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Skunk Stripe

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Because you're worth it... and made out of dissected body parts.

"Holy shit! That girl has a skunk on her head!...oh, that's just your hair. Sorry, but that's messed up."
Agent Kelly, Josie and the Pussycats

A character has dark hair, with a distinct white or lighter-colored streak running through it.

Often, this is the result of some exposure to magic or other Applied Phlebotinum, or possibly a sign that they're genetically inclined towards awesome. Sometimes, it comes from a scar or other trauma; in these cases, there is overlap with Disease Bleach and Locked into Strangeness. And sometimes, it can just mean they're a rotten person.

In real life, it's a phenotype occasionally associated with a number of unrelated genetic defects. It can also be the result of injury to the scalp. There's a scientific term for this, it's called poliosis. It's also sometimes a result of the natural aging process.

A subtrope of Multicolored Hair. Actual skunks are, of course, assumed to have this style. See also Duality Motif if the skunk stripe displays two sides of a character's personality.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Akiba's Trip: A dead giveaway on someone being possessed by the Bugged Ones. The bigger the stripe, the stronger they are.
  • Takuto from Argento Soma gets white streaks on his left side, not to mention facial scars on his cheeks (badass) and eyelids (a beautiful gray shade), courtesy of an experiment gone horribly wrong (trying to bring to life a creature pieced together from various destroyed aliens that have been plaguing the planet may not be a good idea). He keeps these scars despite the availability of plastic surgery, because of the guilt he had over his inability to save his girlfriend from said creature, so it seemed. Turns out, said creature, later called Frank, was trying to save her from the crumbling building, but he was too late.
  • The first time Guts uses the Berserker's Armor in Berserk, he gets a white streak in his hair.
  • In Black Jack, Dr. Black Jack sports a large white streak through his hair thanks to an accident that effectively blew half of his face off. He got better.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass has a red one in the rock band AU.
  • Onna from Death Parade has a white streak in her bangs. It's so far unknown if this is natural or not, but it certainly makes her stand out among the regular humans that enter the bar in which she works. It is apparently natural, despite the other characters having average hair colours, as Chiyuki even has it in childhood flashbacks. Her parents lack the stripe as well.
  • The Dirty Pair Flash version of Kei has a blonde forelock and is otherwise a redhead.
  • Shobu from Duel Masters. One enemy even calls him "Skunk-bu."
  • Marco from Eyeshield 21 has a lightning-shaped skunk stripe running through his slicked back brown hair.
  • Hughes from Fairy Tail has an apparently natural white streak. However, this isn't his/her most noticeable feature.
  • Food Wars!: Azami Nakiri has black hair, with a white bang slicked back across the upper right side of his head.
  • In Futaba-kun Change!, the Mad Scientist Koujiro triplets and Futaba's fiancée Kurin have white streaks in their hair. Kurin seems to have inherited hers from her mother.
  • Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill has a red stripe in her otherwise black hair. It's made out of Life Fibers.
  • In the Monster Collection manga, summoners often have hair like this. Apparently, it happens when the summoned creature dies, because of Synchronization.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • In Go! Princess Pretty Cure, Cure Flora, Mermaid and Twinkle have different color stripes in their transformed states' bangs - Flora has pink on her blonde hair, Mermaid has purple on her blue hair and Twinkle has red in her orange-red hair.
    • In Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode, Cure Chocolat has a brown stripe in her red hair.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Death the Kid has multiple white streaks in his black hair. Interestingly enough (and occasionally Lampshaded), the streaks are aligned horizontally across his hair, rather than running along vertically. Specifically stated to be a result of his grim reaper father mystically coloring or recoloring his hair for the Rule of Cool. Unfortunately for Kid, he is Super OCD and absolutely obsessed with symmetry, so the stripes are a constant source of chagrin for him; on the plus side, the manga has revealed that, eventually, Kid will have three complete stripes in his hair. It's a grown-up death god thing.
    • Asura also has white streaks in his hair which are aligned in pairs vertically to look like eyes.
  • Several of the girls in Uma Musume have a white streak through their bangs, most notably protagonist Special Week. This is meant to imitate the facial markings of the real horses that inspired them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: The main character Yusei has two yellow thunder-shaped strikes on both side of his head, while his hair is otherwise black.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuzu has two pink stripes on her bangs while the rest of her hair is red/magenta.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe
    • The jury's still out on how Rogue of the X-Men got hers (she's even called "skunk hair" by some punks in an episode of X-Men: Evolution!). Some sources say it came with the very first use of her powers. Some say it was from the absorption of her more conventional superpowers. A letter column from Marvel once stated it was dyed in. That was printed in the 1980s and may no longer be valid; then again, the white will go down the middle of her hair one month, then be just a few bangs the next... Meanwhile, the character's more recent solo title depicts her as simply being born with the white streak. And there has been no story set in the past that showed her without one or two white streaks.
      • In her earliest appearance, it looked like age. She looked like she could have been quite older than she was originally decided to be, though it could have been Beauty Equals Goodness (she was not a nice girl when we first met her, enjoying villainy a lot more than the "poor sweet innocent manipulated by Mystique" version of her backstory seen nowadays.)
      • The first of the three movies pins it on forced overuse of Magneto's power after she was hooked to the life-draining mutancy machine. She admits that she likes how it looks, but in the second film, Magneto and Mystique taunt her by saying "We love what you did with your hair".
      • And according to quite a bit of questionable fanart, said "stripe" extends to more than just what's on her head...
    • Nate Grey, another X-Man, also has white in his otherwise light brown hair, which is explicitly referred to as a 'skunk-stripe'. When Cable, his 616 counterpart, physically regressed to his teenage years, it became clear that this was a natural development. Amusingly enough, he was Like Brother and Sister with Rogue, who was one of the few people who he actually trusted.
    • Nocturne also has a streak of white hair. This is a stylistic choice, however: her original hairstyle, with the braids, lacked it. She gained the skunk stripe as part of her New Excalibur makeover.
    • Sunspot, as of New Avengers (2015), has a streak of white in his otherwise black hair. This is the result of an illness causing his mutant power to go haywire and ageing him prematurely whenever he uses it.
    • Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four has been portrayed with greying temples in just about every iteration of the character; mostly to indicate his age.
    • Nick Fury has them, too, in the same color scheme as Reed's.
      • Both Reed and Nick appear to be just greying at the temples, which most males of a certain age can tell you is Truth in Television. Since Fury was Sgt. Fury in World War II he's got to be at least 90 by now, so even with the anti-aging formula he uses a little grey is to be expected.
    • As does Doctor Strange, though his tend to sit higher on his head (depending on the artist/colorist) and suggest weird power more than age.
    • The Red She-Hulk inverts this, with black hair with two stripes of red hair running through it, enhancing her similarity to a demon.
    • Victoria Hand has dyed pink locks running down either side of her hair. It's a visual cue as to her individuality and sexuality if anything.
    • All-New Ghost Rider has Robbie Reyes, who has a white streak in his hair that plays into his flames motif. Interestingly, he has it before becoming a Ghost Rider.
    • Songbird, in the Thunderbolts, has red (or pink) streaks in white hair.
    • Jericho Drumm, a.k.a. Brother Voodoo, has white hair at the crown of his head and black elsewhere. Coupled with dreadlocks.
    • In Ms. Marvel (2014), the unfortunate Skunk Girl, who has been given, basically, skunk powers by the superpower-granting Terrigen mists (and didn't want them at all), gets this hairstyle as one side-effect. As Ms. Marvel notes, it's the one part of the deal which is kind of cool.
    • Tarantula from Heroes for Hire has a red streak in her otherwise black hair.
  • DC Universe
    • In the DC Universe, resurrection in a Lazarus Pit always causes a white streak, though some people (like the Riddler) hide it with dye. As a result, Ra's Al-Ghul has two thin streaks of gray in his black hair — it's hinted that he keeps them because he likes how they looks. This is kept in all his incarnations. It even became a sort of Foreshadowing in a Batman Beyond episode in which "Talia" lets Bruce try the Lazarus pits, and she remarks that Young!Old!Bruce's similar greying pattern is "Quite dignified"; Bruce also gets the stripe in Superman & Batman: Generations when Ra's convinces him to use the Pit.
    • Jason Todd sports his own stripe after his resurrection in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
    • The Batman villain Ten-Eyed-Man has a large streak of white in his black hair.
    • Roxy "Freefall" Spaulding of Gen¹³ is a brunette with pinkish-purple forelocks.
    • Superman:
      • Perry White has worn one for as long as he's existed. He's one of the most iconic wearers of the stripe.
      • Older versions of Superman.
      • The Post-Crisis replacement for the Golden Age version in the All-Star Squadron sequel series The Young All-Stars, "Iron" Munro, has a white stripe on the top part of his black hair.
    • Green Lantern
      • Older versons of Hal Jordan have white/grey streaks at their temples. The mainstream version of the character also had them for a while. Originally, it was supposed to be age, later retconned as a premature stress induced greying brought on by Parallax (Infection by a being of pure fear turning his hair white) and fixed when he was resurrected.
      • Repeated, complete with a true Skunk Stripe along the middle, when Kyle Rayner becomes Parallax.
    • Both Jason Blood and the original Jim Corrigan had/have a white Skunk Stripe on dark auburn hair. In both cases, it's from exposure to Powers Greater Than Mortal Man — but at opposite ends of the spectrum (Blood is bonded to the Demon Etrigan, while Corrigan was the host for The Spectre). AFAIK, they never showed up in the same scene.
    • Abigail Arcane from Swamp Thing inverts this — black streaks on white hair.
    • The version of Eurydice in The Sandman has Abigail's hairstyle, but with white streaks on black hair.
    • Domino, a recurring Femme Fatale from the Evanier/Spiegle run of Blackhawk, has black hair with a prominent white streak.
    • Lyle Foccart, the second Invisible Kid in Legion Of Superheroes has a white stripe down the centre of his hair. Originally, this was caused by an encounter with Darkseid, but in the Reboot Legion, flashbacks show he had it from a very early age.
    • Crime Syndicate member Superwoman had a streak of white in her black hair during her Pre-Crisis appearances.
    • Dr. Victoria October from Detective Comics (Rebirth) has one.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • The White Magician, the villain who killed Artemis in Wonder Woman (1987), has two wide stripes of white atop his otherwise brunette head.
      • Wonder Woman (1942): Supporting character Lao Chen has a white stripe behind his ears to show his age.
    • Batman Black and White: In "The Black and White Bandit", Roscoe Chiara has plain black hair in the flashback to before his life-changing accident, but in the present day he has two white stripes in his hair, extending to matching stripes in his beard.
  • The eponymous character of XIII has a grey streak on his left temple where a bullet grazed him pre-amnesia.
  • The original John Gaunt incarnation of Grimjack had this, which seemed unrelated to his trademark scar. A clone body he inhabits later also has it, so it seems to be genetic.
  • Hunter Rose, the original Grendel, has this, and later Grendels tend to develop them as they become increasingly overcome by the role.
  • Knives Chau of Scott Pilgrim dyes a pink one into her bangs, but during her encounter with the Clash at Demonhead, Lynette punches her so hard that the stripe is literally knocked out of her hair. It's blue in the movie. In both cases, Knives is trying to emulate Ramona's current look to try and catch Scott's attention again.
  • Francine Peters in Strangers in Paradise has one for a while after the plane crash.
  • In X-Wing Rogue Squadron, Imperial spymaster Ysanne Isard combines Skunk Stripe with heterochromia.
  • In Pocket God, Moon has a blue stripe on her large bang and Kinsee has a pink stripe on her ponytail.
  • Madame Dominique in the Vampirella story "The Resurrection of Papa Voudou" has a big white stripe in her black hair.
  • Astrid Mueller has one in Clean Room, at least in the present. It helps differentiate the flashbacks to her teenage past.

    Fan Works 
  • In Tomorrow's Doom, Aiko is deaf in her left ear, and has a white stripe on the left side of her hair to match it.
  • Kill la Kill fics:
    • True to canon, Ryuuko in Kill la Kill AU has a red streak (or patch, depending on her hairstyle at the time) of red in her otherwise black hair. Similarly, Satsuki was shown with streaks of grey in hair, however, one of them is dyed blue and the rest are dyed black.
    • Satsuki in The Mysterious Lady Kiryuuin has black hair with a very prominent gray, almost white, streak in it. The origin is unknown, however, apparently, she's developed it by the time she was nearing her late teens, according to a photograph.
    • Satsuki in Maim de Maim has a blue streak in her otherwise black hair. It's unclear if the same goes for Ryuuko.
  • Child of the Storm has the canonical examples of Doctor Strange and Jason Todd, but Harry gets one too at the end of the first book, as a side effect of his brief possession by Chthon during the Final Battle. He's rather bemused by it at first, but shrugs it off shortly after.
  • In Steven Universe fanstory Bad Prediction AU, Steven, who was literally born into his role as Pink Diamond, has a pink stripe in his brown hair that's shaped like a heart.
  • The Land of Oz Alternate Universe Fic oneshot Free explains this as an in-bred trait of Princess Ozma's bloodline. To make sure everyone knew who led Oz, they began breeding in emerald green eyes and green hair streaks into their lineage.

    Films — Animation 
  • Inverted and subverted in Bolt, where the white-coated dog believes the bolt-shaped patch of black fur on his side is proof he was given superpowers. Once he's away from the studio for a while, the black dye fades and reveals that this mark, like Bolt's "powers", was all a lie.
  • Carmen Sanchez from The Book of Life, has three white streaks on the side of her head.
  • In Frozen, Anna has a platinum blonde streak on the side of her head because her sister, Elsa, accidentally hit her with her ice powers when they were little. When Elsa hits her again in the heart, her hair slowly turns all white. After The Power of Love saves Anna from freezing to death, her hair returns to its full strawberry-blonde color with no streaks at all.
  • In a Tom and Jerry movie, The Lost Dragon, the main villain Drizella has one of these; this is carried over to her niece Athena.
  • In Frankenweenie, the poodle Persephone gets this after being electroshocked by Sparky, which makes her look like Frankenstein's bride.
  • Wyldstyle in The LEGO Movie has two of these in her hair. The sequel reveals that it used to be bright blue and pink before she took a permanent marker to it partly out of embarrassment over being a cutesy Girly Girl who originally sang "Everything is Awesome" and more out of the incident when Lord Business started his Master Builder head hunt.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The scowling Nazi spy played by Gale Sondergaard in spy comedy My Favorite Blonde has one, just to make her a little bit scarier.
  • Nicky in Casino.
  • The kid in The Sixth Sense has one. So does Donnie Wahlberg.
  • Bride of Frankenstein—Elsa Lanchester with the iconic example. See the image at the top of the page.
  • Young Frankenstein: Elizabeth's hair gets a white streak after she's been abducted by the monster. This is mostly so she can have the Bride of Frankenstein hairdo later, because it's funnier that way.
  • The title character in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has one. In an interview, Johnny Depp said it was caused by the terrible trauma Todd experienced when he was torn from his family and sent to a penal colony.
  • Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has black hair with white streaks on his temples, probably caused by trauma and/or stress rather than age.
  • This happens to the Mom in Poltergeist after she rescued her little daughter from that ghost world - two white streaks in hair, one at each temple.
  • Maxi Amberville from I'll Take Manhattan has black hair with a white streak.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Ash, the protagonist of Avalon, has one of these while inside the titular MMORPG. It disappears during the Mind Screw final act.
  • Another Ash gets one during the last stand at the end of Evil Dead 2.
  • The local town crazy in The Great Outdoors has one of these from getting struck by lightning too many times.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. Averted with Lucius Malfoy, as Jason Isaacs protested that his rich, stylish character would have hair resembling "a badger's arse".
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In X-Men, Rogue acquires her signature white hair streak after her near-death experience in Magneto's apparatus. She decides it looks good enough to keep.
    • Yukio from The Wolverine. Strands of her natural hair color are still visible.
  • Jinnah has one in Gandhi. Appropriately, he is a semi-antagonistic character. He is contemptuous of Gandhi's habit of dressing and living like a peasant, and as leader of the Muslims in India, he refuses to support Gandhi's campaign for a united India.
  • The main character in the French-Canadian film C.R.A.Z.Y., Zac (Marc-André Grondin), has a white streak in the back, caused by having been dropped on his head as a newborn. His mother convinces him as a child that it's a sign he has the ability to heal others through prayer. Also an interesting mirror to his friend Michelle, who has light hair with a dark streak.
  • Toecutter has one in the first Mad Max movie.
  • Lampshaded in the Josie and the Pussycats movie with Alexandra Cabot. Provided the page quote.
  • Fireball from The Running Man has two stripes in his hair.
  • Strange Brew - Hosehead the dog, who is black with banded white stripes on his back, saves the day when, told the local Oktoberfest has all the beer and sausages he can consume, literally flies there and, mistaken for a big skunk, drives everyone out before they can drink the villain's mind-control beer.
  • Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show had the Elsa Lanchester Bride Of Frankenstein look down pat near the end of the film, with beehive hairdo and skunk stripe hair.
  • Malita, the demented Mad Scientist in The Devil-Doll, has one of these.
  • Bruce Wayne is starting to grey at the temples in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Similar to his incarnation in The Dark Knight Trilogy in Rises, the DC Extended Universe version of Batman is also shown with grey in his temples.
  • Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
  • Vexy of The Smurfs 2 has a single streak of blue in her normally black hair.
  • The unnamed Jewish barber in The Great Dictator sports one of these, distinguishing him from the otherwise-identical Adenoid Hynkel who's the dictator of the title.
  • The killer in Cherry Falls has one. It is actually a wig to make him appear like Loralee Sherman.
  • A severely-miscast Humphrey Bogart has one as Quesne in The Return Of Doctor X.
  • Dawning Of The Dead: Katya is shown to have one in her hair in a close-up shot of her head.

  • A good portion of Horror Campfire stories has a character end up with white streaks — or all white-hair — after being frightened by some sort of supernatural encounter.
  • James Lee Burke's Louisiana detective character Dave Robicheaux has a white streak in his hair that got him the nickname "Streak" as a young man. It's due to malnutrition during his very impoverished childhood.

  • In the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain, Detective Cotton Hawes has a white streak in his otherwise red hair as a result of his hair growing back over a knife scar.
  • Aurora Cycle: Auri O'Malley has a white streak in her black hair when rescued from 220 years of being a Human Popsicle that wasn't there before. It turns out to mark her having been Touched by Vorlons during that time.
  • In Gary Jennings' Aztec, Zyanya has a white streak in her black hair, where a scorpion stung her as a child.
  • In David Eddings' The Belgariad and Malloreon series, Polgara has a white lock. She got it when her father, the sorcerer Belgarath, first laid his hand upon her after she was born. It resists cutting and dyeing, which leads to some interesting dilemmas when they're trying to hide from their enemies. A similar white mark can be found on all the sorcerers in Garion's line, but on different parts of their bodies.
    • The solution her father comes up with to hide the lock is to use his influence with royalty to make it a common affectation, so regular people will just think she's a little vain.
  • In the Black Jewels trilogy, a witch named Luthvian is described as having a white streak in her hair that is "a memory of her father's fists."
  • In Broken Gate, Nezumi (pictured here) has a streak of silverish-white in otherwise black hair, however, as she grows weaker, from reinforcing the seals on the gate, all of her hair turns to a silverish-white.
  • Discworld
    • Death's granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit, inverts this trope: her hair is naturally white with a black streak (as well as expressive). In The Movie of Hogfather, her hair is platinum blonde instead of pure white, but she retains the black streak.
    • Also, the Magpyr family, from Carpe Jugulum.
  • The Dresden Files: The Leanansidhe, Harry's evil, crazy, fairy godmother, originally had a head of full red hair. After years of treatment by Queen Mab to cure her of infection by Nemesis, she gains a white streak.
  • In Kay Nolte Smith's Elegy For A Soprano, the titular soprano, Vardis Wolf, adds a white streak to her dark hair after abandoning her baby, telling her friend that it was a reminder. She doesn't explain of what exactly, but it's possible she felt guilty.
  • Erast Fandorin's temples become gray following the shock of witnessing his first wife's death in a terrorist attack (originally aimed at him!) at the end of the first novel. His gray temples later become his characteristic mark, which is used by an impostor in a later novel to pass as Fandorin.
  • In "The Gypsies in the Wood", a girl is taken away by The Fair Folk, and when they return her she's thirty years older and has a white streak in her hair.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Eldan has dark hair with white streaks at his temples.
  • Wolfgang Hohlbein's Hexer von Salem (Witcher of Salem), Robert Craven, has a Skunk Stripe, as well as his father, Roderick Andara, because they are witchers.
  • One of the families in Edward Rutherfurd's London has this trope as one of its hereditary genetic quirks.
  • Grey Star, the hero of the World of Lone Wolf series, is named for the white forelock in his otherwise black hair.
  • In The Magic Goes Away, one sorceress has a white streak in her hair because of the difficulty of maintaining her youth without the mana to do it. The streak increases and decreases opposite to the amount of mana in the environment.
  • In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams, Simon gains a scar and white streak in his hair after being burned by dragon's blood. From then on, he's often referred to as Simon Snowlock.
  • Moby-Dick's Captain Ahab.
  • In book three of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Atlas' burden of holding up the sky has grayed his hair. When Annabeth and Percy both temporarily take on the Titan's curse, streaks of their own hair turn gray. In the Sequel Series, The Heroes of Olympus, it's explained that the streaks eventually faded back to normal after a few years.
  • In Phenomena does Millian have a white stripe. It is never really brought up why she has it.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: At the end of the Farseer trilogy, Fitz has developed a white streak in his hair due to a head wound. In the Tawny Man trilogy, set fifteen years later, he's started using the alias Tom Badgerlock, claiming he was born with the white streak. It eventually disappeared when he was magically healed in the Tawny Man books.
  • Zadie Smith, the Alpha Bitch in Reconstructing Amelia, has a white lock in the front of her hair. It fits given her generally punk appearance and mannerisms. It's actually natural, and not only that, but an important clue about who her biological father is because he had Waardenburg syndrome.
  • The protagonist of the Larry Niven story "A Relic of the Empire" lost his fortune and began to get gray hair before he could once again afford anti-aging drugs. After rejuvenating, he discovered that the gray streaks gave him a distinguished look that attracted the ladies and started dyeing them back in.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, Dilys Frost starts out with a white streak in her black hair. It gets wider every time she uses her power, and she ends up with a black streak in her white hair.
  • Kerish in Geraldine Harris' The Seven Citadels tetralogy has black hair with a broad silver stripe. As the series progresses, the stripe widens until he has all-silver hair.
  • In Seven Stars, the sorceress Maureen Mountmain has white hair with a red streak through it.
  • Sharpe: Richard Sharpe is described as having gotten one by the time of the last chronological book, Sharpe's Devil.
  • In Stephen King's The Stand, the character of Nadine starts with black hair, gains a white stripe, then ends up all-white as a result of her personal proximity to Randall Flagg.
  • In the Star Darlings franchise, while disguised on Earth, Libby retains a streak of her natural pink hair.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Jagged Fel develops a white lock and scar from some head trauma he suffered. His descendants exhibit the same hair and scarring, and the surrounding Fanon suggests it's a family tradition.
    • Ysanne Isard, along with having one blue eye and one red eye has two locks of white hair flowing down the frontal area. She has naturally black hair.
  • The title character in Tailchaser's Song has this, except, being a cat, it's through his fur.
  • Tortall Universe: In the Trickster's Duet, Nawat the crow has a white stripe in his feathers, acquired after annoying the mage Ochobu.
  • In the Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey, the Rowan has white-blonde hair, but her descendants tend to have dark hair with a white streak. Some are blonde, still with the white streak.
  • In the Monster Mash neo-noir Wolfman Confidential, the female meat golems have a pair of them coming from their temples.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Princess Bianca's lock of white, magically Prehensile Hair, among her otherwise black locks.
  • Wayward Children: Alexis Chopper gets a white streak in her golden hair from a ghost's Kiss of Death. After she's brought Back from the Dead, her eventual girlfriend Jack finds the overall effect very striking.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Londo Mollari has gray streaks at his temples.
  • Charmed (1998): Prue received a Stripe after the Barbas (the demon of fear) nearly drowned her in the shower.
  • Daredevil (2015) and Luke Cage (2016): Big Ben Donovan has bits of silver in his otherwise black hair, befitting a crooked silver-tongued lawyer. It's a natural coloring of his actor Danny Johnson.
  • Doctor Who: The Roger Delgado Master has prominent white streaks on either side of his beard. It's not known if this was Delgado's natural colouring or bleached for effect.
  • In the Distant Finale of Dollhouse, Echo has a grey streak in her hair.
  • iCarly: Carly wears blue streaks in her hair when she's acting 'rebellious' to get the attention of her grandfather and brother.
  • In iZombie, a Skunk Stripe and a craving for brains are the first symptoms of a zombie infection. The rest of the hair turns white shortly after.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • An episode of MacGyver revolves around our hero rescuing a child with a white streak of hair who was being exploited for his supposed ability to grant wishes.
  • Lily from The Munsters has one.
  • According to his Back Story, Mystery Science Theater 3000's Dr. Clayton Forrester gained a white streak in his hair (and his mustache) after being struck by lightning. Trace Beaulieu once broke castmate Kevin Murphy's mind at a convention panel when he suggested that the white streak appeared in a third location.
  • Maxwell Sheffield from The Nanny has black hair with a greying streak.
  • The original Perry Mason series: In the episode "Envious Editor", the killer turns out to be actress Barbara Lawrence, portraying "Lori Stoner", made distinctive by a contrasting stripe in her hair. Oddly, due to a continuity error, it moves from one side of her head to the other in a scene!
  • Power Rangers:
    • Andros, Red Ranger in Power Rangers in Space, had long dark hair with blonde streaks.
    • Also, Vida, the Pink Ranger in Mystic Force. She sometimes dyes hers different colors, until pink (a color which, ironically, she used to dislike) gets to her and she uses it on her entire hair at the finale.
    • And Merrick, in Power Rangers Wild Force, had a few gray streaks in his otherwise dark brown hair.
  • Sam Beckett of Quantum Leap. It's a sign of how long he's been leaping, but he is unable to see it until the finale.
  • In Smallville, whoever gets possessed by the silver banshee magically gets a white stripe in their hair.
  • Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in The Sopranos has two stripes of white at his temples, but the hair in the middle is dark — almost black — and there's not much transition between the two. In keeping with the trope, Paulie is probably the biggest jerk to grace the Soprano family after Ralph Cifaretto. Little Paulie (Paulie's nephew at first, then first cousin) possesses one in all his appearances keeping up with the family.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Vala has one in season 9; it eventually goes away without explanation.
    • Teal'c gets this, after he ages 50 years. When he still has short hair, it looks more like a Skunk Stripe than with his recent, long hair.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: T'Pau has two white braids in her otherwise black hair.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In the series finale, "All Good Things", future Data (now a professor at Cambridge) has a (possibly bleached) stripe of white hair to give himself an air of distinction, but instead serves as snark-bait for his cantankerous housekeeper. (In another episode, he states that he can manipulate the length of his hair at will, but it's unclear if he can change his hair color on his own.)
    • The Rutians, aliens of the week: the males all have black hair with a white stripe, while the females all have red hair with a black stripe.
  • The title character of Toast of London has one of these. It makes him look rather distinguished.
  • Warehouse 13: Claudia dyes hers various colours throughout the run of the show.
  • Word of Honor: Ye Baiyi has white streaks through part of his hair.

  • Former Keel guitarist Marc Ferrari sports one. Still has it as of 2017.
  • In Girls Aloud's video for "The Show", Nadine Coyle sports a blonde streak in her naturally brown bangs.
  • Cyndi Lauper has an inverted Skunk Stripe, a black streak in blond hair, in the video for "I Drove All Night".
  • When Imelda May was identifying strongly as a rockabilly-influenced musician, her style included a flamboyant white quiff, with an effect verging on Delinquent Hair. When she broadened her approach somewhat with 2017's Life Love Flesh Blood, she switched to a plain jet black bob.
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Part of Blackie Lawless' distinctive looks.
  • Jack Barakat of All Time Low has had this be part of his hairstyle for many years.
  • David Vanian, the lead singer of The Damned.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Taichi Ishikari sported one while working for New Japan Pro-Wrestling
  • Jimmy Jacobs had a red Skunk stripe during the Age Of The Fall and a Gold/blond part while part of S.C.U.M.
  • Jacob's perennial rival Alex Shelley has a blonde patch in his black hair.
  • Allysin Kay is known for having a blond part and Jessicka Havok got one to compliment it when they were a tag team.
  • Cedric Alexander of the C&C Wrestle Factory has a blonde/gold streak running through his
  • "Broken" Matt Hardy sports one.

  • In the original cast of 1776, Richard Henry Lee (Ron Holgate) has one gray curl over his forehead. Also present in the film.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Neo Politan's hair is half brown and half pink, with three white stripes on the pink side. Although, since her outfit was updated, they're nowhere to be seen.

  • The anthropomorphic raccoon hero of Tales of the Questor has a white cow-lick where he was touched by something divine. According to the author, not God, but a mythic creature of apparent divine connection or insight, potentially an Angel Unaware.
  • Coga Suro:
    • Main character Steve has completely black hair save for two blonde bangs. Initially, you'd think these were dyed in. Then it turns out that his sister has blonde hair that turns to black halfway down, his mother has black hair with a blonde streak, and all three of his children invariably have black hair with a blonde streak (at least, until Mary dyes her hair bright green after the Timeskip).
    • John's hair turns white all over upon activating his Power-Up.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, inside Dr. Disaster's space battle simulator, all the students gain a stripe of differently-colored hair. Red-haired Antimony gets a lock of black; black-haired Kat gets a lock of red. Aside from the chapter title page, the simulator is depicted Deliberately Monochrome, so it's unclear exactly what colors the other students got. Tom Siddell originally planned to make these Skunk Stripes permanent.
  • Katrina of The Noordegraaf Files sports a purple one in her first appearance, and switches to a red one when she cosplays Ryuko Matoi. Minor Character Circe has a red one, matching the color scheme of her clothes.
  • Mistake in Dandy and Company has a white stripe running through his hair and all the way down his face. This was seen in an arc that takes place in the future and eventually shown in the present-day when one of his Homemade Inventions goes berserk.
  • The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal: Amal is college age but has a white/gray streak in his bangs and is going gray at the temples as well. It runs in the family.
  • Tavor of Looking for Group has one of these. It seems to draw fangirls like moths to a flame, too.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Noyes has two white stripes in his black hair, which form spikes above his ears.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: they're on the skunks!
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name:
    • The unnamed zombie narrator has black hair, with each temple having this little white tuft like an angel wing growing out of it. He didn't have them when he was alive, but it's not clear where they came from or whether they're typical for zombies.
    • Ples Tibenoch's hair is black and white.
  • Apparently as a side effect of her sex change, Jet Dream's Harmony has a scarlet red streak in her otherwise black hair.
  • Chelsea of Clan of the Cats acquires a Skunk Streak after one of the early story arcs where she becomes accustomed to magic and being a werepanther.
  • Matt from Murphy's Law has one.
  • Lucien of Bite Me! and Family Man has black hair with a streak of gray at his left temple, acquired when he became a vampire.
  • One arc of Kevin & Kell has Lindesfarne get this in her quills from a nasty fright. She keeps it for a little while, as later that day, she was babysitting skunks.
    • Years later, she develops it again as the stress of planning both her post-graduate research and her wedding got to her, as well as having to tell Tree that she and Fenton were moving away. It went back to normal after a series of events resulted in Tree relocating closer to the university Lindesfarne was researching at. (And, as it were, puts Lindesfarne two hours away from her mother in law.)
  • The members of the Doppelganger Gang in Crossoverkill can be identified by this.
  • Mrs. Delacroix from Eerie Cuties has black hair with white forelocks which she usually keeps tied behind the head with a hairpin.
  • Suzie "Zii" Nielsen from Ménage à 3 has bleached bangs. She's an impulsive non-conformist.
  • Homestuck has the violet-blooded troll Eridan Ampora, who has a tuft of violet hair at the front that matches his blood color and cape. Oddly, he seemed to have it even as an infant grub, when trolls are generally portrayed as having naturally black hair.
    • Among other trolls, both the incarnations of Rufioh have the same hair as his namesake, though the fact that he's a bronze blood means the odds of the red in his hair being natural are less likely. Hiveswap Friendsim also introduces Bronya Ursama, a jade blooded troll with a streak of hair in her blood color much like Eridan's, which seems to support the idea that skunk stripes of their blood color may be an uncommon natural phenomenon in the species.
  • Brooksie in Between Failures has one, but covers it up with hair dye. Her natural look is shown here.
  • Fiona in YU+ME: dream has red hair with white-blonde bangs. In her case, it's heavily implied to be poliosis; she mentions that she lost a lot of her hair in the car accident that killed her mother and it "grew back that way."
  • In SWAP Ensemble, this and the inverse are ubiquitous because characters are designed to resemble their instruments. The base hair color matches the general instrument color while the stripe matches the mouthpiece or fingerboard. As a result, woodwinds naturally play this straight because their reeds and bocals are lighter than their instrument while the opposite holds for brass and string players.

    Web Original 
  • Lori from The Insane Quest of Unfathomable Randomness got a white stripe in her hair from being struck by lightning. The stripe gives her the ability to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in a number of different careers, because Lightning Can Do Anything.
  • Mutant girl Musk in the Whateley Universe has the Skunk Stripe, plus odor powers and an acidic touch. No one wants to room with her.
  • Michael Aranda, an occasional guest on the VlogBrothers and Charlieissocoollike has a bleached stripe on the right side of his hair.
  • In Worm, Aisha's generally-trashy style as of Tangle 6.3 includes having a Skunk Stripe with a stripe of purple in it.
  • From Killerbunnies, Tilla has a streak of silver in her otherwise maizeish colored hair. Likewise, the same occurs for Marilitsa with a streak of silver in her otherwise black hair.
  • Some time after his departure from Analog Control, former host Thayne is said to have developed one. MJTR, who remained on the show after he left, playfully mocked him for it multiple times and treats it as one of his most defining features.
  • Behind Closed Doors has a wider variety of hair colors than its predecessor SWAP Ensemble, but the general instrument families are still readily apparent. There are as many inversions as there are straight examples.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible:
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee:
    • Juniper Lee developed a white streak in her hair upon becoming the Te Xuan Ze. Because she's a teenager, she dyes it fuchsia.
    • Her Grandmother (a.k.a. the previous Te Xuan Ze) also has one but it's less noticeable because the rest of her hair became gray.
  • The Secret Saturdays' Zak Saturday has a star-shaped patch of white hair. This was either inherited from his mother, who has white hair, or it could be a sign of his special cryptid powers.
  • Moonbeam City: Canadian-born police officer Rad Cunningham has a bright blue streak along the left side of his otherwise black hair. Inherited from his biological father, the founder of "Flamingo Computers".
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers:
    • Lazarus Slade, Mad Scientist nemesis of the Rangers, has a Skunk Stripe.
    • So does the renegade Supertrooper Darkstar.
  • Alexandra Cabot from Josie and the Pussycats has a lightning-shaped one.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • During the time he gave his ghost powers in the finale, Danny was left with a white streak in his hair as the only remnant of them. Compare to Vlad, who was born with the skunk stripe.
    • Danny's Bumbling Dad, Jack, apparently was part of a band called the "Skunk Punks", where all players had the stripe. Unfortunately, it invited the headline "Skunk Punks stink", which Jack admits was inevitable.
  • Butch in Recess, who reportedly got it because the sight of a teenage couple kissing was just that scary. He actually was seen with plain brown hair in at least one episode before that.
  • Isaac Sumdac in Transformers Animated. We saw it in flashbacks, suggesting that it was genetic, but then we saw him get it from the shock of touching the protoform that would later become his daughter, Sari.
  • The titular character of Freakazoid!! has a lightning shaped streak in his hair.
  • Tony Dracon of Gargoyles. His hair was completely black in his first appearance, but the shock of his first encounter with Goliath gave him white roots.
  • Timber Wolf and his father, Dr. Londo of Legion Of Superheroes. Cameo-wise has Polecat and Invisible Kid (Jacques) as seen in 'Lightning Storm.'
  • Animators in general like doing this with Count Dracula, whether he's appearing as a cameo on shows like Scooby Doo or as a series regular as on Drak Pack. Whether his Skunk Stripe is down the middle or at the temples depends on how old he's made to appear.
  • The undead Captain Skunkbeard in Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! was named for the white strip in his beard. Subverted because it's only a costume, surprise surprise.
  • Apparitia in Filmation's Ghostbusters.
  • Ace Cooper in The Magician has three skunk stripes in his hair.
  • The aptly-named Skunk from My Dad the Rock Star.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle has a pink and purple streak through her otherwise dark blue mane and tail.
    • Starlight Glimmer has one too, due to her design being heavily based off of Twilight's.
    • A lot of background ponies may have one or two as well.
    • Diamond Tiara has a white streak in her purple mane and tail.
    • Flim and Flam from "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" have white streaks in their red manes and tails.
  • In the original 1980s My Little Pony series, all unicorns had one. The same goes for the Big Brother Ponies, though they were all earth ponies. (This doesn't mean it goes for all male ponies, though: non-toy character Knight Shade had only one mane/tail color, purple.)
  • Zoe Trent of Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is a purple Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a pink stripe in her headfur. In fact, her coloration is so similar to Twilight's that some have dubbed her "Twilight Barkle".
  • Margot, the Grumpy Bear judge of the reality talent show "Wow!" from World of Winx sports a white streak on her black hair.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the Pepé Le Pew cartoon "Really Scent", girl cat Fabrette is born with a white stripe down her back. She's unlucky at love, then meets Pepe...
    • Add a few more cartoons with unlucky girl cats getting run over by a street painting machine (or other hijinx), receiving an artificial skunk stripe and instant unwanted amorous attention from Pepe.
  • From SWAT Kats, Commander Feral's Niece, Felina has some distinctive stripes in her hair that are visible, whether she has her helmet on or not.
  • Tenzin's wife Pema from The Legend of Korra has one of these.
  • Roberta Tubbs from The Cleveland Show has a platinum blonde streak in her otherwise black hair, more than likely a weave or a bleach job.
  • Varian from Tangled: The Series has a teal-grey stripe in his otherwise brown hair.
  • Caprice from The Crumpets has stripes of pink and grayish blue/violet in her otherwise black hair.
  • In The Loud House, Luna's crush (and later girlfriend), Sam, has blonde hair with her bangs dyed blue.
  • In Gravity Falls, Tambry has magenta hair with a pink streak.
  • Discussed in an episode of Phineas and Ferb, where Candace asks her mother if she can get a pink streak in her hair. When Linda asks her daughter why she would do that, Candace replies, "To express my individuality! Everyone's doing it!"
  • In Princess Natasha, Natasha has two distinctive blonde streaks raunning through her brown hair.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Claudia gets one at the end of season two, as a result of using powerful Dark Magic to cure Soren's paralysis. Season three ends with her resurrecting Viren, bleaching almost half of her hair.
  • Minor villain Red Claw in Batman: The Animated Series has long, black hair with a white stripe on the side.
  • Dr. Phorbus in The New Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "Peril of the Reptilian" has two white stripes through his otherwise jet black hair.
  • Trollhunters: Claire has a blue-dyed stripe in her hair, which at the end of Season 2 is rendered white as a result of holding open a large enough portal to evacuate Trollmarket. Following the events of the Grand Finale at the end of Season 3, where she helps imprison Morgana in the Shadow Realm, the entire surrounding bang is also turned white.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television with a rare occurrence called Poliosis (otherwise known as a "Mallen streak"), where it tends to manifest with a streak or patch being lighter colored than the rest of the hair. This is more prominent if the person has dark hair. Likewise, this trope can be invoked with hair dye.
  • When a bad scalp wound heals, the hair on that patch may grow in lighter than the person's other hair, resulting in a Skunk Stripe.
  • Tony Spilotro, the mobster played by Joe Pesci in Casino, really did have a gray stripe in his otherwise dark brown hair.
  • Both David and Ed Miliband, British politician brothers, have a small patch in the same spot on their heads and are often caricatured in the media for it. As did their late father, Ralph, a British political academic.
  • Jay Leno. Though, by now, it's an inversion: there's a small dark patch with everything else being gray (he insists it's natural, although guests such as Bob Costas have expressed doubts). Leno actually made a skit making fun of that dark patch. He was sitting in his office when that Zoo lady came in with a squid and it squirted him in the face.
  • Eric Roberts has sprouted one in his later years, although his hair is actually just varying shades of silver. It's more apparent when he slicks his hair back for his milieu: villain roles.
  • Susan Sontag was famous for her dark hair with a thick white stripe.
  • Claire Bloom (of Streetcar, Doctor Who, and Doc Martin fame) has been known to color her hair in the Sontag style.
  • Dave Vanian of punk band The Damned had Depp's Sweeney hair thirty years before Depp.
  • Samuel Beckett had a black streak through his white hair.
  • John Henson, who was regularly called "Skunk-Boy" when he hosted The Soup.
  • Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security. Combine the hair and the title with the fact that she has climbed Mt. Everest, and she begins to sound like a character out of a video game.
  • Stacy London of the US version of What Not To Wear has a fairly subtle grey forelock which comes and goes on the show—depending (as she's said) on how they style and part her hair — but is quite prominent in some of her more recent ad appearances. When she was a spokesperson for Pantene hair products, her contract included a "grey clause", allowing her to keep her grey forelock while appearing in ads.
  • Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Canada's Venture Communications, is a celebrity businesswoman and regular on CBC's Dragons' Den. She has crimped red hair with a prominent white streak.
  • Indira Gandhi — at least, during the time when she was Prime Minister of India — had a white streak in her dark hair.
  • This is a feature of Waardenburg Syndrome, along with odd facial appearance and occasional deafness.
  • Joe Perry from Aerosmith, as of 2009, has a white stripe in the front of his mostly dark brown/black hair.
  • Alex Skolnick from Testament and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (among other acts) has had a grey streak in his hair since he was a teenager.
  • Ringo Starr from The Beatles had a white stripe at the side of his brown hair; he hid it through his moptop, but in some shots (like the cover of Abbey Road), it's visible.
  • Away from Voivod.
  • Italian opera singer Ruggero Raimondi has one.
  • Blues singer Bonnie Raitt has a white streak in her (very, very) red hair.
  • Buzz Osborne of The Melvins developed a grey streak in the front of his dark...whatever the hell you'd call his hairstyle. Nowadays, it's a lighter shade of grey on a dark shade of grey.
  • People with the condition Vitiligo may have these, if they have patches of it in their scalp.
  • Sammo Hung has gotten one in his old age. Doesn't make him look less badass.
  • Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums has a white streak at the front of his otherwise dark hair.
  • Fjord horses
  • Caitlin Moran sports one, claiming it's part of a quest to have entirely unique hair.
  • Tilo Wolff, frontman of the German gothic metal band Lacrimosa, has this.
  • British TV sports presenter Dickie Davies note  had a very prominent skunk-stripe in bouffant dark hair. Much, er, sport was made of this by comedians and impersonators.
  • Kevin Pietersen, a cricketer in the England side from 2005-2014, had a very prominent one of these during the 2005 Ashes series. He got rid of it shortly afterwards and gets embarrassed about highlights from that period which feature it.
  • Hawaii Congresswoman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has sported a gray streak during her campaign. It's become even more pronounced over time with a "salt and pepper" hairstyle.
  • Drag Queen and Rupauls Drag Race finalist Manila Luzon has a skunk stripe as her signature look. It's occasionally present in her normal male self as well.
  • John Barrowman, like Jay Leno mentioned above, has a "reverse-skunk" when he's not dying his hair brown.
  • German-born NBA player Dennis Schröder sports a bleached spot on his head. It was his hairdresser mother's idea to make him stand out at the drafts.
  • Poet and author Maya Angelou had a white patch on the right side of her head as she grew older, standing out against her otherwise black hair.
  • Another political example: Former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell could be seen with a gray stripe on his beard during his time as the pollster for incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 campaign. Notably, Caddell was only in his late twenties at that point.


Video Example(s):


Bobby Worst

Has two white streaks in his dark hair.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SkunkStripe

Media sources:

Main / SkunkStripe