, regarding one another with mutual disdain.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, the Irish characters are all red-haired.
  • Plays into the history of the Kymeran Mage Species in Nancy A. Collins's Urban Fantasy trilogy Golgotham: Before Kymera sank into the ocean, their hair was exclusively in primary colors and rigidly coded to caste: blue for aristocrats, yellow for artisans, and red for peons. While the Racial Remnant who survived the crisis intermarried out of necessity (adding secondary colors to the range of possibilities), traditionalists still tend to hold some degree of bias against anyone with warm-toned hair, (although even most of them only consider it all that important that the heir to the throne have Supernatural Gold Eyes). The only mentions made of Kymeran skin tones are in reference to specific individuals; therefore, it's probably safe to say that the same variations (or lack thereof) exist among all three castes and their descendants.
  • In His Dark Materials', the Gyptians are apparently universally dark-haired, meaning that Lyra has to wear a hat at all times when hiding out with them, in case an enemy zeppelin should fly over and spot her blonde hair. This is thrown out in the TV show, where the Gyptians are ethnically-diverse (seeming to be a confederation of people united by a shared lifestyle rather than a homogeneous ethnic group) and Lyra has dark hair.
  • In The Hunger Games, most people in the Seam, the poorest part of District 12, look like Katniss and Gale: black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes. Mrs. Everdeen is from the merchant class so she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Her daughter, Prim, takes after her. Peeta, the baker's son, and Madge, the mayor's daughter, also have blonde hair.
  • The Isles Of Glory by Glenda Larke has this. Justified, because the people live on an archipelago with very strict citizenship rules and laws against interbreeding between islands. The main character is discriminated against because, not only does she not have a citizenship tattoo, her colouring makes it very obvious she's mixed. Green eyes are found exclusively on one island, and they don't go with dark hair and skin.
  • In the John Carter of Mars novels, there are three types of white-skinned Martians: blond-haired, bald, and red-haired. Justified in that each of them comes from obscure, introverted, and somewhat inbred city states on remote areas of Mars.
  • In the Mermaids trilogy, nearly all the merfolk of Tingle Reef have blond hair, blue eyes, and green tails. Only the adopted child Rani has red hair, brown eyes, and an orange tail. In Mermaid Magic, she meets the sea-witch Morva, who looks the same way she does and teaches Rani to use magic powers that the two of them have, but no one else does. In The Shell Princess, Morva and Rani travel to Morva's home town, where everyone looks like the two of them, in search of Rani's biological family.
  • In the Ravenloft novel Carnival of Fear, the circus freak protagonists eventually flee the city of l'Morai, leaving it to stew in its own Fantastic Racism. Denied genuine human oddities to play All of the Other Reindeer Games with, the inhabitants are implied to have turned on one another: in the epilogue, a boy with black hair is shown being chased and taunted by a gang of blond youths, as if his hair color were a grotesque deformity.
  • In Joy Chant's Red Moon Black Mountain, the races are divided by appearance, including an entire race of Dumb Blondes.
  • In Second Apocalypse, the five tribes of man all have very specific physical traits that are rarely, if ever, deviated from: the Norsirai are pale, blond and blue-eyed; the Scylvendi have black hair and blue eyes; the Ketyai have dark hair, skin and eyes; and the Sotyothi are black-skinned and green-eyed.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Several of the Great Houses are distinguished by their hair colour; Baratheons are jet black, Lannisters blonde, Tullys redheaded, Tyrells brunettes, etc. These seem to get passed down through at least dozens of generations. The genetics are so reliable that it becomes a crucial plot point.
    • Valyrian blood is noted for silver-white hair and purple eyes. Targaryens are most known for it, but other families with Valyrian ancestry, such as the Velaryons, also have traces. They are also prevalent in some parts of Essos, where the remnants of the Valyrian Freehold are located, such as the walled old town of Volantis (inhabited by families who can claim direct descent from the Valyrians) and the entirety of Lys.
    • In Dorne, you can tell how much Rhoynar blood a person has by their coloration. People along the coasts have the most and tend to be olive-skinned and dark haired. The farther inland you go, the more Andal blood people have, shown by their fairer skin and hair. The Daynes from inland Dorne are noted to have silvery-white hair and purple eyes like the Targaryens, except they don't seem to be descended from the Valyrians, which raises some questions.
    • The Ghiscari tend to have a strange combination of black and red hair, apparently something like that found in some dog coats.
  • In Swedish fantasy writer Anders Blixt's novel Spiran och staven (The Quarterstaff and the Sceptre), the Termali of the sophisticated Vidonia region have a Mediterranean look, i.e. tanned skin and brown eyes, whereas the Wealdings (forest barbarians) are pale-skinned and grey-eyed. The Wealdings even use the word "brown-eye-ing" when referring to a Termali person. The protagonist Fox, who is of mixed origins, has brown eyes, pale skin, and reddish hair, hence the nickname.
  • In Oscar Wilde's The Star Child, the eponymous child stands out among his adopted family and village because he is blond while they all have dark hair and eyes. Naturally, he turns out to be royalty.
  • This can be detected in Star Wars Legends. The Core Worlds were settled many thousands of years ago, before hyperdrive was invented; the settlers either died en route to colonization and had to raise and train their children, grandchildren, etc. to carry on the exploration after they were gone ("generation" ships) or had themselves frozen in carbonite to make themselves temporarily immortal during the many light-years of their journey ("sleeper" ships). As a result, Alderaan, Corellia, and the many other worlds colonized by the Human natives of Coruscant (or "Zhell", to use the anthropological term peculiar to the Star Wars galaxy) were genetically isolated for centuries or even millennia, giving rise to visibly different ethnic types: compare the swarthy appearance of the Corellian Han Solo with the fair hair and skin of most Coruscanti Imperials. Some of these people were isolated for so long that they descended into "barbarism" (the Dantari of Dantooine), became bitter enemies of their long-forgotten ancestors (the Tionese, who forgot that Coruscant and the Core Worlds even existed and treated their peoples as foreigners when they rediscovered them), or were so physically altered by their new planets' environments that they became freakishly inhuman in appearance (the blue-skinned Wroonians, rose-skinned Zeltrons, or tall, thin, rubbery Etti, for example).
  • The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson: Different countries have different hair colors. The Alethi have black hair, the Horneaters red (red is also common in Jah Keved because they often mix with the Horneater Peaks), the Iriali gold (not blonde, gold), and so on. The interesting thing is that the color breeds true according to how pure someone's bloodline is. Cross-breeding will result in hair with streaks of several colors. The son of an Alethi man and an Iriali might have golden blond hair with black streaks, for example, or vice versa. This also ironically means that the lowborn castes have purer hair that fits their nation's ideal of beauty; they have less opportunity to meet and marry foreigners.
  • Jennifer Robertson's Sword Dancer books have the sun-baked, semi-nomadic Southron race who live in the desert and the blond, fair-skinned Northerners who live in the mountains. Later, she expanded it to include a sort of dark-Caucasian islander race.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Time Lag", he plays with it, by making the inhabitants of Vaynamo blond, with blue eyes — that are also slanted.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Downplayed; various peoples have common phenotypes, but they are not uniform.
    • Among the Elves, the Vanyar, who mostly remained in Valinor and had little contact with Middle-Earth, had golden hair. The Noldor instead have primarily black and dark brown hair, except for the famously blond-haired House of Finarfin (inherited from a Vanya ancestress). The Teleri, meanwhile, have silvery-white hair.
    • The Lord of the Rings:
      • Hobbits divide themselves into three main breeds or tribes, one of which is named for their fair skin and hair: the Fallohides. Most hobbits have brown hair.
      • The Rohirrim tend to be blond, while the people of Gondor are chiefly dark-haired. Tolkien reverses the typical associations, with the blond-haired Rohirrim being "lesser men" compared to the dark-haired Númenóreans.note 
      • Many Easterlings or "Swarthy Men" have dark or sallow skin and dark hair, are allied with Sauron, and are long-time enemies of Gondor. They're joined by the dark-skinned and dark-haired Southron or Haradrim as enemies of the Free Peoples who oppose Sauron.
  • A minor example in Protector of the Small. The Tortall Universe is quite diverse (Tortall is a big place and its closest southern neighbor is based on North Africa), but one character near the northern border is rejected because he has blond hair and blue eyes like a Scanran, and Scanra is currently at war with Tortall.
  • Harry Turtledove:
    • War Between The Provinces is a fantasy retelling of the American Civil War in which the original inhabitants of the kingdom, who are blond, play the part of slaves to their dark-haired rulers.
    • In his Darkness Series, a fantasy retelling of World War II, the Jewish-analogues are also blonde haired.
  • All the Regalians in The Underland Chronicles have silver/blond hair.
  • Villainess Level 99: The protagonist Yumiella is a girl who died and reincarnated in a game world that is a mix of RPG and Otome game as a villainess who becomes its Superboss. The kingdom where Yumiella was reincarnated discriminates against black-haired people, such as Yumiela herself, because the Demon Lord that once threatened it had black hair.
  • The different Clans in Warrior Cats generally have certain fur colours. This is due to both natural selection and inbreeding. For example, ThunderClan cats typically have "earthy" colors like orange, brown, and tortoiseshell because they hunt voles and birds in the forest. There are exceptions, however, such as the white-furred Whitewing and Whitestorm. Firestar's housepet-born nephew Cloudtail received a lot of criticism growing up for his pure-white fur.
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time is full of these — notably, the tall strawberry blond Aiel and the short dark haired Cairhirenin. Jordan was effective in differentiating people based on geographical region, through appearance as well as speech patterns, dress, and customs.
  • In Andre Norton's Witch World, the Old Race of Estcarp (and formerly also of Karsten) are uniformly black-haired and pale skinned; their allies, the sea-going Sulcar, are blond. The people of High Hallack across the sea, whose ancestors came through a Cool Gate, are pale-skinned but usually have brown or blond hair, occasionally with a reddish tint.
  • The Wicked Years: It's mentioned that the Gillikinese tend to have broad foreheads, blond curls, and slightly gapped front teeth.
  • The Summer King Chronicles: A gryfons breed is distinguished by their coloring: dragon-blooded Aesir come in reds, golds, oranges, and greens, Vanir come in greys, whites, browns, and blacks, and Dawn Spire Aesir come in greys, whites, browns, blacks, and shades of red.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Angel, Lorne's species (technically known as Deathwoks) all have long red hair to go along with their green scaly skin. Lorne's hairstyle is comparatively shorter than his kinsmen, giving the impression of highlighting his brown roots; it's all-natural, though.
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, every member of the Trost family has naturally pink hair. It turns out to be an indication that the world they inhabit, Wendimoor, is actually the creation of a psychic child with the ability to make his fantasies become reality.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the classic series, the two races on Skaro seem to be defined by hair colour — the warrior-race Thals are uniformly blond (mostly straight), and the scientific Kaleds have brown hair (mostly curly). The new series seems to have abandoned this; in "The Magician's Apprentice", several Kaleds appear, one of whom is played by a black actor, and the other is a boy with straight, light brown or dark blond hair.
    • "The Keys of Marinus" features a variation on this trope. Hair colour on the planet Marinus appears to be determined by gender, with males being dark-haired and females being blonde. No-one comments on Barbara and Susan being dark-haired females, though.
    • In "The Dominators", the dark-haired Dominators from Drahb conquer many worlds and try to enslave the pacifist blond Dulcians from Dulkis.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • This becomes a major plot point in Season 1 when the Baratheons' dominant tendency to black hair is enough to raise (perfectly correct) doubts about the parentage of King Robert Baratheon's three blond children with Cersei Lannister, as the Lannisters are jerkass blonds.
    • Platinum-white hair is the most distinctive feature of the Targaryen bloodline which is maintained through centuries of Brother–Sister Incest.
      • It's also true for any noble house from Old Valyria, as seen in House of the Dragon. Not only do the Targaryen have them as expected, but so do the Velaryons.
    • The trope is also subverted by families like the Starks, who are all shades: Ned, Arya, and Bran are brown; Jon Snow is black; Catelyn, Sansa, and Robb are red or reddish-brown; and Rickon is dark blond.
  • This was a common trope on Star Trek: The Original Series. In one of many examples, the Cargo Cult tribe in "The Apple" had deep tans and silver/white bouffant hairdos.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): Loial recognizes Rand as being an Aielman instantly by his red hair, as it's a distinct trait they have, despite Rand's denying being Aiel.

  • A Vocaloid song series Evillious Chronicles, particularly in The Story of Evil makes several mentions of the Green Country, the people's defining aspect being thick green hair. Became a point of Fantastic Racism in "Daughter of White": the singer is a social outcast due to having white hair instead of green, and survives the Green Country's massacre because the Princess of Evil ordered that everyone with green hair be executed.

  • Long-after-the-fact depictions of the Saxons and the Normans after the conquest make the Saxons blond and the Normans dark-haired. Robin Hood is typically blond, and when Maid Marian is a Norman, as in The Adventures of Robin Hood, she is dark-haired.
  • In Prose Edda, all members of the Niflung clan have "hair as black as ravens".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons seems to take yet another cue from Tolkien here. The various elf "subraces" (including the distinct Drow) have hair color and skin tone determined by their elven ethnicity (with a wider range of pigments than humans). Conversely, humans in the D&D universe seem much more integrated and ethnically homogenized.
  • The Mystara setting's Dawn of the Empires boxed set explored this trope a good deal, with humans from different regions of imperial Thyatis and Alphatia having distinctive ethnic phenotypes as well as cultural quirks:
    • Those ancient Alphatians who immigrated from another world included both pale-skinned and copper-skinned ethnic stock, with intolerant subgroups within each of these choosing to remain "pure" and not marry the other; the majority of Alphatians, however, consider ethnic bigotry secondary to anti-Muggle Fantastic Racism.
    • Thyatis, and its former territory of Karameikos, subvert this trope by being host to many ethnically-mixed families.
    • In the Hollow World, the Spell of Preservation tends to maintain populations' distinct physical traits across the generations. Even though intermarriage goes on, it's implied that descendants of such mixed pairings eventually breed their way back into one or the other parent ethnicity, eventually causing all "foreign" traits to vanish over time.
  • Warhammer's Elves fit this trope to a significant extent. All three of the elven "races" are uniformly tall and pale-skinned, but most High Elves tend to have light blond hair, almost all Dark Elves have pure black hair and the Wood Elves have a mixture of blonds, blacks, browns and quite a lot of auburn. These colourations most likely reflect something of the moral characters of the kindreds — the High Elves being noble and good, the Dark Elves vicious and evil, and the Wood Elves capricious and mercurial, tending at times to embody both extremes. It is, of course, possible to paint elf miniatures with whatever hair colours one likes however. In contrast to the Elves, Warhammer's humans tend to be just as varied as their real-world counterparts, and no specific hair colouring predominates.

    Video Games 
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm: The people of Tumblr all have unnatural hair colors.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the NES version of Final Fantasy, each town had its own uniform hair color and clothing color, due to graphical limitations.
    • Lunarians in Final Fantasy IV all have white hair... although the 3D version Jossed this by depicting Posthumous Character Kluya as having black hair.
    • In Final Fantasy X, the heavily discriminated-against Al Bhed race all possess blond hair and green eyes with spiral pupils. The half-Al Bhed Yuna has mousy brown hair and one green eye (with a round pupil). The only blond non-Al Bhed character we encounter is Tidus, who may get away with it as his hair is obviously dyed.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, about half of the members of the Selkie tribe, including all four major characters from that tribe, have red hair. Most of the other Selkies have blond hair. No non-Selkie with red hair exists in the game, so red hair is pretty much a "red flag" alerting you that a character is a Selkie. Blond hair, however, leaves an individual's tribe ambiguous; the protagonist has blond hair and is not a Selkie.
  • Similar to Final Fantasy, this occurred in the first-generation Pokémon games to some extent. Yellow had it so that each town was the color of its name (as all of the towns were named after colors). This also happened to the black-and-white Red and Blue, but only when played on the Super Game Boy and Pokémon Stadium; on colorized handhelds, the entire game was made either red or blue, depending on the version.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has redheaded Pheraeans, blonde Etrurians, and green-haired nomadic Sacaens. The former is notable since the the Heroine, Lyndis has bluish-green hair due to her Caelin mother and Sacaen father. May also count as Phenotype Stereotype
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, there is a more realistic version of this: you can tell where most people are from due to their hair color; most people from Jehanna are redheads, and a number of former Grado residents are blonde. However, just as many people are black/blue/green-haired, with varying countries of origin.
  • While black hair is not unique to them, the metaphorical Jewish stand-ins the Darcsens of Valkyria Chronicles all share it and are most commonly identified by that (given the games' simple manga style).
  • Depending on your interpretation of canon within the Chrono Trigger series, the people of the flying Kingdom of Zeal could qualify. They all have blue/purple hair, while the Earthbound Ones of the same era all have earth tones as their hair colors.
  • The Legend of Zelda features Hylians as the equivalent of normal humans, and they have the variety of hair, eye, and skin colors you would expect. The Sheikah and the Gerudo are also humanlike, but they are distinguished from Hylians by having white hair and red eyes for the Sheikah and red hair and yellow eyes for the Gerudo (though Breath of the Wild introduced a bit more variety for both).
  • Ogre Battle 64: The two people, Indigans and Aurics, are differentiated by hair colors. Aurics are primarily blond, while Indigans have blue, purple and black hair.
  • Yandere Simulator: The students in the Drama Club are marked by their purple hair.
  • The Roselle of Triangle Strategy are known for their natural pink hair.

  • In Wake The Sleepers, light hair marks out a distinctive race.
  • In The Meek, the Carissi people uniformly have blond hair, the Pasori have dark hair, and the Santri have a wider range but tend towards brownish-red.
  • In No Songs For The Dead, all Lilim have blonde hair, like their mother Lilith.
  • In Unsounded Alderode has a caste system that divides people by hair color. People there are strongly suggested to marry within their own caste, preserving the visual distinction. Word of God says that "if the castes are mixed — which is forbidden and hence rare — placement follows a certain formula, always trending towards the Bronze caste."
  • Downplayed in Drowtales where almost all drow have naturally white hair that they frequently dye in their clan colors, making this an Invoked Trope, but played straighter with their ancestors the Dark Elves, who often showed clear patterns among the different regions in terms of natural hair color. Purple seems to be most common among those from Sharess' original kingdom, blue for the Sullisin, black for the Phariastans and blue-green for those from Zharbi, who became the Sharen, Sullisin'rune, Beldrobbaen/Balvhakara and Illhar'dro respectively once they moved to the underworld.
  • Star Power: As seen before, the Evebians have green hair, and, as seen here, they're called "grassheads" by the purple-haired people they're trying to exterminate.
  • All of the Ten Great Families from Tower of God act on this principle. Being a clan with members that are immortal, it leads to thousands of direct descendants inheriting the hair colors of the clan leaders (i.e Arie family members are white/silver haired, the Khun clan has powder blue hair and eyes, etc.), although there are rare exceptions. Guides and Dwarves are also noted for their distinct hair colors, the former being nicknamed "Red Witches" and the latter being nicknamed "White Dwarves".
  • The Order of the Stick: Azurites have hair colors that are either black or varying shades of blue. Word of God says the blue hair is their natural hair color.

    Web Original 
  • The Serendipity ethnicity generator works on a similar principle, where the generated ethnicity has one hair color (or a narrow range) and one (or at most two) eye colors, in addition to skin tone and quirks of physique. A milder version of this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars retcons the Mandalorians into a Nordic-looking people, always blonde with blue eyes. Later episodes show a few dark-haired people, but in group shots of the populace everyone is blond.

    Real Life 
  • In some countries of the world where the majority of the population is light-or at least brown-skinned, this trope is actually Truth in Television.
    • For instance, the Russian word "cherniy" (which means "black"), when used to describe a person, actually refers to black-haired people, especially Caucasians (who, while somewhat tan, are still, well, Caucasian), rather than Sub-Saharan Africans, who are called negry (the word "Negro"/"negr", while somewhat rude, is generally considered to be socially acceptable in Russia (much more so then "cherniy", in fact)), or if one wishes to sound more politically correct, afrikantsy ("Africans"), or chernokozhie (black-skined). "Light" or "fair" too usually mean "blonde" rather than "white" in Russian.
    • Similarly, references to the "Black Irish" refers not to skin colour, but to particular sections of the Irish who live mainly in the Western part of the country who have much darker hair than most of the population, with one popular (but at this point mostly debunked) theory suggests the Black Irish are descendants of survivors of the Spanish Armada. Another theory, especially among the people themselves, is that it's an indication of more pure Gaelic ancestry, since light coloured hair is generally considered an indication of Viking or Norman ancestry.
      • On that note is the historical terms Dubgaill and Finngaill ( the black & fair foreigners) applied to different groups of viking (and Norman) invaders. It was long believed that these referred to the appearance (or clothing) of certain groups of vikings, perhaps indicating different origins like one being from Norway and the other from Denmark. Today these terms are thought to actually mean the new and the old foreigners.
    • The same applies on the British mainland, where the word "dark" has historically been used to refer to people with dark hair and dark eyes, who usually fall under a more mundane version of Raven Hair, Ivory Skin. The theory runs that, as in Ireland, those with dark hair and dark eyes are descended predominantly from native Britons from prior to the Saxon invasions, or from the Normans. While it appears less these days than it once did, descriptions in Britain still tend to clarify whether they're referring to skin colour or not, where elsewhere it might be assumed that "dark" was referring to skin colour.
    • In Iron Age Scandinavia a person being "black" or "red" referred to their hair color, rather than race.
  • American wigmakers, who historically used real hair (donated by sick or already balding people) in their trade, once placed a premium on blond hair, and therefore highly prized hair taken from residents of the Great Lakes states (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota) because of a concentration of German, Dutch or Scandinavian ethnic markers in that region. Of course, blond hair can now be found just about anywhere in America, especially since (as a result of the Punk Rock subculture especially) hair-dyeing has become so simple to perform and prevalent.
  • Ancient Greek Philosophers divided humanity into three major groups. "Black", "White", and "Yellow". The latter referred to northerners and is often translated as "Blondes".

Alternative Title(s): People Of Hair Colour