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A duo (often a romantic couple) whose contrasting hair colors signify their opposing world-views. Said hair colors are usually blond and black or dark brown, but it can just as well be red and black, or blond and blue--the important bit is the contrast. Their respective personalities are then typically defined as follows:

  • The fair-haired partner is the "good" one: younger, bright, hopeful, enthusiastic, naive, helpful, innocent, tends to follow the rules
  • The dark-haired partner is the "bad" one: older, moody, testy, serious, cynical, often relishes in Angst and their Dark and Troubled Past, tends to break the rules and snap

The two of them oftentimes have a shaky and volatile relationship due to their great difference in temperament and worldview. The Fair-haired partner often has to push at the Dark-haired partner to even get the relationship going in the first place. There's often a reason lurking in the Dark-haired partner's past to explain their hesitance, be it a failed relationship, abuse from their family, or simple shyness. Other times, the Dark-haired partner is just testier and not necessarily angsty. They may just be easily frustrated with their hyperactive partner's antics.

Ultimately, however, the Opposites Attract.

This is particularly a staple in lesbian romance fiction, where common pairings include a "good blonde" and a "bad brunette". A common inversion found in recent works features a slightly altered setup:

  • The Blonde becomes an (implied) Phenotype Stereotype, who, while still cheerful and clueless, gains traits like frankness, openness, inventiveness, and ignorance of proper etiquette
  • The Brunette becomes an (implied) Proper Lady, who, while still moody and cynical, becomes more reserved, well-mannered, and manipulative

Compare the Seme and Uke dynamics in Boys Love genre and the One Head Taller rule of thumb to recognize them. Also compare Red Oni, Blue Oni. Contrast Betty and Veronica, which is about romantic rivals with opposite personalities and physical traits, while this trope is specifically about duos/couples, not Triang Relations.

Examples of Hair Contrast Duo include:

Anime and Manga


Live Action TV

  • The BBC's Sherlock: Dark haired Sherlock, blond John.

The BBC's Merlin : Dark haired Merlin, blond Arthur

Video Games

Visual Novels

Web Comics

  • Penny and Aggie.
  • Grey Is inverts this. Black with his rash personality and quick temper has white hair while calm introspective White has black hair.

Western Animation