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Spiky Hair

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Hair that defies gravity.

"…is my hair too spiky? Not spiky enough?"

Spiky hair is the process of using gel and hairspray to make the hair stand on end like spikes sticking out of the head. It's often associated with late '70s Hair and '80s Hair and the punk rock subculture of that era. In fiction, it's used to show that a character is wild and cool as well as being badass.

While spiky hair is prominent in real life, fictional characters are almost always shown with perfectly spiked hair despite the fact that it would get flattened while they're in bed or from the day-long rainstorm. While it is a typically-male hairstyle, it has become somewhat fashionable for women to have a spiky hairstyle.

A perennial favorite of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. Why? No one knows. Maybe it reminds people of fangs. A staid, conservative character suddenly swinging to radical spiky hair may be an Expository Hairstyle Change to let you know they're going through a major shift in values.

Compare Anime Hair and Shonen Hair.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA: Tetsuo develops long spiky hair once he gains more control over his telekinetic powers.
  • BREAK THE BORDER: Sei has spiky, messy hair fitting his energetic personality.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

  • Rory O'Shea from Inside I'm Dancing and his bleached blond spikes. Not allowing him to gel his hair is one of the many ways the women in the care home try to restrict him.
  • The unnamed woman on the team from AVP: Alien vs. Predator has some truly amazing blonde spikes. They show how much of a badass she is though in an action movie the tough tomboyish girl doesn't last too long.
  • Freddie spikes his hair when he becomes a fan of punk music in School of Rock. Billy is also shown with spiked hair when they arrive at Battle of the Bands. Laurence also goes for this look during the performance.
  • Ryan Phillippe donned some impressive spikes for the film Homegrown.

  • The Famous Five book Five have Plenty of Fun features a spiky-haired fairground boy, called Spiky.
  • Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter series favours her hair short, spiky and bright pink. Since she can change her appearance at will she obviously has no trouble spiking it up in the morning.
  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a goth girl with short spiky hair.
  • Mike from Twilight is said to have this hairstyle, though the movies give him normal flat hair. Alice Cullen is also said to have short spiky hair; in the movies, her hair is a bit longer and a little less spiky.
  • Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities is described as having hair so spiky it would be dangerous to play leapfrog with him. His son has it, too.
  • Early in Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince, Bree first arrives on Lori's doorstep with her hair dyed a fiery red and done in a spiky hairdo:
    Lori: Good grief. What have you done to your hair?
    Bree (turning head to one side): Like it?
    Lori: It looks like your head is on fire.
    Bree (smiling): Brilliant. Just the effect I was aiming for. I call it my portable hearth. There's nothing like red hair to take the edge off a cold snap.
Bree is also a free spirit who likes challenging the stuffier residents of the village. She later says that when Peggy Taxman saw Bree's hair in church, Peggy gave her a look that "would have curdled milk." In Bree's estimation, this is a feature, not a bug.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is shown with spiky hair in a flashback to the 70s. And no, that's not where his name comes from.
  • Angel often wore his hair spiky. On entering the alternate dimension of Pylea the different supernatural rules allowed him to see his reflection and he reacted with distress, suggesting this is some horrible grooming accident created by his vampirism.
  • A big part of David Tennant's now-iconic appearance on Doctor Who was his perpetually spiked hair. Or as Wilf put it, "sticky-uppy."
  • Both Chandler and Ross liked to have this hairstyle in Friends. Ironically Rachel told Ross he used too much gel when his hair was actually flat.
  • Vince from What I Like About You.
  • Jon Lee from S Club 7 adopted this style for the LA 7 season.
  • Abby Maitland in Primeval gave herself a short spiky style for season 3. She grew out her hair in season 4.
  • Leo's Evil Twin from the season 6 finale of Charmed.
  • June Tuesday on the short-lived That '80s Show.
  • In the Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red", Tommy Oliver has switched to this hairstyle, which is jarring to older viewers because previously he'd been a long hair whose hair had lengthened with each passing season. It's still short and spiky when he returns as a regular cast member in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder.
  • Banban "Ban" Akaza/DekaRed from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, though he grows it out from Mahou Sentai Magiranger VS Dekaranger onwards.
  • Ted in How I Met Your Mother, whose hair is almost fascinating in its intricately disheveled spikiness.
  • Don Eppes of NUMB3RS has variations of spiky hair throughout the series.
  • Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries is known for his trademark spiky hair.
  • Lucas Scott wears his hair this way in the early seasons of One Tree Hill.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Scott McCall has been sporting spiky hair since season two.
    • As of season three, Stiles has grown his hair out and is now sporting a spiky haircut.
  • Alex from MythQuest tries this for one episode, but he gives it up rather quickly.
  • Logan Echolls in Veronica Mars. Coming from a family of actors probably didn't hurt his grooming standards.
  • Christine "Spike" Nelson from Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High is one of the most outrageous examples of this trope...and it wasn't done for the character. That WAS actress Amanda Stepto's real hair, drowned in loads of Final Net hairspray. In a behind-the-scenes documentary on the show, there's even a montage of her preparing her hairstyle.

  • As mentioned above, spiky hair is found in the punk rock subculture. It's often dyed various colours as well. Some schools aren't as strict about spiky hair as they are about certain other hairstyles, as long as the spikes aren't too severe.
  • Liberty spikes is a special style where the hair is grown long and spiked out, looking similar to the headdress on the Statue of Liberty where the name comes from.
  • Mark Hoppus, of blink-182 fame.
  • Pretty much every member of Good Charlotte.
  • Derek Whibley aka Bizzy D from Sum 41.
  • Omi from exist†trace. Bonus points for it being silver.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Zack Ryder and his slogan "take care, spike your hair".
  • Indie wrestler Christina Von Eerie has her hair spiked up into a Mohawk. Portia Perez once joked that it could be used as a weapon during matches.
  • At an AWE show Vertigo "The Cure" Rivera split a garbage can in half over the head of heavyweight champion Jesse Neal. Neal was knocked for a loop but his Mohawk survived without any signs of damage, making it look like his hair had cut the can in two and some metal just happened to hit his forehead as it parted.

    Video Games 
  • Clockwork Aquario: One of the three Player Characters, Huck Rondo, has green spiky hair.
  • Crayon Chronicles: The male Player Character (if you choose to play as him in the game) has spiky yellow hair.
  • In the few instances when it’s shown, it seems like the protagonist of Double Homework has this.
  • Because of Cloud Strife's outrageous hair, spiky hair is considered a trademark of Final Fantasy, even though it's a fairly uncommon sight in the series outside of Final Fantasy VII related stuff.
    • See that hairstyle on the page image? That (and his Cloudy Wolf outfit) originated from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where Cloud's hair was toned down to comp for No Flow in CGI. His original 'do has justifiably been compared to unkempt chocobo feathers.
    • Bit of trivia for those interested: Cloud's infamous 'do was a deliberate choice by the game developers; His original design called for slicked-back, black hair with no spikes. However, to make Cloud stand out more and emphasize his role in the game as the lead protagonist, his design to give him spiky blond hair instead.
  • Heaven Dust: The Player Character has brown spiky hair.
  • Many characters from the Kingdom Hearts series have outrageously spiky hair, Sora and Axel in particular. There's even a Lampshade Hanging in the second game in reference to Cloud's infamous hair (although, ironically, he uses his much more sane-looking Advent Children costume/hair in II).
    Tifa: I'm looking for somebody. Have any of you seen a guy with spiky hair?
    Sora: (tugs on one of his own spikes)
    Tifa: (chuckles) Spikier.
  • Hwoarang gets this hairstyle in Tekken 4 when he joins the army. It grows out between games. See also Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima.
  • Hwang Sung Kyung and his expy Hong Yun-Seong from Soulcalibur, despite the game being set in the 1500s.
  • Phoenix Wright from the Ace Attorney series. The rest of the cast frequently poke fun at him for it.
    • Several other characters have Anime Hair in varying degrees of spikiness, but the most obvious is Furio Tigre from Trials & Tribulations. It enables him to impersonate Phoenix, despite otherwise looking nothing like him.
  • Crono from Chrono Trigger, who was designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball.
  • Shu from Blue Dragon, as well as his grandfather Furisha, both of whom were also designed by Akira Toriyama.
  • The appropriately-named Spike from the Ape Escape series. Kei from the third game too.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog, who has literally spiky hair in that he has quills. Taken up another notch with the messier quill arrangement in Sonic Boom. Curiously enough, Shadow also has that arrangement in Boom.
  • In Fancy Pants Adventures, Fancy Pants Man, despite him being a stick figure, has three large spikes for hair.
  • Dekar in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals could pass for Sonic with his mane of spiky blue hair.
  • Meta from METAGAL has a pretty spiky top.
  • Ninja Battle Heroes: Most of the main cast have some pretty spiky tops. Just have a look.
  • The player character from Oedipus in my Inventory has spiky hair despite being a shepherd from the Hellenistic era.

    Web Animation 
  • The little girl from Monsterbox has hair that looks like a pile of leaves on top her head and down her back.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • All Grown Up!: Phil has this hairstyle in the first season. He has curtained hair in other seasons. Tommy also has really short spikes.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Phineas has this hairstyle.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez has a fluffed-out hairstyle reminiscent of Doc Brown, but the show’s animation style depicts it as spiked.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart Simpson's hair is a bunch of triangles pointing straight up on the flat top of head. Depending on the Artist, they may cover the entire top of his head, or just the circumference. Lisa and Maggie have similar hair, except theirs points outward instead of up. They always refer to their hair as "points" instead of spikes. In all three cases, there's no clear division between where their skin ends and their hair starts.
    • Sideshow Bob, Bart's archnemesis, has huge curly spikes of hair that make him resemble a palm tree.
  • A DJ-lookalike seen in Pixar Shorts Tokyo Mater has large spoilers on his roof that resemble spiked hair.
  • The Weekenders: Carver has triangular dreadlocks pointed upward. Tino also gives himself this look when he's trying to impress a punk chick.

    Real Life 
  • Harold Lloyd.
  • Victoria Beckham as well as her husband David both have had spiky hairstyles though not at the same time.
  • Freddie Ljungberg, when he still had hair, liked to dye it red and spike it up.
  • Frosted tips, a popular men's hairstyle in the 90s/2000s in which dark hair is styled into numerous tiny spikes and bleached blonde at the tips. Guy Fieri of the Food Network and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives has this as his most recognizable feature, and it's notable that, even though he usually wears sunglasses, he doesn't actually put them on the top of his head, presumably so as not to crush his hair, and instead puts them on the back of his neck.
  • This is actually becoming a trademark hairstyle for younger workers and college students in parts of Asia, to the point where those with 'spiked' hair outnumber those with traditionally slicked and parted 'dos in some contexts (though 'artificially unkempt' is catching on). Since many of them are from the generation that adopted it as a form of rebellion or due to Rule of Cool, the establishment has gradually become more tolerant. Still won't fly in high school or below, however.
    • This is helped by the fact that most Asians tend to have thick, abundant hair that spikes naturally, so for many slicked hair needs a lot of gel or mousse and spiky hair is simpler to maintain. For similar reasons, spiky hairstyles are popular among Latino men, since indigenous people of the Americas also have that coarse hair.
  • Singers Howard Jones and Billy Idol both sported spiky hairstyles back in the '80s.
  • The late Keith Flint of The Prodigy, who at times even shaved the middle to look even more like two horns. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied it by turning one of their songs into "Lousy Haircut".