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Unkempt Beauty

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"Go upstairs, take off your makeup
Fold your clothes neatly away."
Jethro Tull, "Fire At Midnight"

The fashion industry would have you believe that without make-up, expensive designer clothes, and fancy hair-care, all women look like trolls. Hollywood is all too willing to pass that message along. Some women, however, are always gorgeous, even without the aforementioned fashion accessories. In fact, sometimes they are even better-looking that way.

For men this trope has slightly more mainstream recognition, probably because personal grooming is frequently seen as unmanly. A Perma-Stubble helps contribute to the Hunk persona.

It may stem from the notion that a woman who puts a great deal of effort into fixing herself up on a daily basis could be seen as shallow and superficial, caring only about her looks. Make-up, hairstyling and carefully chosen clothes are instead seen as trying too hard, while rolling out the door in sweat pants, T-shirt and bedhead is more accessible.


This trope is the inversion of She Cleans Up Nicely, where a woman (or man) is just as appealing dressed down and casual as when they are trying to be fashionable. It can also be an audience's reaction to Hollywood Homely, in which case an attempt at She Cleans Up Nicely will likely be seen as an Unnecessary Makeover.

Be cautious about the application of this trope; Reality Is Unrealistic. An actor playing a role as a scruffy character may be genuinely trying to look bad, but even still it sometimes takes more effort to make someone look "natural."

A Sister Trope to Sexy Spectacles, Meganekko, Ugly Cute and Nerds Are Sexy. Contrast with Curly Hair Is Ugly for a hair-specific variant.



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  • There's an ad for Five Hour Energy, where a guy gets up, grumbling about how he hates mornings, until he pulls out the product, then the next we see him, he's dressed and shaved, saying "Let's do this!" If you watch the commercial beginning to end, you may notice he looks about 10 years older when cleaned up.
  • Similarly, there's a Hulu commercial in which a Big Beautiful Woman goes out for a night on the town, then attends a board meeting at work the next day. She looks far more youthful riding a motorcycle, dancing with disheveled hair and jumping into a swimming pool than she does in a drab business suit.
  • An advertisement for Zzzquil, a sleep aid, depicts a number of people looking goofy while sleeping, then at the end shows an attractive woman waking up smiling with messy hair and bright, sparkling eyes. The point seems to be that you'll sleep deeply (the goofy sleeping people) and wake up refreshed (the attractive woman waking up).
  • A Japanese governmental campaign to promote energy conservation has two characters, Mirai and Ima, in which Ima, a messy and lazy slob, receives instructions and tips from the organized, tidy Mirai. Early on, the campaign backfired in a way. Their target audience, Japanese teenagers and young men, found Ima's too-large and asymmetrical clothing, long, messy hair, and sleepy demeanor to be more attractive than Mirai's overbearing and smug attitude.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The women in Attack on Titan, as a result of being soldiers. They don't have time for (or presumably access to) cosmetics, and most simply wear their hair short or put it up in a messy ponytail to keep it out of the way. This doesn't stop them from being attractive, in particular Krista.
  • Casca from Berserk is often noted as one. Being a mercenary, she keeps her hair short and wears men's clothing and non-Stripperiffic armor. While people comment on the way she dresses, she is often considered to be very beautiful.
  • L from Death Note looks like he just crawled out from under the bed with hair that he probably never brushes, solid black eyes, extreme bags under said eyes, wears the same plain, baggy clothing every single day, is extremely pale/thin, and Does Not Like Shoes. That doesn't stop him from having a legion of fangirls.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
  • Les Misérables: Shōjo Cosette: Gavrooche, Eponine and Azelma fulfill this trope. All the three face poverty and become disheveled as a consequence, but that does not stop any of them to be either adorable (Gavroche and Azelma) or outright beautiful (Eponine). That happens even if their parents, the Thénardiers, are not very good-looking.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Rei Ayanami is often considered this by fans. Not that she would need a makeover to look nice...
    • Whenever Asuka gets rid of those signature hair clips of hers, but especially near the end, when she just stops caring, manages to look infinitely more mature. Arguably, this was done on purpose to emphasize that, at her core, she is still just a child despite all her efforts to not appear to be.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • As shown in episode 17, Kyouya still looks good even when he's literally dragged out of bed in frumpy clothes and bed hair.
    • Haruhi often looks her most adorable in clothes that don't look like they cost a small fortune.
  • Pokémon:
    • Misty considers herself a great beauty despite not wearing any sort of makeup, pretty hairstyles, or fancy clothes. Of course, this didn't stop her from trying for a makeover in the episode "Pokemon Fashion Flash." Big mistake, Misty.
    • Episode 63 of XY is a Team Rocket themed episode. Jessie usually wears makeup however due to circumstances she spends the entire episode in a cardigan with no makeup and a slightly messy ponytail. It's one of the extremely few episodes with her and no makeup; she had it on even in her Sick Episode. Jessie looks just as pretty as ever and catches the eye of a doctor. She ponders leaving Team Rocket to be with him but decides against it in the end.
  • Mika of Seraph of the End has Messy Hair that does nothing to detract from his Bishōnen looks.
  • Oft-mentioned novelist Takatsuki Sen turns out to be one in Tokyo Ghoul. Just prior to seeing her for the first time, Kaneki describes her as so beautiful that she has fans only interested in her looks. However, we've never seen her without Messy Hair and quirky outfits suggesting part of her appeal is that she's a natural beauty. And she also happens as the Big Bad. And many chapters later at the sequel, she cut her hair neatly short before she publicly announced herself as a ghoul alongside announcing her retirement and the release of her final book.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi has short, mussy hair, along with Beauty Mark just beneath the corner of her left eye, and has a naturally athletic figure from years of martial arts training. All of which caused Yuuki to become infatuated with her at first sight, though Satomi didn't appreciate Yuuki coming onto her.
  • Wandering Son:
    • Yuki used to wear a lot of makeup and wore a wig whenever she was outside. In later volumes she ditched the makeup and grew her hair out after being inspired by Nitori's sixth grade teacher. Her hair is apparently not all that combed either, and she's switches between casual and feminine attire often.
    • Takatsuki's hair is often unkempt and expressive, though he does also tend to comb it into a very tidy look.
  • Cher from Wolf's Rain usually has disheveled hair because of her hectic working conditions.
  • Souta's novelist sister Izumi from WORKING!! doesn't wear makeup, constantly has ink smudges on her face, has moderately messy hair, and just has a bedraggled appearance in general. Still, she is no less beautiful because of this, but is possibly more beautiful because of it.
  • Played with in Goddess Creation System. Xiaxi's image is that she's wearing little to no makeup or cosmetics to let her natural beauty shine, which Mingluan notices with approval. However, it's not actually true: She's actually going through quite a lot of effort to maintain her appearance and just makes it look natural.
  • This is a plot point in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War where Shirogane comments on Kaguya's beauty while she's soaking wet, covered in mud, and scratched up after she saved the Mass Media Club president from drowning in a garbage filled swamp. In fact, it was the very moment he first fell in love with her.
  • Sousuke of Full Metal Panic! is noted to be quite attractive despite his disheveled, hapharzardly cut hair, prominent facial scar, complete fashion blindness, and intimidating demeanor. Though his Identical Stranger's career implies he could be even moreso if he cleaned up a bit and smiled, he already draws more admirers (both female and male) than he's comfortable with just rolling out of bed.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: The five titular quintuplets are all considered very beautiful, but in one of their arguments, Nino (the second) accuses Miku (the third) of not caring about her appearance, wearing simple and cheap older clothes. Miku's response is to imply that Nino is shallow for her manicures.

    Comic Books 
  • X-23 wears her hair in simple styles (usually long and loose, less frequently in a ponytail or braided, but never done elaborately), doesn't wear makeup (the exception being during her prostitute days in NYX), and eschews fashionable dress (an attempt by Jubilee to give her a makeover in Paris left Laura distinctly uncomfortable), with a personal style that is either gothic, strictly functional, or casual, or varying combinations thereof. She's also considered to be quite a beautiful young woman.
  • Betty from Archie Comics is a tomboyish girl who doesn't wear make-up and, apart from early decades, dresses in attire like tees more than anything. This puts her in contrast with her friend Veronica, who dresses up in expensive designer brands and wears make-up. Veronica does tend to give some of her clothes to Betty though.
  • Dick Grayson seems to actively avoid brushing his hair most of the time, and usually dresses in baggy clothes or minimally (tank tops, shorts, baggy shirts) and is also a bit of a slob. He's also depicted as one of the most attractive men in the DC universe, even among the attractive Bat-family.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Clémentine and Emma. They have both slightly messy hairstyles.

    Comic Strips 
  • Li'l Abner's pursuer (and later wife) Daisy Mae Scragg, like most of the other Dogpatchers, generally wore rough, tattered clothing, but she seems to have at least combed her hair and washed her face regularly. Moonbeam McSwine, who provides the page image, is a purer example ... despite the tattered clothing and general inattention to hygiene she's still one of the prettiest women in the Dogpatch area (after Stupefyin' Jones, whose beauty is, well, look at the name).

    Fan Works 
  • A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script: In this The Silmarillion fanfic Luthien IS the most beautiful woman in the world. Even if her hair is unruly and badly cut, her dress tattered and dirty, she is wearing no jewelry and she has been wandering in the woodland for days with little rest... she will still look strikingly gorgeous.
  • A Crown of Stars: Shinji always thought that Asuka looked beautiful -and/or hot- not matter what (although in the chapter 21 she had a makeover and his legs quit on him).
  • Child of the Storm has Carol Danvers, who usually dresses in intentionally scruffy t-shirt and jeans, often with short hair, and tends to avoid make-up and fancy dresses like Kryptonite, yet is still considered to be very attractive. That said, it is explained that she actually doesn't mind getting dressed up every now and then (and gets She Cleans Up Nicely reactions on top of her already notable good looks), she just refused to do so whenever she could to spite her father who had Stay in the Kitchen values.
  • Evangelion 303: Asuka is a Tomboy Tsundere but she always looks beautiful, even if she is sleeping or she looks completely haggard. However when she has a makeover she is downright striking.
  • Once More with Feeling: In chapter 11 Asuka wakes up and does not bother with brushing her hair, thinking that Shinji would not notice. However he DID notice... and he thought that she looked really, really stunning.
  • Velvet in The Commission is still the Badass Adorable she is in canon, just one with a fashion sense that drives Coco up a wall.
  • Samantha Carter in Xander and Yet ANOTHER Demon is noted by Xander as clearly not trying to be attractive: no makeup, a masculine haircut, and wearing standard BDUs and combat boots. Yet he still thinks she looks just as gorgeous as Anise and could easily be a model if she wanted to.
  • In The Eternity Effect, Glinda becomes more attractive after she stops wearing make-up. Glinda couldn't wear make-up after becoming a ghost. Even after passing on into the afterlife, she couldn't bare to look into a mirror due to traumatic memories. As a result, she stops wearing make-up, however her mother compliments her that she's looking fresher lately.

    Films — Animation 
  • Merida in Brave has long, untamed hair and spends a significant portion of the movie in a ripped up dress and covered in dirt smudges. She still manages to look cute as a button, though.
  • Vanellope von Schweetz and Sergeant Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Maria Posada from The Book of Life, as pointed out by some jealous Girl Posse in the corrida's audience: "she's so natural!".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Janie in Another Time, Another Place does a lot of agricultural grunt work and looks suitably roughed up, but despite this she is by no means unattractive.
  • In Better Off Dead, French foreign-exchange student Monique looks very sexy fixing Lane's car with grease on her face.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Adèle, who's hair often gets in her eyes and is otherwise pretty messy.
  • In the old John Wayne and Robert Mitchum western El Dorado, Mississippi ends up in a brief scuffle with the daughter of a nearby rancher when he thinks she is one of the bad guy's Mooks sneaking up on the Sheriff's office. Mississippi remarks after they stop fighting that she looks like "A mustang in need of a comb."
  • Darya Melnikova in Cinderella Four By Four has got a Wrench Wench appeal going on.
  • Die Another Day: The make-up department tried to make Pierce Brosnan look as unattractive as possible after James Bond had been imprisoned and beaten up for 14 months, yet the director undid some of its intended effect by giving the actor a gratuitous Shirtless Scene, so Bond still appears quite healthy (and remains at least somewhat desirable in the eyes of Brosnan's fangirls) in spite of the long-term torture.
  • Trillian in her first main story scene in The Film of the Book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Pretty much looks like she just got up. And yet, Arthur is the one who never changes his damn clothes.
  • The Bride in Kill Bill. Being an assassin is hard work, and it shows—she's frequently sweaty and messy-haired, if not covered in dirt and blood.
  • In the film Not Another Teen Movie, Janey Briggs is said to be ugly because she is wearing overalls with paint on them, glasses and a pony tail. This is considered worse than girls with actual deformities. Of course, she is good looking that way, as well as when She Cleans Up Nicely later. This is a parody of the Unnecessary Makeover in She's All That.
  • In Plan B, Bruno is perpetually scruffy-looking with a beard and unruly hair. Pablo, while somewhat prettier-looking than Bruno, also has Perma-Stubble and doesn't look like he dresses up that often. None of that stops the two of them from being quite easy on the eyes during their Shirtless Scenes. The film's director, Marco Berger, said that he intentionally cast actors who were attractive but not "Hollywood attractive" to defy the media stereotype of all non-straight men being well-groomed, clean-shaven, and having perfect muscular bodies.
  • Invoked in Red Cliff—top model and idol Lin Chiling plays Xiao Qiao, whose very first scene has her very sweaty and untidy indeed as she's involved in the difficult delivery of a newborn foal.
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead in The Thing (2011) prequel, all sweaty and her hair in disarray... Oh, and she's carrying what appears to be a flame-thrower.
  • Thor: The Dark World: Even while undergoing a Mess of Woe after Frigga's death, Loki's untidy appearance doesn't diminish his physical beauty. His long, wavy mane is all tangled, he has been clawing at his shirt, and his bare foot is blood-stained, but there's absolutely nothing to mar his delicate facial features, not even a 5 o'clock shadow.
  • Withnail & I: Both title characters wear odd clothing and look like they haven't combed their hair in days, yet are nonetheless fashionably unkempt.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Charles' appearance in 1973 is rather sloppy and disheveled, especially in comparison to the other movies, yet he is still an attractive man. This was done on purpose by the filmmakers (the producers insisted that James McAvoy keep his hair), and it conveniently evokes the Looks Like Jesus trope, as Christ is often depicted as being handsome in art.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: The director sought to elicit this trope when Professor X is losing the Battle in the Center of the Mind against the titular antagonist. Xavier's hair is in disarray, he's smeared with blood, and the worst thing one can say about his appearance is that he looks like a stained porcelain doll. The photogenic close-ups spell out to the audience that Charles is the "beauty" and "cutie" in Beauty Equals Goodness and Break the Cutie.
  • While she's known for straight out Beauty Inversion, as in Monster, Charlize Theron appears to lean toward this trope in Young Adult.
  • Norwegian movie Ann Magritt from 1969 has the titular character going like this all the way: Mostly dressed in rough mining clothes, mud in her face and covered in a hood (her hair is, all Things considered, in a braid). She is played by Liv Ullmann - one of Norway´s international stars, who later worked with Ingmar Bergman.
  • In Even Lambs Have Teeth, Sloane and Katie are noticeably attractive. This applies even when they are on their Roaring Rampage of Revenge; dressed only in tank tops and shorts, with their hair dishevelled, and splattered with blood. The gas station attendant is so taken by their looks that he doesn't even think to ask why they are covered in blood.
  • Revenge (2017): Jen is gorgeous by conventional standards. However, over the course her ordeal, she is transformed into a completely different kind of beauty. Her blonde hair is dyed black by blood and dirt, as are her clothes and she becomes a savage goddess of retribution.
  • How It Ends: Ricki is quite pretty, in spite of her messy hair and unflattering clothes.
  • Ash, the main protagonist from the Evil Dead films, becomes more battered and disheveled — and handsome — as the series goes on. By the time he's dropped into a medieval kingdom in the third film, he's acquired a collection of scars, his left hand has been amputated, his clothes are in tatters, and he's covered in blood and grime; after he proves that he isn't an enemy of the kingdom (by slaying a pit demon), women immediately start fawning over him. His zombified doppleganger even threatens him by promising to "mess up those good looks".
  • Ondine: Syracuse looks like he's never even touched a comb or razor. General consensus is that this makes the already Mr. Fanservice Colin Farrell even more attractive. Ondine, although looking a lot more civilized than him, most definitely counts as well-she's gorgeous but her hair's messy throughout most of the film.

  • In A Brother's Price, the Whistler sisters are mentioned to be exceptionally beautiful, and all they do for their looks is keep their hair short, in a military fashion. It's pretty much the same with all good-looking women, as make-up isn't really worn by women. (Only by whores, who all pretend to be male, due to male Gender Rarity Value and the resulting demand)
  • Marianne Engel from The Gargoyle is this in her worst times, when she is either in asylum or frantically carving her gargoyles.
  • Fuschia Groan of Gormenghast is almost the definition of this trope: when we first meet her, she wears ill-fitting clothes, hates washing her face or brushing her hair, and slouches and sulks so much that it's very easy to overlook her natural beauty. Her grooming improves as she grows older.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ciarra runs around with uncombed hair and bare feet, much to the chagrin of her lady in waiting. Her cousin Beckram apparently still thinks that her hair is lovely.
  • Dragon Blood has Tisala, who Ward remarks is very attractive ... even after having barely survived a fight against bandits, and looking like it. As he admired her toughness more than her beauty in the first place, that was to be expected.
  • Lyanna Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire preferred swordplay and horseback riding to needlework and fittingly had a beauty that was described as "wild," in contrast to the more conventionally lovely women of her time, such as Cersei Lannister.
  • In the Fearless books, Gaia Moore is often described as beautiful, despite the fact that she usually just wears whatever clean thing she can pull out from under her bed.
    • In one book, a male character rates females on the "Firehose Scale," which measures how attractive a girl would be immediately after being blasted by a firehose.
  • In the Symphony of Ages Rhapsody gains an unearthly beauty after traveling through the pure flame at the center of the world. Virtually every man she encounters after that is dumbstruck by her beauty, even though she's usually wearing highly practical clothing. Even when she was clad in rags, mud, and various pieces of debris from bushes, her beauty was enough that many locals mistook her for a nature spirit.
  • Piper from The Heroes of Olympus is described as looking beautiful to Jason, even though her hair is cut choppily, she's wearing a jeans and a parka, and her t-shirt is all torn up.
    • Percy himself might qualify as a male variation. He suffers from a perpetual case of bedhead, can't afford to be a Sharp-Dressed Man, and frequently "looks like death", in his own words, due to his....exciting lifestyle. Still, he's never exactly hurting for female attention, or even male.
  • Eponine from Les Misérables. We're told that a life of poverty has been horrible to her, and now she's skin and bones with stringy hair, probably smudges of dirt, an unhealthy mind, even missing teeth. Despite all of this, she still looks good enough to be described with a star metaphor at one point.
  • In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, Ivy Carson is repeatedly described in these terms. She is actually called "unkempt" and "pitiful looking" by adults who see only her huge mass of impossibly curly black hair and her scroungy clothes. Her friend Martha thinks she is beautiful. At thirteen, she looks worse than ever by normal standards; she can sit on her long thick braid, wears no makeup and cannot afford to dress stylishly, nor does she particularly want to. Martha still sees Ivy as beautiful, and so did illustrator Alton Raible, who portrayed her as fairylike — half-shoujo, half-Keane Painting.
  • Jam the butler from the Erec Rex series. When he's done up in his usual fashion, with his hair slicked back and in fine clothes, he looks stiff and unapproachable. But when his hair gets mussed up and he loses some of the fancier parts of his uniform (like his jacket and bow tie), he not only looks more handsome, but much friendlier as well.
  • In Paradise Lost, Eve is introduced with this sort of appearance.
  • Katniss in The Hunger Games looks quite nice before she gets prettied up for the games. As the books portray the decadence of the Capitol as something negative, it is likely intended that the reader view her as an unkempt beauty who actually looks better without all those beauty treatments she's given prior to the games.
  • Mission of Honor explicitly points out that, even dragged out of bed after midnight in a bathrobe and nightgown with bedhead and absolutely no makeup on, President Eloise Pritchart is still the most beautiful person in any given room, and probably the city. If not the continent. Even if everyone else in said room (or city, or continent) is dressed up to the nines.
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation: Despite not giving a damn about her physical appearance and sleeping for extended periods of time, the narrator describes herself as looking like an off-duty model.
  • Tell Me How You Really Feel: Rachel never pays much attention to her looks; she's described as just wearing ordinary pants and shirts, with unruly hair. Nonetheless, she's also quite attractive to Sana, who finds her beautiful.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Shameless (US), Fiona skips the makeup, hairstyling, and even neglects to wear a bra on occasion: she still attracts at least half a dozen men over two seasons, even one woman. Emmy Rossum has said that she spends five minutes in the make-up trailer, just long enough to rub mascara around her eyes. She still manages to look like this
  • In Firefly, River Tam has long tangly hair, pale, unhealthy skin, bags under her eyes, and minimal makeup; this does not stop the fandom from adoring her, and several characters in-series remark upon her attractiveness. It helps that she's played by Summer Glau, see below.
    • On the same note, Firefly usually had Jewel Staite in homey overalls and occasionally covered in grease. As Simon says, Kaylee looks good especially covered in engine grease.
  • House: Dr. Gregory House has big bags underneath his eyes, Perma-Stubble, and bed hair. His rugged, unkempt look is actually more attractive than the one and only time we see him clean shaven and smartly dressed. Too bad his personality flaws take away from it. Or not. Specifically a patient once said that Ashton Kutcher and House have the "same bedroom eyes."
  • Battlestar Galactica: Kara "Starbuck" Thrace wears no visible makeup, dresses in military-issue clothing, and is frequently seen bloody-faced, sweaty, and tired, with her golden hair either messed up or in a utilitarian, all-business ponytail.
  • John Glover as Lionel Luthor.
  • Misha Collins as the angel Castiel in Supernatural. You'd think an angel with stubble, perpetual bedhead, rumpled tie, and hobo trenchcoat wouldn't be that attractive, but he is. In fact, some people have turned every aspect of his ruffled appearance into outright fetish fuel.
  • Summer from Power Rangers RPM. In flashbacks to her old life as a Rich Bitch she looks alright, all dolled up in a party dress and loads of make-up, but many will agree she's much hotter in her biker gear, with her hair loose and a little bit of dirt.
  • Most will agree that Kate (Evangeline Lily) from Lost looked far, FAR more attractive with scruffy clothes, messy hair and minimal makeup on the island than she did all done up on the mainland.
  • There were four women on Robin Hood and at least three of them looked much nicer when they were "roughed up" a bit. Marian (Lucy Griffiths) looked gorgeous when her hair was loose and her clothes unkempt, Djaq (Anjali Jay) made her Sweet Polly Oliver a true Bifauxnen and had many straight females questioning their preferences, and Isabella (Lara Pulver) was infinitely more beautiful with her hair wild and her Gorgeous Period Dress all askew. The aversion was Joanna Froggat as Kate, who was given two rather dreadful hairstyles (one which was known as "the forehead braid"), but who looked her best during the only scene in which she had to tie her hair up off her face, showing off her high cheekbones.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin qualifies. When trying to convince her not to move in with Ted, Barney asks her how she's going to feel when Ted sees her without makeup. She informs him that she's not wearing makeup right now. His response? "Holy crap, you're beautiful!"
  • In an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hilary's boyfriend Trevor comes over, finding her wearing baggy clothes, not wearing makeup and wearing her hair down. She's horrified that he's seeing her like this, but he's genuinely blown away by how attractive she looks. Then Jazz comes over and tells Hilary she could stand to fix herself up. Fortunately, we are meant to disagree with Jazz.
  • Shane from The L Word. Her hair was always a mess (this despite her being a hairdresser), she never wore makeup and dressed casually at best. And yet she never lacked for appreciation.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 short "Body Care and Grooming", we are presented with two versions of the same woman—first with her hair messy, her blouse wrinkled, her socks mismatched, etc.—and then cleaned up, prim and proper, Fifties-style. Although the makers of the short clearly mean the "clean" woman to be more attractive, Joel and the bots (Crow especially) prefer the "sloppy" woman, feeling that the clean version is bland-looking and generic while the sloppy woman has an appealing quirkiness about her. Regardless, the message is lost when it's clear that the actress was incredibly attractive either way.
    • The first host segment has the 'bots debating on whether the woman looks better messy (Crow) or clean(Servo). Joel admits they both made good points, but "Crow's right.".
  • Jeremy Brett's morning hair is cute in a dorky way in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.
  • The Doctor Who episode The Doctor's Wife features Idris, a beautiful woman who is a mess due to having fallen through a hole in space-time. She dies at the beginning of the episode and her body becomes host to the soul of the TARDIS.
  • In Gilmore Girls Lorelai and Paris have each said that they envy Rory for being able to wake up in the morning and look great.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Faith, in a deliberate contrast to Buffy's ever-groomed look.
    • Even people in-universe seem to think Spike is hotter when his hair is messed up and wavy than when it's super gelled and blonde.
  • Angel. Joss Whedon going for the double: Fred is the Unkempt Beauty to Cordelia's well-groomed look. Eventually, Fred discovers civilization and stops being this though.
  • Morgana and Guinevere play this out as part of their Hourglass Plot in Merlin. Guinevere starts out as very plain and gradually becomes Progressively Prettier, whilst Morgana is a perfectly-groomed lady who eventually ends up living in a hovel with dirty hair and dark makeup. Fan reaction varies wildly.
  • In the Canal + series "Borgia"(no, not the Show Time series The Borgias), the characters Lucrezia Borgia, Giulia Farnese, and Sancia Squillace(d'Aragona) are played by German/Russian actress Isolda Dychauk, Italian actress Marta Gastini, and Czech actress Eliska Krenkova respectively. Since the series has actress in costume with either little or no make up at all, the actresses for these three characters are naturally quite pretty.
  • The Big Bang Theory has Penny as perfectly willing to chill at home in an oversized college football t-shirt and her hair messily pulled up. It's become a recurring joke that she KNOWS how to dress up and knock it out of the park when she wants to, she just chooses not to. This is more evident in later seasons, as the first few seasons had her mostly in fanservice heavy tank tops and short shorts. Although it was averted in an episode with her getting addicted to an MMORPG, as her hair got greasy and frayed and her skin blotchy.
  • In one episode of Scrubs Elliot runs to the hospital on her day off to get some advice from Turk without J.D. knowing she was there. Turk comments that she looks different and she remarks offhand she didn't bother putting any make-up on. It is subtle but a theme of the episode was that Character Development doesn't eliminate ALL of your issues, as while Elliot proved to still be neurotic there were previous episodes that had her obsessing over her appearance despite the fact she obviously didn't have to try so hard.
  • Dr Patrick Turner, from Call the Midwife. The more rumpled and bedheaded he is, the more the fangirls seem to like him. It really doesn't hurt that Stephen McGann (yes, Paul's brother) carries off the "world-weary and careworn older gent" look like nobody's business.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In Season 5, the normally well-dressed and elaborately-coiffed Margaery Tyrell is arrested by the Faith and placed in a dank dark cell and therefore is shown dirty, disheveled, and in rags. It's still Natalie Dormer, though, and she still looks gorgeous!
    • Though Arya Stark spent the last few seasons dressed in filthy clothes and messy hair, she is quite cute.
  • In contrast with the other women on Good Girls Revolt, whose hair is usually either done up, curled or bobbed, Patti wears her long hair down, showing that she's an independent free spirit.
  • Claireparker in Pixelface is usually dressed in grungy clothes with messy hair and dirt on her face, as she is the player character in the survival horror game Return to Zombie City. She still holds her own against the aristocratic Alexia and Girly Girl Kiki.
  • Oswald Cobblepot from Gotham. Pasty-pale complexion, Sinister Schnoz, hair that usually looks like a bird nested in it, and scraggly yellow teeth...and yet almost Bishōnen in a weird way, with his wide green eyes and oddly winsome smile. It helps that he's small, kind of a Woobie, and has an almost musically soft voice. And of course, beneath the unflattering makeup, Robin Lord Taylor is very pretty in real life. In later seasons, as Penguin becomes more and more powerful, he also cleans himself up...and heck does he clean up nicely.
  • Control Z: Sofia rarely seems to comb her hair nor otherwise care about her appearance. Nonetheless, she's very beautiful.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Deet wears her hair in loose, messy braids and is implied not to bathe much (if ever), but she's still very pretty and charming. Hup and Rian, at least, always think she's beautiful.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Beroe, daughter of Adonis and goddess Aphrodite. She was specifically noted for never using a mirror and not wearing make-up or jewellery, yet her natural beauty was still enough to drive her suitors crazy.
    • To a lesser extent, all goddesses who weren't overly concerned with their beauty - ever heard of an ugly goddess? Artemis bathed occasionally, but other than that, it is not known that she did anything for her looks. As a virgin goddess, she had no reason to cater to the Male Gaze, and jewelry is rather impractical for a hunter. And she was still beautiful enough that at least one mortal man gave his life to stare at her.
    • Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, was always portrayed as being as being far more concerned with battlefield strategy and knowledge, but it is worth noting that she was right there in competition with Hera, Queen of Olympus and Aphrodite, goddess of love, for Paris' golden apple, the beauty contest which helped start the Trojan War. And the Trojan prince hungrily took in Athena's flawlessly beautiful nude form, as well as that of her immortal stepmother and step-sibling.
    • Dionysus was often depicted as a Pretty Boy who spent most of his time at mad, drunken revels in the woods, sometimes without clothes.

  • Lights. Even with hair that is often unruly (except for her trademark combed-over fringe) and a minimal amount of makeup (she is rarely seen without eyeliner), Lights still retains a natural cuteness. Many fans can't help but fall in love with her, especially when she smiles.
  • The No Doubt music video for '"Underneath It All" shows Gwen Stefani gradually wearing more "plain" clothing and makeup, becoming more attractive with each step.
  • Courtney Love in her heyday frequently wore tattered babydoll dresses and bright red lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth rather than on her mouth, and appeared to be completely unacquainted with the concept of hairbrushes. She cleans up occasionally now, but 'messy' is still her most iconic look.
  • Speaking of Courtney Love, her husband, rock icon Kurt Cobain was also seen as this. Once you got past the generic clothing, the messy hair (which became a trend setting hair style) and his messy facial hair, he was otherwise a handsome man to many people, including Love, who often compared him to Hollywood film stars like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or George Clooney.
  • The country song "Gimme That Girl" by Joe Nichols is about this trope.
  • The Adam Gregory song "Crazy Days":
    Don't worry 'bout what to wear
    Those faded cut-off jeans are my favorite pair
    Don't go messing with your hair
    Let it all blow around
  • Here's what Taylor Swift looks like without makeup.
  • Katiejane Garside of Daisy Chainsaw/Queen Adreena/Ruby Throat is an amazing exemplar of it [1]. NSFW.
  • Implied about the girl sung about in "She Don't Know She's Beautiful" by Sammy Kershaw given that a lyric comments "Mornin' comes and her hair's all a mess. That's when she thinks she looks her worst. It's times like this she don't know why I can't take my eyes off her".
  • The Lucius song "Wildewoman":
    Her eyes are light and clear
    And fearless like Chicago winds in the winter time
    And her hair is never quite in place
    And the knees in her jeans have seen better days
    And she's no beauty queen but you love her anyway
    She's a wildewoman
  • Janis Joplin had this look, though reportedly her personal hygiene left something to be desired.
  • One of the things the singer of Before You Exit's "I Like That" likes about their crush is her lack of makeup.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This why Sara Del Rey took to face paint and masks. Initially she just stopped wearing makeup to be taken more seriously but people kept telling her she was pretty anyway.
  • Part of Sofia Castillo's appeal, and part of her feud with Marina Tucker, who believes the world needs saving from Castillo's makeup lacking face.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • From other characters' dialogue in Neverwinter Nights 2, Elanee (being a druid) is constantly rather dirty, has never touched a comb/toothbrush in her life, and smells rather earthy.
  • In Amagami, Kaoru Tanamachi's most distinctive feature is her SEX HAIR, and many fans believe that she's much more appealing because of it.
  • From Yggdra Union, Gulcasa's knee-length hair is always rumpled-looking and flyaway—so much so that when character designers wanted to conceal his identity for the prequel, the most important alteration was his tying it back neatly in a ponytail. General consensus seems to be that he looks more mature (and more masculine) with it loose and messy.
  • Heather from Silent Hill 3.
  • Another male example is the hero from the Breath of Fire series. Although his later incarnations become slightly less unkempt with each game, the original has long, wild hair and a tattered cape that makes it look like somebody took a potential Bishounen and left him to be Raised by Wolves. This is how you make an attractive dragon-themed character, people.
  • Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2. Yet despite her patchwork clothes she does look rather good for living in a Crapsack World.
  • Fatal Frame IV has Sakuya Haibara with long, beautiful hair that is disheveled and sometimes hangs into her face. Given her illness, she likely doesn't have the priority to take care of it or her attacks make her too crazy to care. Despite that, several notes (and even Misaki) mention how beautiful Sakuya always looks.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Fang's hair is pretty wild, hangs in her face at times and generally can't be tamed... and she looks just wonderful like that.
  • Nami from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life wears more modern and casual clothes than most in the game; sneakers, a plaid vest, cargo shorts, and a tee. In the original game she had straight, combed hair but in all future titles she has messy hair that looks like she just climbed out of bed. Nami is by far the most popular bachelorette in the Forget-Me-Not Valley games and even appeared in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody as a reporter.
  • Advanced V.G.: Satomi's hair is always short and mussy, because she lives in poverty, so she's self-conscious about her looks compared to the other waitresses. Yuuki begs to differ, because Satomi's cute regardless of her hair, or even because of it. Which is accentuated by the Beauty Mark on her left cheek and her natural athleticism. All reasons why Yuuki nurses a one-sided crush on her.
  • Alice: Madness Returns: In contrast to all of her Wonderland outfits, London Alice's dress is tattered and dirty, while her face is pale, gaunt, and lacks her usual lipstick and eyeshadow. And yet, she still looks just as lovely.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Legends: Aika is what you'd get if you re-imagined Pippi Longstocking as an Air Pirate. Marco even calls her, "Scarecrow Hair", because her massive pigtails look more like corn stalks and stick out like a pair of handlebars. This didn't stop Vigoro from getting hot and bothered when he first saw her, and spends the rest of the game trying to get her in the sack.
  • In the Japanese version of Splatoon one of the Squid Sisters lines has Callie complaining that redoing her make-up after each battle is a bother, to which Marie states Callie doesn't even wear make-up. In both the North American and European translations it instead becomes Marie making a snide comment about how she doesn't wear make-up, unlike Callie, and is naturally pretty.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    • Blackwall serves as one. He has long, black hair with an equally long scruffy beard to match for it and is quite dashing. A female protagonist may even have the option of romancing him if she wishes.
    • Cassandra is a knight whose boyish haircut, propensity to wear armor as much as she can, and scar do nothing to detract from how attractive she is.
    • Sera was probably trying to be a Butch Lesbian with her patchwork clothing and terrible haircut (she hacked her hair off with a knife). Since she's an elf, she ends up as a Lipstick Lesbian with messy hair.
  • Ellie from The Last of Us. Somewhat justified because she is in a post apocalyptic world where appearance care is far from being a priority. The rest is just her being boyish, but still noticeably pretty. The same can be said for other women seen in the game such as Tess, Marlene and Maria.
  • Persona 5: The nameless protagonist is this in spades. He has a shock of curly, tousled black hair, bad posture, and hands that are perpetually shoved into his pockets, but he's easily the sexiest character in the game, and just as easily the sexiest lead from the series as a whole.
  • Zigzagged with Hellen Gravely in Luigi's Mansion 3 when you finally fight her. On one hand, she's less pretty when her make-up is running. On the other hand, her usual Beehive Hairdo being unkempt isn't too shabby. On the other other hand, she is going through a rough time with King Boo losing faith in her. On the other, other, other hand, she is quite infuriated at Luigi for the whole fight.
  • Yandere Simulator: Oka Ruto. She stays up all night studying the paranormal, leaving her with Messy Hair and Exhausted Eye Bags. Despite this, she still looks cute and is one of the rivals pinning for Sempai's heart.
  • Haven (2020): Kay says that Yu, without makeup, is more beautiful than the "Mate" chosen for him, with makeup. Yu claims she actually is wearing makeup, but trolls him by leaving him guessing on whether she is or isn't.

    Web Comics 
  • The two unnamed characters in Magan&Danai show off this trope. When one of the women wakes up her girlfriend is already getting dressed. The woman gets dressed and her girlfriend is still getting ready.
  • Erika from Living With Hipster Girl And Gamer Girl ignores her appearance to the point where she's almost a walking sanitary hazard, but she still looks spectacular enough to be the subject of much Fanservice.

    Web Original 
  • The Urban Dictionary refers to this trope as "hot mess".
  • A lot of "Natural Nudes" websites go for this angle, exemplifying the unaltered beauty of the female form.
  • Widget of the Whateley Universe. She's very attractive, but she doesn't use makeup and she just slaps a bicycle cap over her hair, then jumps into baggy clothes and maybe a labcoat. She has a huge crush on Thunderbird, who thinks of her as a "pal".

    Web Videos 
  • The Slender Man Mythos:
    • The three male leads (Alex, Jay and Tim) from Marble Hornets. They dress in baggy thermals and hoodies, sport Messy Hair and Creepy Shadowed Undereyes, and generally look as if they haven't slept in weeks (as per the nature of the mythos). This hasn't stopped the fanbase from crushing on them one bit.
    • Jessica from Season 2 is an in-universe example. Same unhealthy pale skin, dark circles, and rumpled clothes, but Jay is noticeably tongue-tied around her.
    • The male protagonists of Everyman HYBRID don't give much thought to how they look — particularly Evan, who sports messy hair and baggy, somewhat ratty clothes. The fanbase couldn't care less. Evan once had to address the audience in-character, requesting that they stop writing erotic fanfiction about him and his friends. (Unfortunately, the attention only escalated — and didn't end with the completion of the series.)
    • Many protagonists in the mythos seem to fit this trope (not to mention a few antagonists). It's become a running joke in the fandom that in order to star in a Slenderverse vlog, you must possess the kind of good looks that hold up under constant insomnia, Sanity Slippage and being splattered with blood.

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra: There's a reason many fans of the series have declared themselves "Korra-sexual". It's because she combines this trope with Amazonian Beauty. This becomes even more pronounced in season 4 when she gives herself an Important Haircut and spend several episodes wandering in the wilderness with a visible black eye, averting Beauty Is Never Tarnished.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Some fans consider Zuko to be attractive even with the huge scar and the more casual clothing he wears after the end of Book 1.

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Cadence in some scenes of the season two finale.
    • The brief moment in "Sisterhood Social" where Rarity is standing the rain. Her mane dripping wet and she looks great.
    • Twilight sports a rugged bedhead in "Bridal Gossip" that looks pretty good, while her disheveled manecut in "It's About Time" (courtesy of misapplied dragon fire) makes her look badass.
    • In "Simple Ways", Trenderhoof falls for Applejack while she's working on the farm, seeing her through a Crush Filter and describing her as "beautiful" even when she's covered in mud and sweat.
  • Most of the female characters in Adventure Time fit the trope, including Marceline, Betty, Doctor Princess, Canyon and even Princess Bubblegum (especially in her scientist attire). Finn's mother in the 2-part fifth season premiere.
  • Sadira on Aladdin: The Series. Jasmine was also this whenever she dressed down in some form (like when she became a street rat in the episode "Sand Switch").
  • Lance in Sym-Bionic Titan tries combing his hair neatly for his high school's dance but ends up keeping it in its usual messy style. He already had plenty of fangirls before he tried this.
  • Ivy of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? has wild, short cut hair, and dresses in clothes better suited for action than for fashion, and is still considered beautiful in-universe.

    Real Life 
  • Amber Benson, often seen at conventions, wearing such casual attire as a Ramones t-shirt, cargo shorts, and gigantic boots. Ask any fanboy, they'll say she's just as sexy dressed down like that as wearing a corset in Maxim.
  • Summer Glau certainly seems to have this trait, as she looks more attractive and beautiful without makeup. This is especially noticeable with her characters in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and is rather striking in Deadly Honeymoon, where there are scenes showing the characters without much makeup and later with it - and the difference is amazing. With the makeup, Summer looks like a doll, while without it, she looks very real and natural.
  • Truth in Television: Sometimes tabloids print photos of celebrities caught without makeup. The point of this is obvious; as pointed out in the header, the fashion industry wants us to think we all look like trolls without their products. A while back, a paparazzi caught a snapshot of Maggie Gyllenhaal coming home from some awards show. Apparently, even tired, disheveled, and (possibly) hung over, she's freaking gorgeous. She's most definitely wearing make up, though, and neither her hair nor her clothes are below average for any woman in public.
  • Marilyn Monroe once posed in a note  potato sack, just to prove to everyone what they already knew.
    • Also, she was discovered working in a factory. (It was World War II.)
    • An apparently real candid shot of Marilyn without makeup was printed in the biography Goddess. She looked startlingly like Ingrid Bergman, and the caption "Lovelier without makeup" was entirely deserved.
  • Amanda Palmer wears wacky costumes onstage, but there's plenty of pictures of her completely dressed down. She looks extremely different without dark lipstick and eyeliner on, but she still looks quite beautiful. And her hair is always unkempt looking.
  • Evangeline Lilly; supposedly the actors don't put on makeup when they're on an island far away from civilization.
  • Seychelle Gabriel dons a make-up free face as Lourdes in the post-apocalyptic universe of TNT's Falling Skies.
  • The seventeenth-century poets Ben Jonson and Robert Herrick both wrote poems about this trope.
  • According to legend, Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor after seeing her freshly awoken, without make-up and with pillow hair, and wearing a decidedly unsexy flannel pyjamas.
  • Helena Bonham-Carter seems nearly incapable of being a Kempt Beauty; any photo of her out of character will almost invariably have her hair looking utterly wild.
  • Clive Owen's bed surely travels with him. He always seems to have awoken up five minutes ago, even when he kills mooks with carrots.
  • Mia Wasikowska, when her hair is long, anyway, looks like a real life River Tam. Her hair care routine seems to consist of two steps: 1. Wash it. 2. Maybe comb it.
  • Edward Furlong is this trope embodied. His hair is always long and messy, his clothes are always loose and he's partial to plaid flannel shirts and torn jeans, yet he's quite the Mr. Fanservice, especially in his youth.
    • Lessened as of late, as chronic drug and alcohol abuse have taken their toll.
  • Robert Pattinson is known for very unkempt hair and usually unshaven appearance, yet is seen as a heartthrob by many people.
  • Much of artist Phil Noto's work has this aesthetic, and he's cited 1960s pin-ups as a big influence on his style.
  • Many of Annie Leibovitz's photos are of people undressed or dressed down, particularly a series in the book Women, featuring Vegas showgirls in and out of costume.
  • Michelle Rodriguez has a sexy down to Earth tough girl look with little to no make-up. Seeing her in a dress and all dolled up is unnerving to say the least.
  • Beyoncé without makeup.
  • Invoked by the Powers That Be behind the Official Stargate Conventions when they started offering two options for photo ops with Michael Shanks: scruffy, unkempt Michael or the suavely dressed, shaven version.
  • Former child star Mara Wilson tends to have this look when she shows up in the occasional "where are they now" type article. According to the woman herself, photographers just have a knack for catching her when her hair is a mess.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Zooey Deschanel's make-up free selfie.
  • Also, Emilia Clarke with no make up
  • Spanish actor Jordi Mollà somehow keeps ending up looking like he just rolled out of bed in many of his, er, roles, notably in Bad Boys II and his Bacardi spot, even when he does clean up.
  • Mark Ruffalo has been cited as "cinema's leading purveyor of rumpled, bed-headed sexiness". This is an incredibly accurate statement.
  • Alicia Keys opted for a more natural look, showcasing it for the cover art of her 2016 album Here.
  • In his younger days, Eddie Vedder. Despite generally looking like he'd just thrown on whatever clothes came to hand when he'd gotten out of bed he had (and still has) plenty of fangirls (and fanboys). The Seattle grunge scene in general was rife with (primarily male, although not all) examples of this, including Chris Cornell (although Cornell's look was usually somewhat tidier than Vedder's)
    • Kurt Cobain takes the cake in some people's minds. Despite wearing increasingly contrived combinations of thrift-store trash (he got married on the beach while wearing only ugly plaid pajamas and a granny purse), and despite having perpetually greasy hair and permastubble, his sensitive, tormented expression and very blue eyes made him quite attractive to a lot of people. Anecdotally, quite a few men questioned their sexuality over Kurt.
  • On her 39th birthday, Rosario Dawson posted some nude selfies of herself on Instagram, where she appears to have no make-up. One of the more SFW images.
  • Pedro Pascal merited an online GQ article praising his ability to pull off neglecting to groom his Badass Mustache. Judging by comments on photoshoots he did in anticipation of The Mandalorian Season 2 and Wonder Woman 1984, Messy Hair and patchy stubble don't ruin his sex appeal, either.


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