Follow TV Tropes


Wild Hair

Go To
It eats combs for breakfast.

Characters have unkempt, shaggy, or unusually long hair, and often beards — usually dark, though it may have gray in it — to show that they are close to nature, possibly the Nature Hero. Often occurs for the Mountain Man. Indicates that the character can handle himself in a wilderness, and such skills as tracking. On the other hand, he is often Better with Non-Human Company. Poor social skills aside, a character sprouting this hairdo tends to be good. Chaotic Good, but heroic nonetheless.

Part of this is that keeping your hair neat and short is a lot easier in civilization than out of it. As a consequence, characters who have spent some time in the wild may come back looking like this (perhaps with a Time-Passage Beard as well), though generally not picking up the character traits. When the hair is long but neat, it's usually a Sailor's Ponytail, indicating merely distance from barbers. When the hair actively fights being made neater, it's Stubborn Hair.

Part of this is to show that they don't think like other people, or care what other people think — like Mad Scientist with his Einstein Hair, despite the otherwise completely different connotations.

In visual media, usually manages to be still quite attractive.

A Sub-Trope of Messy Hair. Compare and contrast Unkempt Beauty. See also Braids of Barbarism.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Alucard of Hellsing. Especially noticeable as Vladycard.
  • Mikoto Urabe in Mysterious Girlfriend X.
  • Senshi from Delicious in Dungeon lives in the titular dungeon fulltime and has definite elements of a Crazy Survivalist. His hair and beard are so wild and caked with monster blood that they actually repel magic.
  • Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic!, back when he was a young Guerilla. His hair was very long, and rather unkempt. Definitely to emphasize how he's a wild, violent survivalist that didn't care that much about maintaining a nice haircut. Interestingly enough, he's shown to be the spitting image of his mother when he had long hair. In The Second Raid, he started growing it out again, only to receive an Important Haircut from Kaname.
  • Domon Kasshu from Mobile Fighter G Gundam, likely as an indicator of his tough and isolated upbringing, which mostly consisted of training to fight.
  • Ishikawa from Ghost in the Shell probably has the most magnificent hair and beard ever seen on a Japanese character (possibly from having Ainu among his ancestors). He is actually the main combat technician and codebreaker of the team and the least likely to get into any fighting. However, as member of Section 9 he's still a huge badass.
  • Age of Heroic Age had long, unkempt hair due to his time alone on a ruined planet, kept company only by a dilapidated ship AI he calls 'mother' and his sentient sand-swimming squid friends. He receives a semi-Important Haircut sometime after arriving to the Argonaut not to help him adjust with people, but to help people stop being scared of him. After all, you'd be afraid of a giant, planet-tearing space monster yourself, right?
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Senri from + Anima. He doesn't talk much.
  • In Dragon Ball Both Yamcha and Gohan had this on occasion, usually after a long period Training from Hell. Goku might count, but it's hard to tell if it's Wild Hair or just plain weird.
  • Kiba from Wolf's Rain has unkempt black hair in human form, on account of being the only wolf who hasn't lived in a city at all.
  • In the second season of Darker than Black, Hei seems to have been taking less care of his hair and facial hair, giving him wilder, longer hair.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
  • Akabane from Get Backers usually has his hair underneath his fedora, but when the hat comes off, his hair is all over the place.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ryou Bakura and his Yami both sport a long, ruffled mane of shaggy white hair. Bonus points to Yami Bakura for having some serious spiney sharp bangs of doom develop when he takes over. Combine this with high winds atop a speeding train/blimp/ship in a storm and it's like a leathal weapon.
  • In Attack on Titan, the human form of the Beast Titan is appropriately a man with long hair and a messy beard. He also has a tendency to wander around shirtless. After the Time Skip and his return to Marley, he adopts a more civilized appearance with short hair, a neatly-trimmed beard, and a pristine uniform.

  • The Lady of Shalott (Holman Hunt): Perhaps owing to being locked in a tower, the Lady has long, unkempt hair that flies around her once she realizes what's happened.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: The Queen of the Wild Dog Pack. Naturally, she does not maintain her hair while with her animal companions. Combing her hair is the first step towards integration with society.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Several primitive-looking characters, sporting long, hirsute hair, have appeared as "familiars" to sorcerers, most notably in "Grasscutter".
  • Transmetropolitan: The famous gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem grew unkempt, waist-length hair and beard when he retired from City life to a remote mountain compound. Abruptly zig-zagged when he tells a Voice-Keyed Physical Cleaning Unit to "clean me right down" and gets reduced to his signature bald look.
  • Wolverine: Wolverine's distinctive cat-ear-like hairstyle is usually drawn as being somewhere between this and Anime Hair.
  • In the French graphic novel Pyrénée, the titular Nude wild girl has voluminous waist-length red hair.

    Comic Strips 
  • Broom Hilda: Both Irwin Troll and his nephew Nerwin have this. Their whole bodies are covered in hair with their faces and feet visible. Arms and hands can be seen sometimes.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, Thor is a Kaiju with a mane of long, shaggy hair who's only recently emerged from hibernation to the modern world, and he has a particularly prominent connection to the Bone Singers and the Old Norse people.

  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Andreas "Barbarossa" Smith-Rhodes, the patriarch of a Badass Family, is a man built overscale whose hair and beard conform to this trope. Normally he farms a large estate on the borders of Rimwards Howondaland, and whose life, normally, does not have room for these niceities. Wife Agnetha says one of the advantages of twice-yearly visits to a son and daughter resident in Ankh-Morpork is that Andreas now has no excuse to avoid visiting a good barbers. He therefore gets a twice-yearly haircut and beard trim normally not available on the Veldt.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • El Dorado gives us Joey, whose hair leads Mississippi to compare her to "a Mustang in need of a comb."
  • Tree from Happy Death Day 2U has one during her montage of time-loop suicides, at the beginning of the loop after her death via Electrified Bathtub.
  • Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit has hair so wild and unkempt that he even lets birds nest in it. And doesn't bother to clean up after them.
  • ''Howl (2015): The werewolves that come from the woods and attack the train with utter bloodlust have half-bald bodies, with wild manes of hair on their heads.
  • Jurassic Park: Tim's hair notably sticks up more after his near-death experience via electrocution. It's also after this point that he makes himself somewhat more capable when stuck in a kitchen with a pair of Velociraptors.
  • In Manon of the Spring (Manon des Sources), title character Manon spends most of the movie with unkempt, long blonde hair. She hides from the nearby village residents and spends her days alone in the hills, playing a recorder and herding her goats. Despite all this, she is well-educated and enjoys reading, and is known by the villagers that have caught a glimpse of her as being very beautiful.
  • Rambo: John Rambo has varying degrees of long hair. In the first two movies it isn't so long, just really thick. However, in Rambo III he sports a mane of curly black hair, and in the fourth movie he has a greasy black nature mullet.
  • Taken to extremes in French prehistoric comedy RRRrrrr. Then again, part of the plot revolves around the invention of shampoo.
  • In The Wild Child, the feral boy Victor has a huge mop of tangled hair until Madame Guérin give him a haircut.

  • The Bell at Sealey Head: Emma's mother Hesper went to live in a tree in the forest. She had always been neat at her grandmother's, but now she has wild hair.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Rufus Scrimgeour is described as having "streaks of gray in his mane of tawny hair" invoking the image of a lion.
    • Also in Harry Potter, Hagrid was described as having loads and loads of long and wild hair that was thick enough to break combs. Later on, when Hagrid tried to comb his hair, he ended up having broken-off comb teeth tangled in his hair. His attempt to tame it with styling product was an equal failure.
    • After his escape from Azkaban, Sirius had very long and unkempt hair.
    • Due to his father's habit, Harry himself is constitutionally incapable of making his hair behave. He unknowingly used this to his advantage when Aunt Petunia gave him a truly horrific haircut and he woke up the next morning with his hair exactly the way it was before. Harry's hair is stubbornly, very likely supernaturally wild. It even defeats Molly Weasley in book 5.
  • Thirteenth Child: When they meet Wash in the wilds, his hair is longer and his beard less neat than in civilization.
  • The Changeling: Zilpha Keatley Snyder has several descriptions of Ivy's hair. "It foamed in tangled curls inches thick around her head and usually halfway covered her face. She had a habit of sticking out her lower lip and blowing upward when she especially wanted to see something, to get the hair away from her eyes." As Ivy gets older, she starts putting her hair in a huge braid. By the time she is fourteen, it hangs "far below her waist." When she unbraids it for a dance audition, she looks bizarrely beautiful. Ivy's connections to nature and the out of doors are part of her "changeling" identity, and her hair is one of the things that makes her seem actually otherworldly.
  • Septimus Heap: Septimus' brothers have this when they live in the woods — although it is, unusually, blond, and none of their family is noted for neatness of hair.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The wildlings who live beyond the Wall have little patience for the niceties and customs of southron society, and consequently tend to sport tangled and unkempt manes of hair. At one point, Jon muses of the wildling Ygritte only brushes her hair once a season.
    Lucky it might be, and red it certainly was, but Ygritte's hair was such a tangle that Jon was tempted to ask her if she only brushed it at the changing of the seasons.
  • All the Wrong Questions: S. Theodora Markson has a massive mess of hair.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for laughs in episode one of season three of The Big Bang Theory, where the characters return from their trip to the North Pole. Leonard, Howard, and Raj trudge in the apartment lobby with unkempt hair and full beards that seem to fuse together. Then Sheldon walks in with a neat goatee and mustache and no significant changes to his hair.
  • Played straight in BBC children's drama Cavegirl. Set in prehistoric times (though with prehistoric analogues of modern conveniences showing up occasionally), ALL the characters in the series really did have wild hair.
  • Lost:
    • Rousseau, due to being stranded on the island for sixteen years, and Bernard in the season 5 finale.
    • Claire in Season 6.
  • The titular Grizzly Adams, who combined a thick mane of hair with an epic beard and moustache. He sometimes looked more hairy than the grizzly bear that he hung around with. But check out the careful feathering in his beard...Every mountain man has a hair dryer.
  • If dreads count, Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis fits this trope to a "T". (Not that T, that's the other series.)
    • Speaking of the other series, the race of Space Amish called The Nox from Stargate SG-1 had hair so wild and unkempt, they even had ferns and leaves in them.
  • In Fraggle Rock, Mokey's hair is perpetually unkempt.
  • Cole in Power Rangers Wild Force was basically a Tarzan expy, complete with unkempt hair. It got cut shorter by the other rangers at the end of the second episode.
  • Reverend Jim Ignitowski from Taxi had wild hair. In one episode, he was given a comb and it literally got stuck midway through his hair!
  • Abby from Primeval got this when she spent a year in the Cretaceous. While she does use a hairband after returning, the hair otherwise remains unkempt.
  • Helena from Orphan Black, in contrast to the other clones, sports extremely unkempt blonde hair. She keeps this hairstyle even after her Heel–Face Turn, and bearing in mind the trope description, it could be considered foreshadowing for what kind of person Helena is, which, after her de-brainwashing, is definitely Chaotic Good.
  • Bart from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has highly unkempt red hair. She is also a remorseless assassin, but arguably qualifies as an Anti-Villain because she has psychic abilities and targets people who hurt others. She still wants to kill the title character, though, for reasons as yet unrevealed.
  • Guerrilas in James Carlos Blake 's 'Wildwood boys' are long-haired and wild, not in a good way.

  • Steve Bays, the lead singer of Hot Hot Heat, has a head full of ginger curls, much to the delight of his numerous fangirls.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Older Than Dirt: This was in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Enkidu, the wild man the gods sent to Gilgamesh, was said to have wild hair reaching down past his waist. When they brought him to civilization, he got a haircut.
  • This is often how John the Baptist was depicted while he was living in the wilderness in the New Testament.
  • Onryo are often depicted with long, unkempt hair.
  • Medusa arguably had the wildest hair of all time.

  • In the second act of the musical Spring Awakening, the original Ilse (Lauren Pritchard) had wild hair. Though in modern productions the bob seems to be the new standard for Ilse, most understudies (since it's more practical for them to have long hair so it can be braided for other roles they cover) sport this look in the second act also.
  • Jekyll And Hyde often has neatly combed hair for Jekyll on one side and long, messy hair for Hyde on the other.

    Video Games 
  • Solid Snake has had it since Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. His hairstyle was mercilessly mocked at first, because of its resemblance to the infamous mullet. It isn't a mullet, but looks like one thanks to Snake tying his bandana over his hair rather than under it.
  • Iji, after being in a coma for six months. And the setting sure is as dangerous as a jungle.
  • Blanka from Street Fighter, who grew up in the wild and appears more beast than man.
  • Feral child Gau from Final Fantasy VI has green unkempt hair. They found him living on his own in the Beast Plains.
  • Sarutobi Sasuke from Sengoku Basara, who legend says was raised by monkeys. While his backstory isn't touched upon much, and he certainly doesn't live wild, he tends to keep to himself and, being a Ninja, spends a lot of time outdoors.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy chieftain Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor has long, unkempt slate black hair shot with grey.
  • Textual implications in Neverwinter Nights 2 suggest that Elanee has never heard of a 'brush' or a 'comb' or even a 'bath'. Textual implications also indicate her unkempt appearance actually adds to her sex appeal.
  • The Pokémon Primarina has its hair tied in pearl bands which subvert this trope... until it starts singing, at which point the hair literally explodes outward.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!: Shablee's hair is a load of messily-set locks, which fits her dark-skin and general appearance. The game describes it as having a wild, untamed, tribal look, that says "I dare you to try and brush me. Just try."
  • Daidouji from the Senran Kagura series has a good set of wild hair while in her japanese delinquent outfit


    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia has main character Anne. Doesn't matter if she just recently washed or styled it; sooner or latter, it will return to being a messy, brown bush filled with leaves and sticks. Funnily enough, one episode implies that she never actually notices when her hair gets filled with all that debris, with her asking why no one ever told her.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Splatter Phoenix, a Mad Artist villainess from Darkwing Duck, has a long, shaggy mane.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Several of Tarakudo's nine Oni generals (namely the generals of the Ninja Khan and Squid Khan tribes respectively) sport long, wild hair in both their imprisoned mask forms and their true forms.
  • Lazerette from Skysurfer Strike Force
  • In Steven Universe, this seems to be common for Quartz Gems, and seems to indicate recklessness or aggression. Amethyst and Jasper both have long and wild manes of hair. Rose Quartz subverts this with her Regal Ringlets, which indicate a refined, lady-like temperament instead of the wild aggression of her fellow Quartz Gems. For humans, Greg, both in his youth and in the present day, sported long, unkempt hair that reaches down to his waist (at least before he was forced to cut it short in the Future episode "Bluebird"), which seems to indicate his often laid-back and simple but also wise and sensitive personality.
  • Something of a running gag on Time Warp Trio was that Sam and many of his family members have wild hair. Sam's is just messy, black blob, his Great Granddaughter, Samantha has hair that is styled in a series of wavy bun-like things across her head (although judging from the background characters in the future episode, weird hair seems to be par for the course in the year 2105 where she hails from, even if the other main protagnist from the future avert this), and Sam's ancestor from Russia has a crazy, unruly beard he used to hide things in and his refusal to shave it almost got him executed.