Hair color is an easy visual shorthand for getting information about a character to the audience. Most often, hair color will tell you something about the character's personality, but sometimes, its meaning is far more obvious: this character has an Elemental Powers and the hair color to match the element. Quite often, their personality will also be tied to their element and thus their hair color.
- Fire - Usually red hair, although sometimes, it will be more orange. Sometimes taken to the logical extreme. Hair will often be short and spiky.
- Earth - Brown or green hair. More rarely, orange or yellow. Usually short hair on males, females may have longer hair. Tends to be Wild Hair or dreadlocks.
- Lightning - Yellow or white. Hair will often be spiky, as though hit by an electric current.
- Water - Usually a bright blue, especially if ice is also present as light blue. Hair is usually straight and of mid length, but it can also be wavy.
- Ice - Light blue or white, and of a similar style to water, though probably less flowing.
- Air - White or gray. Often wavy with lots of volume. It may defy gravity. Can be green in some cases.
- Light/Holy - White or yellow, or outright gold. Tends towards White Haired Pretty Boys and Girls when white.
- Dark - Nearly always Shiny Midnight Black, occasionally more purple.
- Nature/Wood/Plant - Green. Often messy, and decorated with leaves or flowers.
- Love - Pink or gold. Probably because the first is feminine, and the second is often considered pure and innocent. Expect Hair Decorations. Rarely, if ever, found on a male character.
This is less common in Live-Action media than in animation, video games, comic books, or manga, for obvious reasons.
Sister trope to Elemental Eye Colors. Subtrope of Color-Coded Elements, Color Coded for Your Convenience, and Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance. Often overlaps with You Gotta Have Blue Hair. Compare Flaming Hair, which is this trope for fire elemental users taken Up to Eleven.
Anime & Manga
- The Panther Demon clan siblings in Inuyasha have this: the redhead uses fire, the White-Haired Pretty Girl uses ice, the green-haired girl uses nature/illusions, and the blond uses lightning.
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5
- Heartcatch Pretty Cure plays it straight with Cures Marine, Sunshine, and Moonlight, but subverts it with Cure Blossom, who controls nature but has pink hair.
- Smile Pretty Cure
- Sailor Moon has Blue Haired Sailor Mercury with the elements of Water and Ice, Blonde Sailor Venus using Light'Em Up, and ocean blue haired Sailor Neptune having the power of Deep Water.
- Negima's Fiery Redhead Anya is literal. Red/orange Haired Mei Sakura uses fire as well.
- The Familiar of Zero sometimes plays this trope straight and sometimes averts it.
- On the Played Straight side, we've got Fiery Redhead Kirche (fire affinity), Rei Ayanami Expy Tabitha (wind), Mme. Chevreuse (brown/Earth), and Miss Longueville (green/Earth).
- On the other hand, Shana Clone Louise, Ill Girl Cattleya, and their mother Karin all have pink hair, but have different affinities (Void, Earth, and Wind, respectively).
- It's notable that the main characters who are not magic users of some kind (Seito, Siesta, Marteau, Scarron, and Jessica) all have very dark brown or black hair.
- The girls from Magic Knight Rayearth. Hikaru the redhead (fire), Umi with long, straight blue hair (water/ice), and Fuu with slightly curly blond hair (wind).
- Pokémon does this twice: once with the Eevee brothers (the yellow-haired one having a Jolteon, the redhead a Flareon, the blue-haired one a Vaporeon, and the one with brown hair has an unevolved Eevee) and once with brothers Cilan (green hair, grass), Chili (red hair, fire), and Cress (blue hair, water).
- El Hazard: the three great priestesses of Mt. Muldoon: Shayla Shayla is easily identifed as the priestess of fire, thanks to her flaming red hair. Miz Mishtal, who presides over water, has lavender hair. And while Afura Mann's a Brainy Brunette, her blue/sea green attire shows she controls wind.
- Pyro in many of the X-Men continuities will have red, spiky hair. Storm has long, white hair that defies gravity (except for the brief period where she had a white Mohawk).
- The characters of Golden Sun tend to fit this: Venus adepts have brown hair, Mars adepts that aren't from the Mars clan in Prox, especially Tyrell, have bright red hair, and Mercury adepts have blue hair. Three of the five or so visible Jupiter adepts, which combine both Shock and Awe and Blow You Away, have the blonde or white hair associated with those motifs, but purple is more generally used as an indicator of Jupiter affinity. In addition, when Light Psynergy comes into existence at the end of Dark Dawn, it is shown to be strongly affiliated with gold. However, it seems to be averted with the Umbra clan; neither of the two representatives whose hair is visible have black or purple hair.
- Kingdom Hearts gives us fire user Axel with spiky red hair, lightning user Larxene with blonde hair, brown haired Lexaeus uses earth, pink haired Marluxia uses flower, and blond haired Roxas uses Light. Outside the Organization, there's the three heroes of Birth by Sleep, brown haired Terra uses Earth and Darkness, blue haired Aqua uses Water and Light, and blond haired Ventus uses wind and light.
- Pokémon Black and White gives us Pansage, Pansear, and Panpour, which evolve into Simisage, Simisear, and Simipour. Pan/Simisage's hair is shaped like a bush, resembling the grass element. Pan/Simisear's hair is shaped like a flame, resembling the fire element. Panpour's hair resembles a water spout, and Simipour's hair has long, wavy hair, resembling the water element.
- Gym Leaders Cilan, Chilli and Cress have similar hairstyles with their respective monkeys too. Cilan has green hair shaped into a grass patch, Chilli has red hair shaped into a flame and Cress has blur hair with a wavey Peek-a-Bangs style.
- Kula Diamond from The King of Fighters normally has brown hair, but it turns light blue when she activates her cyrokinetic powers. On top of this, a few of her attacks suggest that her hair actually becomes ice, or at least takes on its properties.
- Gaia Online released an item by the name of Elemental Hair to apply to the owner's avatar with choices of fire, wind (and the softer, curlier breeze), earth, ice, water, and life - if you fancy the symbolic bird's nest and nest for hair.
- The Galilean Satellites of the webcomic Zap have this, with Io having literal Flaming Hair, Callisto (water/ice) having bright blue hair cut in a bob, Europa (wind) having long, white, Storm-esque wavy hair, and Ganymede (earth) having messy green hair.
- In Drowtales, there's a bit of this with the clan colors: Sarghress (red/shapeshifting (blood element)), Sharen (purple/summoning (supernatural element)), Beldrobbaen (black/flesh and darkness elements), Nal'Sarkoth (green/wood element), and so on.
- Gunnerkrigg Court. Antimony has very red (bordering on pink) hair and is associated with fire magic. She's eventually revealed to be descended from a fire elemental. Marcia has green hair, and she's a dryad.
- When Antimony is out-of-body, the hair is more vivid and trails behind like a red river - and when she uses blinker stone, it goes all the way to the stone. She also set her hair on fire when she wants to make a point about what she is (and/or show off).