Hairy distractions

Some TP readers think I have a hair fixation since I tend to harp on the subject in my recaps or reviews. But the truth is I don’t notice hairdos unless they are weird or downright awful.

Take Emperor of the Sea which I’ve been watching spellbound the last two days. Nine episodes in (and forty-two to go), I’m in love with the story and soundtrack, and awed by the production values. But then Choi Su-jong appears (and the guy has a lot of screen time since he’s the lead) and I’m once again distracted by that THING which is supposedly hair but looks more like shredded rags hastily stitched together.

I know. I would look pissed, too, if I had to walk around looking like that.

Why couldn’t he have shared the hairstylist responsible for this dual vision of awesomeness?

Maybe I should ask the PD directly. Because scene after Goong Bok scene and I’m none the wiser. In Episode 8 I thought I had finally nailed the reason. Of course his hair is unkempt; he’s after all a slave and a runaway one at that! But then I remember Chuno (aka Slave Hunter) and its abundance of slaves.

Sure, their clothes look rat-gnawed and their faces permanently mud-stained. But do they allow their hair to look like it hasn’t met a comb in ten years? Of course not. Not even with pressing concerns such as insurrection occupying their minds.

Look, even the one hunting their kind down is not too busy (or lovelorn) to forget to tame his hair and wrestle it into some semblance of tidiness. Whether he succeeds or not is beside the point.

The important thing is that he knows that some viewers are more nervous than others. Such viewers jump two feet into the air at the slightest sighting of anything scary.

Frightful-looking hair is scary. Everyone is in consensus there. It does not matter if the actor concerned is all spiffy in shades or a suit. If your skin crawls looking at his hair, your attention has just been called away from whatever story is unfolding on the screen.

In other words, you have just encountered a most hairy (and frightening) distraction.

Hair that is styled just right should not distract. In fact, we should not be paying attention to an actor’s hair in a drama. If we are, then we need to ask ourselves: “What is so distracting about his hair that I can’t focus on anything else?”

Is it because he looks oddly different this time? Thus leading some viewers to don sackclothes and wail the night away, hands pounding their chests? Which stupid stylist did this to their favorite actor, waah?!

Looking back, I think Thousand Years of Love was the first drama where a character’s hair freaked me out so much I had nightmares. Nightmares of bruised and bloodied roosters wearing lingerie, no less.

Thankfully the drama didn’t cause my So Ji-sub love to wane. If anything it strengthened it, because of his “suffering” then and even now. Google him and inevitably among the hundreds of so-hot-I’m-burning images you will find a few of him in that rooster hairdo.

That’s the Internet for you. It remembers. *cue sobering music*

Perhaps Only You was the second drama where I wanted to choke whoever styled the lead actor’s hair.

If you are an ajumma, you have every right to remind me of my aunt or mom. But not when you are the handsome lead with the soulful eyes!

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the hairstyle at first. But as the drama progresses, you begin to notice a change in the lead actor’s face, a sort of lengthening. Initially you can’t pinpoint what has happened, but soon the truth emerges. Or, to put it more bluntly, the forehead emerges. More and more of it, even though there was enough of that surface to begin with.

The higher the forehead grows, the closer the space between hair and ceiling. It’s like a force that can’t be quelled. In a scene of passion, as he leans in for a kiss, the first thing I see is that black and gleaming tower beckoning triumphantly to me.

It’s like the opening episode of Brilliant Legacy. The moment Lee Seung-gi steps into view, everything else fades away except for The Nest.

How do his co-stars keep a straight face when they stand in front of him? How do they refrain from searching his hair for hatchlings and nestlings? How?

And now someone else has come along to steal the title of Mr. Nest. Why, oh why?

I’ve have not watched 49 Days yet, but already I’m bracing myself. I hope his acting will blow me away so that I will not be distracted by THAT. In fact, I hope to grow to love that mop ardently. I can do that for you, Jung Il-woo, since I will forever have a soft spot for you because of Return of Iljimae.

Speaking of soft spots…

Hi there, Lee Min-ho! You know how you make me smile, don’t you?

Your hair in Boys Over Flowers, on the other hand…

Oh, never mind. It brought you fame so what’s to lament? Just promise me never to resurrect that hairstyle. Ever.

Another hairdo that I hope I won’t see again is Cha Seung-won’s in Best Love.

I don’t know how others interpreted it, but for me that style symbolized a hair house divided. Look at the opposing directions. And how did he get the eastbound strands to remain that way without rebelling (aided by annoying gusts of wind, what else?) and turning westbound? Such a mystery.

Or maybe it’s not that mysterious after all. Just credit it to hours and hours of styling.

For example, one of the things that struck me about my first kdrama (besides the amnesia, almost-incest, truck accidents, interfering parents, clingy exes, and wailing) was the time that must have gone into readying our lead actor’s hair for the camera. Every time there was a shot of him from the back, I could not help marveling at how coiffed his hair appeared. What did that say about his Min-hyung character, I wondered. If the lovebirds eventually married, would they have to fight for bathroom time? Maybe not, since hers was wash-and-go. And in one scene, after he had broken off with his ex and she was hugging him despairingly from behind, I was going, “Oh no, don’t you press your face into that hair; he’ll have a fit if you ruin it!”

Funnily, though, I didn’t fret as much watching His Smoldering Sexiness in my second kdrama.

His bangs were in his eyes all the time, but so what?

To conclude…

This is HOT.

This is NOT.

And this is A LOT.

Of yumminess, what else? Not the least bit distracting, too!

133 thoughts on “Hairy distractions

    • yes, eric’s hair in “myungwol” was terrible, it was really distracting. pity, since his acting there was pretty good, but his hair and clothes sucked to the high heavens.

      and just have to add: PIE!! ❤ so hot! yum!

    • I’ve not watched Spy Myungwol, but now you’ve given me a reason not to!😆

      Speaking of Eric… I was going to include him in the post but in the end decided his Strongest Chil-woo hairdo wasn’t as unkempt as Choi Su-jong’s in EOTS.

  1. worst k-drama hair in my opinion — song il gook in a man called god. i can’t believe there is a way to make him look ugly.

    thundie, don’t let the scheduler’s hair turn you off 49 days. it’s part of his quirky character and jung il woo is such a hoot, don’t let the hair distract you. actually, nam gyuri’s eyes bugged me more than any of the actors’ hairstyles:)

  2. I guess I’m the only one who likes CSJ’s hair in EOTS! Since it was my 1st drama of him lol! You gave me a good laugh thundie~ Song Il Guk’s AMCG hair was the reason I didn’t watch that drama!

  3. I laughed all the way through reading this piece..I can’t agree with you more..I don’t watch that many dramas on your list but the ones I watched that bothered me (the hair, that is)most are LMH n LSG! I thought I was the only one who has a problem with their hair!

  4. Omg, my tears were streaming down my cheeks I was laughing so hard! Stoked to discover that I’m not the only person who gets fixated on bad hair. And let’s face it, there is an abundance of questionable hairstyles in k-dramas!! The most recent hairstyles which have haunted me – and not in a good way – include:

    1) Ji Sung’s Brillo pad do in PTB
    2) Ji Chang Wook’s 80s-big-hair shoulder length perm in WBDS
    3) Lee Seung-Gi’s crazy perm in Gumiho

    And, yep, like you I couldn’t stop fixating on LMH’s croissant hair in BOF and Dokko Jin’s array of deeply unflattering hairdos in Greatest Love. Who’d have thought bad hair could make that much of a difference lol. What gives, stylists? Start talking to the fans and they’ll tell you what works (HOT, to quote Thundie) and what doesn’t (NOT)!

    Love love loved this article – haven’t laughed so hard in ages. Thank the Drama Gods I was not in a public place when I read it. Someone would have had me arrested for disturbing the peace with fits of noisy and uncontrolled mirth. thanks again, Thundie, for the laughs!

  5. That’s another reason why gat hats in sageuks are awesome – they completely eliminate the problem of hair… I gotta say, people in Joseon era had really nice hats.

  6. Oh yes hair definitely makes it or breaks it for me. Call me shallow but It’s one of the deciding factors for whether or not to watch a drama. Ironically, however, I adored both Lee Seung Gis’ and Jung Il Woos’ hair in their respective dramas.

  7. My tummy hurts from lauginh too much….Kim Ji Hoon’s expanding in stars was absolutely hilarious though some did have to actually point it out to me first for me to notice it first…also LMH’s perm for BOF was so perfect, it was like a piece of art….i just wish it wasn’t on his head though…..but the most annoying hair to me was Jang Geun Suk’s in MSOAN….that would have been perffect on a girl but on him it was all kinds of cringe-worthy….you know hair can also be distracting when it looks great on someone like LMH’s perm and fringe do’s for City Hunter

  8. Waaahahahaah! Thundie, you are the best for your hairy comments! I kept on laughing while I was reading your post! As Dany previously mentioned, Jung Il-woo is adorable as the Scheduler in 49 days to the point that his hair ain’t that distracting at all.

  9. HAHAHA.
    Thanks thundie. This brings back so many memories of staring at these hairstyles, shaking my head, and womdering WHY? The mysteries of “fashion” will never be solved, I guess.

  10. Hilarious! I’ll admit that when I started watching Kdramas one of the weirdest parts for me was the guys’ hair. (Loved your WS description!) Distraction describes it perfectly – I’m always like – how did they get their hair to DO that (and more importantly, WHY???) Sometimes they are freakishly bad (JSG and Jeremy of Your Beautiful, perhaps, or Yoon Sang Hyun’s bouffant in SG) but even Park Shi Hoo’s warrior style in TPM, which had me melting, also had me studying his coif and more than once trying to figure out how long it took to arrange that supposed haphazard look.

    Kristal, this is where we need your gifs! Although I doubt if anything could top that rooster look.

  11. Oh, you need to do Hairy Distractions Part II and not leave out the ladies!!!!

    LOVED it, laughed so hard! So true … are the stylists on acid? It irritates me enough in some dramas, I put my hand up to the screen and cover the hair up ….

    • Oooh, that’s an idea! Except… I can’t think of many female versions of hairy distractions. Need to run down the list of popular kdramas to try and remember whose hair bothered me.

      • As I recall, the girl in the scene above with Yonsoma made me do a cringe a few times in WS with all kinds of weird curls going on. Park Jin Hee’s straight bangs with long frizzy hair in TWWSWTM annoyed me no end, and as much as I liked CYHMH, her bowl cut was seriously distracting. But in general, I’d say the women fair much better in the drama hair department.

      • Hands down, worst female hair was the leading lady’s in Paradise Ranch (that was the title, right? Changmin co-starred). It was like she stuck her finger in an electrical socket.

      • The question on Hairy Distractions of the Female Kind is not what hairstyles, but which one is the absolute worst.

        Let’s start with Gong Hyo Jin in Greatest Love (and Pasta). I’m not sure what that under-combed, under-styled hot mess is called, but on Ae Jung it screams “I’m letting my hair grow out after an incident involving bubble-gum and Ding Dong.”

        One of my favorite dramas, Last Scandal of My Life, has Choi Jin Shil sporting an ahjumma hairstyle as Hong Sun Hee that even an ahjumma wouldn’t wear.

        Outside of the sageuks, pick any hairstyle in any drama of Goo Hye Sun’s: she also manages to mostly look a little (LOT) understated on the red carpet: in about 20 shots I adore her hair, the rest of the time, I think they go for a unkept pixie look, unfashionable country girl look, or some version of unstylish style. The girl is beautiful and it’s time she looked it.

        There’s so many, old, new, in-between …. Hwang Jung-eum in Do You Hear My Heart, Jang Nara in My Love Patzzi (not so much a hairstyle as a set piece for her to express her anger by blowing it off her face), Son Yeh Jin in Personal Taste, Park Joon Geum in Secret Garden (Joo-won, ahem, Hyun Bin’s, mama), and so on and so on … Pictures would take up several posts alone!

  12. Also Yonsama’s hair looks like someone drew it! like you can see every single strand….now I understand the discussion on DB abt how some folks feel like the guy isn’t even real…spooky!

  13. Haha! Thundie, I know I can always count on you for some laughs and you are definitely hilarious. It’s past 2 a.m now and I am getting internal injury , trying to stifle my laughter in order not to wake up my family.

    Some hairstylists seem to be paid to follow the development of the story while some seem oblivious.

    For instance, in Miss Ripley, Park Yu Chun started the show as a young man mesmerised with the female lead character . And the hairstylist gave him a full mop drapping over his wide forehead. Looks youngish and boyish. Suitable for a boy madly in love. With the mop , you can’t tell that Yu Chun was born with a forehead the size of a football field.

    Then his character became an active businessman and the hairstylist had to expose his birthmark and lopped off those hairy dead cells to make him look credible in business suits.

    Any scriptwriter would love this hairtsylist.

    If you contrast that with Lee Min Ho in City Hunter, the hairtsylist must be fixated on hair jabbing the eyes .Or he is sleeping on the job as LMH’s hair style looks the same when the character he plays was 21 years old in Thailand or 28 in Korea. Maybe it looks a bit curly in Thailand from the mud, the sweat and the bloody scenes. But it is still his head hair meeting his eye lashes 24/7 throughout the whole show despite the time difference.Whether he was styling on a boy astride an elephant or a PhD holder working in the President’s office, the hairtsylist only wielded a comb for 2 0 episodes. Never his imagination.

    Looks like easy money.

    In my next life, I want to be reborn as a hair stylist for K drama productions.

    • Oh, but I love LMH’s hair in City Hunter! The kind that you want to run your fingers through… unlike Yonsama’s hair in Winter Sonata!

      • I love his hair too. I was aslo fascinated by how precisely his hair was kept right out of his eye the whole three months. I want his haircutter. Most haircutters cut off 3 inches when you say 3 centimeters.

  14. HAHAHA!
    I must admit, though, that even though the hair looked great on Yoo Ah In, I was always watching it to see if it moved. And it didn’t. The part was always perfect.

    A lot of people had trouble with Lee Seung Gi’s hair in Brilliant Legacy but I didn’t. It wasn’t very nice but it wasn’t distracting.

    Thundie, what do you think about Ryu Shi Won’s hair? His hairstyle in “Beautiful Days” was something he had for years. I means years and years and years. Does he go on this list?

    • He’s definitely on my list! What a mop head.

      I just burst out laughing watching episode 17 of A Thousand Kisses due to Ji Hyeon-woo’s hair. It looks like the stylist grabbed the hair at the crown of his head with her hands full of product and pulled straight out and then left it that way. Please tell me that some accidental shut eye from either him or the stylist is responsible for this hairdo!

    • Eep! I rewatched Beautiful Days as well so that I could screencap LBH for this post. After grabbing a few screencaps, I was looking for more when RSW appeared. The moment I saw his hair, I hit Stop and fled to the hills.

  15. Thundie ~

    Ha! I laughed and laughed and laughed, thank you!

    Now you need to write a piece containing equal snarkiness about the hair of women in K-Dramas. What is it with these women with both beautiful hair and beautiful faces/skin wearing horrible ‘dos?

    The girl lead in The Fugitive looked like the business end of a mop. Don’t even get me started on the K-bang trend: hair parted at the back of the head and brought forward to the eyebrows or lower. One big “plunk” of hair. Guess I have “hair envy.” I would wear a snazzy, sexy, style with their gorgeous hair, faces, and skin. Not the blunt, “plunk” of hair on my forehead you see so much of on K-TV.

  16. I started laughing at the first paragraph. I started watching EotS this week, (on ep 12 now), and I’ve been so distracted by The Hair! Every episode I wonder when they’re going to pull his hair back, or even just comb it!

  17. my biggest hair distraction is totally Gu Jun Pyo’s hair, his curl looked unnatural, even ajumma has better curls than him😛

  18. Thank you for this fun post – it really made me laugh.

    Based on the pics I think The Man Called God has the worst hair and I completely agree on the perfectly coiffed hair of BYJ in WS (which also was my first drama).

    I think SJS’s hair in What Happened in Bali was also bad (but nowhere as bad as the examples in the pics)

  19. pffffft bwhahahhahahah!!
    this article made me lmao!
    just wanted to say you forgot all about Jang Geun Suk and Lee Hong Ki’s abominable hairstyles in Your are beautiful

    Jang geun suk –>


    Lee Hong Ki –>


    oh and i absolutely hated stars falling from the sky, it has the MOST HATED second female lead ever! and i cant forgive what they did to this man’s hair! –>

    • Man, imagine if this was the hairdo in Wish Upon A Star.😀

      I was so smitten with YAB when it was airing I didn’t mind the outrageous hairdos there. But now that I’m looking at the pics again…😯

      • JGS in general is a hairy distraction. Based on his appearance at the stadium in Japan, I do believe he is currently channeling A Man Called God. His coifs always leave me seriously perplexed……

      • hahaaha ikr! if this was the hairstyle in stars falling from the sky, then i would have atleast enjoyed it a little bit..and i know what you mean about YAB..the hair was a distraction at first but the awesomeness of the drama totally made up for it😀

    • Wait! You forgot JGS slick hair style. HAHAHAHA!!😄

      Oh no waiit, he actually have lots more ‘distracting’ hairstyle on You’re Beautiful. I can’t remember any look from that drama which made me thank drama gods for finally doing his hair right.

    • What about Hong-ki’s weirdo bun in YB?

      I actually rewound the first time I saw it to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!

      Thundie – you rock. This article made me glad I wasn’t drinking anything whilst reading it!

  20. the hair is important yo. my love of lee min ho seems to be directly correlated to how good his hair is. in BOF I could not stand him and didn’t see the appeal that had everyone squealing and thus fixated on kimbum. in personal taste, my curiosity was piped solely because of the hair and he thawed me. city hunter, I’m a goner. perfection:) the schedulers hair actually looks alot worst in pictures but its very true to his character so don’t let it turn you off! the hair always corresponds with the overseas travels and time leaps in kdramas so it’s understandable it creates a panic when not done right:)

  21. Lmao… So Ji Sub’s hair in I’m sorry I love you. Sometimes it distracted me, others not (maybe because he was using a hat almost all the time… )

    I remember also What’s up fox? CJM’s hair LOL I didn’t even recognize him because of that:

    Then had ”The duo” omg… so ugly. That hair.. I can’t even…

    I also laughed everytime I saw Jeremy and his ugly/weird hairstyles in YAB…

      • ooooh but i liked SJS’s hair in MiSa! it was sexy *droool*
        and SJS was my first ahjushi crush

        weird so ji sub :S –>

        p.s. i am sorry for posting the links..i dont know how to insert pics in the comments..

        • How could you guys even diss SJS’s Misa hair?! Ok so maybe the beginning mophead look when he was in Australia but later it looked ok.

          Like he he looks decent here, right?

          Well, look what you’ve done! Now you’ve made him and Im Soo Jung cry. Happy??

          His hair in Bali was sooo much worse. In the beginning it was bearable but once they spiked and gelled it! YIKES!

          Let’s just forget all that and focus on this instead:

          (that’s more like it!)

        • Hi Uj (@UJjaejoong), thanks for the pics! Could you repost some of the links since they are not valid anymore? I will embed the pics for you. Thank you!

        • @UJ: lol lol lol This one of SJS is really funny, is hair.. I can’t even…

          SJS hair in Misa, sometimes it was too messy, other it was sexy, others it looked like a nest…


  22. Thundie!!!!!!!

    Oh Why did you remind me of the terrible, horrible, abominable, repulsive hair on Song Il Gook for A Man called God? Why? I had just forgotten about it. It made me skip episodes (which I never do) as I couldn’t stand it! And my adoration for Song Il Gook drastically reduced because of it. Now I have to undergoe hypnosis so that I can forget the hairstyle again thank you very much.

    Actually I don’t mind Choi Su-jong’s hair in EOtS as I took it in context that he is a slave and he kinda looks cute and young for his age.

    I found Chae So Woong’s hair in Best Love to be interesting different from the usual men’s style but how they got the hair to face and stay in opposite directions is beyond me.

  23. Well, in YAB at least the hair was a running joke. But as much as I adore EotS, yeah…not so much CSJ’s hair. Now, SIK and M&M – well, you see where I come by my long haired fighting men in black issues.

    I think KJH’s hair in Stars Falling from the Sky may be the worst because it got proceedingly more horrific. But anyone with orange hair may actually win the worst award. Somewhere in my brain is an image of Jang Hyuk with dyed hair that is so bad that I can’t even bring myself to try to remember what drama it was from.

  24. HAHAHA! OMFG. I can’t stop laughing after reading this post!!😄 Thanks for writing this post. It’s so hilarious I forgot that I was sleepy just a minute ago.😄

    I think you forgot to include Ji Sung’s curly ‘do in Protect the Boss.😄 Seriously, why did they have to ruin Ji Sung’s very manly image to meeee??? >.<

    Anyway yea, I dunno what's gotten to me (umm, maybe to all of us) but Moon Jae Shin's bird nest hair is totally hot, hot, hot!!😄

  25. I laughed until I cried. Seriously.😄

    I remember all the greasy hairdos on the men in the 90’s. I remember watching Love Is In Your Embrace and being constantly distracted by Cha In Pyo’s greasy head.

    OMG, cookies to anyone who remembers this hilarious scene:

    And you can’t forget Ahn Jae Wook’s famous ‘do in Star In My Heart…

    Or Choi Jin Shil’s “makeover” moment in the same show, where she came out with the most awful hairstyle. She looked like Astro Boy.

    But really, it’s the good folks of 90’s K-pop who take the cake when it comes to hair.

    • Is that Eugene in that last pic?! LOL
      The Star in My Heart hair on Ahn Jae Wook was bad but it just seemed like a product of the time so I shrugged it off. Especially considering the cheesy music which was even more distracting. 😉

  26. Hahaha! Give me more of this pleeeeeeeeeeease! I want to overdose on this profound study of men’s hair styling in Kdramaland!
    Great post, but hey… that’s the standard here @ T’sP!
    Thx again!😉

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