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Shaking Her Hair Loose

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Or, in this case, his.

Imagine this picture: a woman with her hair tied up in and held in place only with a pin or some kind of stick, usually as a Prim and Proper Bun. (Or a Glasses-and-Ponytail Coverup.) She pulls it out of her hair and shakes it out, allowing it to fall down freely. This is sometimes accompanied by a Dramatic Wind.

This trope is usually part of a romantic scene or something dramatic, though it is also frequently parodied. The woman will usually be dressed up to the nines, and letting her hair out of its fancy updo is often the first step towards her undressing for her lover. Or attacking someone with the Combat Haircomb that held up her hair. A lot of the time this woman will have beautiful long hair, but the hair just needs to be long enough to tie up, so past the shoulders at the shortest.

Compare Letting Her Hair Down when a woman is shown wearing her hair down or looser to show how she's relaxing as a character, and Slipknot Ponytail when the hair gradually becomes undone on its own. Sometimes overlaps with Beautiful All Along. Could be seen as a sister trope to the Important Haircut without any actual hair cutting. If it's done for Fanservice then it'll usually be accompanied by a Hair Flip. It's also not uncommon to have this happen during a striptease.


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  • This is frequently used in feminine hair care product (shampoo, dye, etc.) commercials, usually enhanced with CGI to produce unnaturally perfect-looking shimmering cascades of flowing liquid beauty.

    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Background Noise plays this trope very straight:
    He was on the point of doing something—he soon lost any idea as to what—when she unpinned her hair. Somehow, in spite of the state of dishevelment she was already in, this was more graphic, more erotic than anything she had done before. He watched her hair fall in waves down her back, realising he had not known until this point, even how long it was. He knew that whatever else happened he would see her hair fall like that every time he closed his eyes for the rest of his life. She had let him see her breasts but she had not let him see her with her hair loose.
  • Parodied in Farce of the Three Kingdoms, when Guan Yu shakes his beard loose (to prove his identity).

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel wears her hair tied up in a bun whenever she is on dry land, symbolizing how much more stern and strict she is. When Triton transforms her back into a mermaid, her hair comes undone and falls loose freely. After the ordeal is over, Ariel is shown wearing her hair down as a human to reflect her change in character.
  • Mulan:
    • Happens at the end of the "Reflection" song where Mulan slowly removes all traces of the makeover she got for her meeting with the Matchmaker.
    • Chi Fu forcefully pulls Mulan's hair out of its bun when he reveals she is a woman.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Darling Lili has a song called "I'll Give You Three Guesses", where the titular Lili sings sweetly about how she's falling in love. After discovering her beau may be cheating, it gets a Dark Reprise to become a striptease - complete with Lili shaking her hair loose. It's notably symbolic of her cutting loose.
  • A variation in Heartbreakers when Paige/Wendy is revealed to be Max's daughter she pulls off her red wig and shakes her natural brown hair loose.
  • Gen takes the Ice Princess, Casey, to a party without telling her where they were going. Gen tells her that it's okay that she's not dressed for a party as long as she shakes the hair loose.
  • Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part II unpins her (very) long hair before leaning in to kiss Daniel after conducting a private tea ceremony.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1 where a plain dowdy woman unties her hair and when she looks up she's played by a completely different actress.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Eowyn, who was disguised as a man, confronts the Nazgul, who says "No man can kill me." She takes her helmet off, revealing her hair, and says "I am no man."
  • At the end of The Magdalene Sisters Bernadette sees two nuns watching her in the tunnel and, remembering when her hair was forcibly cut off, takes out the pin and shakes it loose before looking at them.
  • In the Disney Channel movie Model Behaviour, Alex always wears her hair up in a tight bun held in place with two chopsticks. When she and Janine switch the first part of her transformation is shaking her hair out. This then gets inverted when Janine changes to Alex as she puts her hair up.
  • In Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) Jane goes to see a mark pretending to be a prostitute with her hair pinned up. The first part of the seduction is shaking her hair out.
  • Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants after she steps out to spend time with Kostas to show that she's now open to love.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Agent Triple X tucked her hair up under a cap to try to hide from the villains—until one of the minions knocked the cap off and her hair swirled down around her.
  • Titanic (1997). Rose's hair is already partly loose, but she takes the rest down and shakes it out in preparation for her nude painting scene.
  • At the end of Twilight, we see Victoria watching Edward and Bella through a window, all dressed up. As she walks away she pulls a pin out of her hair and lets it fall to her waist.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Diana shakes her hair free while donning her circlet before entering No-Man's Land. A soldier is shown gaping at her in astonishment, then stumbles back as if thrown aside by the sheer force of her hair!

  • Perenelle from The Alchemyst series is introduced with her hair tied back in a long plait. She shakes it loose whenever she performs magic.
  • Granny Weatherwax takes out the pins securing her long silver hair in a tight bun and shakes it out, underlining her qualifications before taking on a unicorn.
    • Angua does the same thing earlier in the series, in Men At Arms, removing her helmet and suggesting that she, Cuddy, and Detritus all go get a drink. Notably, it has an effect, despite the fact that dwarves default to assuming that other dwarves are male and usually compliment a silky beard, and that trolls are made of rock. Yet, apparently, it's enough to "scrape some sparks off some ancient, shared, cosmic maleness."
  • In The Famine Secret, Fiona's long blonde hair is cut off when she enters the workhouse and when it grows longer, she keeps it tied back so it won't get in the way. When she and her siblings escape the workhouse and go back to their home, she unties her hair and allows the wind to blow it around her shoulders.
  • Della from "The Gift of the Magi" is said to have hair right down to her waist but keeps it pinned up all the time. She lets it down dramatically just before it gets cut off to be sold.
  • In the poem The Highwayman, Bess the landlord's daughter leans out over the window and undoes her hair, allowing it to fall down so her lover can touch it.
  • This marks part of Jo's introduction in Little Women, as the four sisters are waiting for their mother to come home. Meg reminds Jo that she's now old enough to wear her hair up, which makes her a lady. Jo, who is the tomboy to Meg's girly-girl, angrily replies that if wearing her hair up makes her a lady, "I'll wear it in two tails 'til I'm twenty." As she says this, she pulls off her hair net and shakes down her long, flyaway chestnut hair.
  • Some versions of "Rapunzel" say that Rapunzel's long golden hair is braided 90% of the time, and it's only untied when Mother Gothel or the prince climb up it. The Disney version has Rapunzel's hair completely loose all the time, returning to being a braid only when she and Flynn briefly return to her home kingdom before Gothel captures her again.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Go Fish", Buffy pulls a small stake out of her hair and shakes it loose as she prepares to fight Angelus, who mockingly responds, "Why, Ms. Summers! You're beautiful!".
  • In Call the Midwife, when the young nurses go off to a dance in the first series Sister Bernadette wistfully watches them go, then returns to her room, removes her veil and cap, and unpins her hair, letting it fall around her shoulders, obviously reflecting on the sacrifices she's made for her calling and wondering what might have been if she'd not taken holy orders. This is very early foreshadowing (the fourth episode of the programme!) of her storyline in the second series, where she's torn between her vows and her love for Dr Turner.
  • Cheers got Frasier and Lilith together with this trope. Diane asked Sam, then Dr. Sternin, for something to unstick the refrigerator door — like a hairpin. "Don't you see what these two people — who are such geniuses at romance - are trying to do is to get you to take your hair down thinking that it will stimulate me like some Pavlovian dog. So why don't you just oblige them get this silliness over with so we can get on with our lives," says Dr. Crane. Lilith unpins the tightest hair bun in professional psychology. "You mean like this?" Beat. "Precisely."
  • Community: Annie starts the show as a rather prim schoolgirl with her hair pulled back by a hairband. In one scene, she leans over Jeff and asks him to look at something, at the same time she brushes her hair loose and unwittingly gives him an excellent view of her cleavage. He visibly reacts to her sudden transformation into a desirable woman. This is the first moment of sexual tension between the two.
  • Doctor Who: Amy Pond does this to show the Doctor she's not a policewoman, just a gorgeous redhead in a kissogram outfit.
  • Degrassi parodies this when Holly J shakes her hair out in a failed seduction attempt.
  • An episode of Friends has Ross and Monica's cousin Cassie shaking her hair loose in slow motion, prompting a sagging jaw from Chandler, Ross forgetting he's related to her and even Phoebe getting turned on.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Offred does this before having sex with Nick. (Handmaids must wear bonnets at all times.)
  • In one of Barney's Imagine Spots in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, he seduces a female cop and she proceeds to shake her hair out of its bun and strip for him.
  • A quasi-parody happens in the Murder Mystery episode of Lizzie McGuire when Larry starts chatting up Veruca, both of them dressed in Edwardian-era clothes. Veruca shakes her hair down as some faux dramatic music plays.
  • MADtv (1995): Season 1 featured a skit starring German supermodel Claudia Schiffer as Jane Bond. While working undercover as an office temp, she takes out the pin that was holding up her blonde hair (complete with a dramatic slow-motion shot as her hair cascades down) upon her introduction towards the villainous Dr. Boss and her assistant, Part-Time Job.
  • Saved by the Bell: Towards the end of the Season 2 episode "From Nurse to Worse", Nurse Jennifer invites Zack into her office. Upon seeing him, Jennifer is sporting a Prim and Proper Bun, for which she immediately discards after she tells Zack that it's warm in the room.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Someone To Watch Over Me", the Emergency Medical Hologram encourages Seven of Nine to do this while preparing her for a date. He's visibly entranced by the results.
  • In True Blood, Bill asks Sookie to take the clip out of her hair and shake it free before their first kiss.
  • Parodied in an episode of Tucker where Tucker imagines his parents getting together in a dramatic scene without dialogue. Jeannie first takes her hairclip out and shakes her hair loose before ripping off her waitress uniform to reveal a fancy dress underneath.

  • Rachel Steven's song "Some Girls" is about a woman attempting to seduce a man to get what she wants and one of the lines is "I'm gonna shake my hair out loose".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Brooke Adams does this as part of her entrance in TNA, accompanied with dramatically removing her glasses and her coat.
  • When Michelle McCool had her sexy teacher gimmick she would sometimes come out with her hair in a bun and held in place with a pencil, only to pull it out and shake it loose when she started wrestling.
  • Similarly, Molly Holly in her WCW Miss Madness gimmick wore her blonde hair in a posh updo to fit her beauty pageant gimmick but when she wrestled she would dramatically undo her hair and shake it free.
  • Tamina Snuka once pulled her hair out of its pigtails and shook it out before going to the top rope to deliver a Superfly Splash.
  • Wrestlicious has Paige Webb come out with glasses on and her hair up in a bun. Before she wrestles, she removes the glasses and shakes her hair loose.
  • Inverted by Bayley, instead of shaking her hair loose before a big move, she tightens her ponytail.

    Video Games 
  • Zack first sees Cloud's face in Crisis Core in a shot of him taking off his helmet and shaking out his iconic hairstyle. Since his hair isn't long and flowing but a hilarious, exaggerated Anime Hair 'do, the effect isn't exactly romantic.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase dramatically removing her hair tie underscores how Sarah sees Nanase as being more awesome than her at everything she knows of.
  • Near the end of Homestuck's Act 5, Part 2, the Handmaid lets her hair down right before strifing with Doc Scratch. This is because her primary weapons—a pair of wands—doubled as the pins holding her hair bun in place.
  • In The Overture Richard pulls the pin out of Janis Lashway's bun, revealing her long hair. The first step before the two make love.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "Road to Rhode Island", Lois convinces Peter to watch some couples counseling with her, hosted by a mousy relationship doctor named Dr. Amanda Rebecca. After a few seconds, Dr. Rebecca asks the women to leave the room, as the next part only pertains to the men. When Lois departs, Dr. Rebecca tells Peter to "make sure your wife is out of the room" in a slightly more forceful tone. She then removes her glasses, shakes her hair bun loose in a dramatic (but sexy) fashion, starts speaking in a huskier voice (with her first line being "So, you wanna talk, or do you want me to take my top off?"), and gives Peter quite the eyeful with a striptease as a Sexophone plays. Her eyes even (in a rare Western Animation example) shift from Tareme to Tsurime. It turns out that these "relationship videos" are merely a front for Amanda to distribute pornographic videos of herself. Needless to say, Peter's on board with these videos.
  • In Sabrina: The Animated Series the witches cast a spell on their strict new Nanny who wears her hair in a prim and proper bun. When the spell turns her into a hippie, she unties the bun and reveals she has long long hair.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in Marge's novel The Harpooned Heart; the book's heroine wears her hair under a bonnet but her lover pulls it off and lets it out. Since she has Marge's hairstyle, instead of falling down it shoots up.
    • Played straight in "Last Tap Dance in Springfield" with Lisabella, the librarian.
    • Parodied again with Comic Book Guy. When he's haggling for some merchandise, he offers to throw in his "man-scrunchie". Once removed, cue Sexophone and Slo-Mo Hair Flip.


Video Example(s):


Cousin Cassie's Hair

Cassie shaking her hair in slow-mo always ends up attracting someone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShakingHerHairLoose

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