Kaleidoscope Hair

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Hair Colors are an easy way to distinguish one person from another at a glance. At times, it might drive a person to dye or even bleach their own hair to change its color (blonde is a common goal, due to the stereotypes of it being more glamorous). But some people aren't satisified with just one hair color. Oh no. Their hair has to keep changing color frequently. The new shade can be common, implausible, or even outright impossible. The changes must happen a number of times, and they may be justified by use of hair dye, or any sort of Applied Phlebotinum—up to and including actual Magic (though it's not necessarily a case of Magic Hair). It doesn't even have to happen to real hair, so characters who constantly swap wig colors come under this trope.

The color changes may pass without comment from others in the work, or drive someone up a wall trying to figure things out. Sometimes, even the subject of the changes might not appear to notice or care; in other cases, they might be pleased. The changes can be accompanied by a makeover, but this is less likely if they take place regularly or are a result of mood swings. Hilarity can ensue if the character hates what happens to their hair while being powerless to stop it.

This trope can occur in any medium, but some are more common than others (e.g. video game examples are near non-existant). Naturally, this includes Real Life, though due to the effects of repeated dyeing [1] most people don’t do it. Due to happening many times on a single person, it isn’t a type of Expository Hairstyle Change. Usually.

Compare Kaleidoscope Eyes for the same thing in a different place, and Multicolored Hair, which is strictly about hair that is simultaneously of multiple colors/shades. Of course, the two tropes may overlap sometimes. Compare and contrast Expressive Hair, when the hair changes style. Supertrope to Power Dyes Your Hair, where the color change only occurs due to a transformative power-up.

One of the Common Mary Sue Traits, along with being a way to give someone a Distinctive Appearance. See also Locked Into Strangeness, for permanent hair colour changes. May be a result of someone just wanting to be special or Anime Hair (where it can overlap with You Gotta Have Blue Hair). Voluntary Shapeshifters often have this, as can some stereotypes of teenagers.

Examples of Kaleidoscope Hair include:

Anime and Manga

  • When Light and L confront each other in Death Note, or meet each other on the street, Light shines a deep, blood-like red, and L an almost naval blue. Sometimes this appears as a tiny aura around their bodies, other times their hair and eyes glow that color. Their hair color can also indicate mood.
  • Motoko in Change 123 has three Split Personalities. When she switches between them, many of her physical features change, including hair color.
  • Fujiko Mine of Lupin III, who between three TV series, five feature films, and several Made-For-TV Movies has gone through various shades of blonde, brunette, and red. Sometimes it's as part of her role as a Master of Disguise, but it usually comes with no explanation other than Depending on the Artist.
  • Sekia in the Suite Pretty Cure series has hair which is a different color in all of her appearances (sometimes it's even more than one color at once).

Comic Books



  • Harry Potter:
    • Tonks often changes her hair color; it is usually a shade of bubblegum, but can turn ginger when she’s angry, gray for a disguise, or any number of other colors at her every whim. Justified as she is a metamorphmagus.
    • Her son is also a metamorphmagus. Lupin mentions that Teddy had black hair when he was born, and it turned ginger by the time he'd left. Later in the book, he shows someone a picture of Teddy with turquoise hair.
  • In Warbreaker the Royal Locks, the sign of Idrian royalty, change color according to the owner's mood. It also can be grown out at will.
  • Acheron Parthenopaeus from The Dark Hunters series can change his hair color at will. So far it's been black, brown, green, purple, platinum silver, and black with red streaks, among others. Justified, since he is an Atlantean god.
  • Danestar Gems in the Federation of the Hub stories always has the same hair colour as her clothes; she uses wigs, which (since she's employed by a detective agency) are usually packed with surveillance gadgets.
  • One possible power in Xanth is changing your hair color.
  • My Sweet Audrina by V. C. Andrews notes that the women of the Adare (except Vera, a redhead) are born with what they call "chameleon hair", which appears to change colours according to the light.

Live-Action TV

  • Beka from Andromeda has Nanomachines that can change her hair to any colour she wants.
  • Mrs Slocumbe from Are You Being Served wears wigs, but every one is a different color.
  • Enforced in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Dobie's actor (Dwayne Hickman) was made to dye his hair blonde in order to distance him from a previous role. When the show was well established, he was allowed to return to his natural brown hair color; however, at times he had to go blonde again.
  • Jool in Farscape is a Parody Sue with hair that changes color depending on her mood.
  • Christine Nelson (from Degrassi) dyes her black hair bleach blonde in season 8. In season 9 she inexplicably now has red and blonde hair. (To be fair, the character IS a hairdresser. It's likely that she frequently experiments with hair styles.)


  • Sonika of a Vocaloid is able to change her green hair color according to her Twitter messages.
  • Britney Spears has dyed her hair many colors over the years, though blonde has always been predominant.

Tabletop Games

Video Games


  • The title character in the Star Trek Parody Sue comic Ensign Sue Must Die has hair highlights that change color in every strip.
  • This happens to Nanase (whose hair turns black when her magic burns out) and Susan (when she goes through an angst-induced awakening) in El Goonish Shive.
  • Ping from Megatokyo can change her appearance in response to user feedback. The most obvious changes are to her hair. So far, she's had pale grey, hot pink, and turquoise.
  • For a long time, Peejee from Something*Positive would have constantly changing hair, until Randy got tired of changing it.
  • minus's hair changes from strip to strip, ranging from red to blue and green without comment – then again, she is omnipotent. It adds to her surreality.
  • Flipside has Crest's wizard girlfriend who can change her hair's color and style based on her emotions.

Web Original

  • In the later Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series "Marik's Council of Doom" videos, Dartz's hair changes color between almost every cut (as a parody of the below mentioned Coiffio).
  • The Marquess from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making uses magic to change her hair color at will.
  • One Harry Potter fanfic has the twins pour potion in the Slytherins' food that makes their hair change color with a popping sound every few hours.
  • When Obscurus Lupa released her commentary for Undefeatable, her first video review, she explained that she has been changing her hair color regularly for most of her life, and that her first few videos (including Undefeatable) caught her at a rare moment when she had returned to her natural color.

Western Animation

  • Not surprisingly, Professor Crazyhair in Yakkity Yak.
  • In |Hercules, Hades's hair turns from blue to bright orange whenever he is angry. Since his hair is made of fire, this is justified.
  • Parodied in Perfect Hair Forever – Coiffio has a Super Saiyan-esque hairdo that continuously changes colors.
  • Subverted with Roger from American Dad, who has a collection of wigs that he swaps around for roleplaying. Many of them are different in color.
  • Tuesday from The Xs has hair that is constantly changing color, sometimes in-between scenes.
  • Total Drama Island: Gwen has alternating shades of light teal, black, and dark teal, though her status as the show's Goth means it's probably a dye job.
  1. that is, hair becoming rough, bleached, falling out, losing oils, breaking, and generally becoming a pain to care for and style,