07 February 2013


Crimes of Hair in Korean Dramas

Posted by lafer on February 07, 2013
You don't have to look long to find crimes of hair in Korean dramas. I personally know someone who said they could not watch Boys Over Flowers because of Lee Min Ho's hair. Well, ok....I admit that was me.  I found it so distracting that I could not move on to episode 2. But the crimes I'm talking about here are not bad styling, because everyone has their favorite examples of those (Hwang Jung-Eum in Can You Hear My Heart, or the entire cast of Full House Take 2 to name a few).  No, I'm talking about crimes against hair as in just plain crazy bad drama making.  Or in other words, random hair changes that no one is supposed to notice.
Now these changes fall into several categories:


I think I first became aware of this phenomenon while watching Goong when Yul's hair changed from that ever popular reddish brown to a darker, more natural shade around episode 14. I thought it was really strange at the time - both the reddish color and the fact that he just showed up one day with a different hair color. Maybe I could be a little more forgiving if it was a woman.  Little did I know that it would be a common occurrence for hair, on actors and actresses alike, to change to multiple shades of reddish brown throughout a drama.  Guess what?  No one mentions it.

Obviously, there is no shame in letting people know you color your gray hair in South Korea.  Or in having 3" gray roots showing.  Me, I start to show some gray the size of a pinstripe and I'm off for a dye job, but these acting veterans have amazing will power to hold off on the coloring and then pick the most random times to do it.  One such transformation was during an early episode of The Third Ward, when the father shows up at the hospital with  graying temples, and in the course of a five minute meeting comes out with newly (and poorly) dyed brown hair. Who knew you could get a medical consult and a color at a hospital?

                                                                 The CONFUSED PART

Sometimes actors like to change it up just enough to make a subtle difference, like changing their part from one side to the other.  But mid conversation?  While it's true that No Min Woo played an otherworldly creature with supernatural powers in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, I think he could have put his powers to better use than by messing with viewers' minds as he changed his part not once but twice during one conversation. I literally had to rewind to assure myself I wasn't losing it.  (Of course, that was a minor offense compared to what he was forced to do to his head for FHT2...)


Ever see a drama where someone gets extensions and goes from short to long hair with no mention of it?  (I'm talking about you, Ah Rheum, from I Miss You.)  Or where someone takes a girl and gives her a makeover including a hair cut, but the next time you see her it's back to her old length, aka My Princess?  Hair can magically grow in Kdramas. Honestly, I'm still not convinced that it wasn't Ah Rheum's secret twin taking over in I Miss You. Anything was possible with that drama!


This is a close cousin to the Confused Part.  This happens when someone's hair is pulled back with a tendril on one side, but next time you see them, it's gone. Then it's back.  But wait - it's on the other side!  Recently while watching A Wife's Credentials the lead had her hair neatly pulled up, then a big piece hanging down, then neat again, then a piece down again.....in the course of a 1 minute conversation.  Seriously, where is the editing department?  If the hair doesn't match, can't you just edit her out of the picture and do a close up of the guy? (Sorry for the bad pictures...maybe they were counting on the dark and thinking no one would notice!)


Almost no drama is complete without the cast hairstyle change midway through.  I'm NOT talking about ones associated with a time jump (which is a lot better then when it's a 2 year time jump and no one has changed their hair.) No, I mean when the hair gets a shorter, cuter style or at the very least goes from curly to straight a la Full House. It's almost like a rite of passage - hey, we've made it halfway through this drama, we deserve a new hairstyle! It's an often used ploy, maybe to keep us from getting bored?  And sometimes it's desperately needed (Protect the Boss is a perfect example.)

The amazing thing is, 99 times out of 100, no one in the drama mentions it. If I was one of the actresses, they'd have to muzzle me to keep me from shouting out mid-scene "YAA!  I got a new hairstyle! You're supposed to be in love with me but you don't notice?  What about you, best friend?  Big improvement, don't you think?"

Maybe the guys don't notice because they're too busy thinking of their own new do's.  Can't you just hear Ji Sung thinking, "Hey, what about me? Do you remember what I used to look like?"

And then there's Jaejoong: "Don't forget me!  I got a pretty big boy makeover, too!"

Maybe it is bad manners to comment on hair changes in South Korea. But given the amount of money, time and effort they seem to put into their hair, I find that doubtful.  All I know is that there are plenty of Kdrama watchers who are very interested in hair, so if the drama makers think we won't notice, they're wrong!  How about you, readers?  Have you noticed any I've missed?

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