Link has ventured to both far off lands and places old and familiar throughout the Legend of Zelda franchise, and his costuming has always been a mainstay. The image of his green tunic, long hat, shimmering swords and shields and occasional pants wash people over with waves of nostalgia and inspire players old and new to believe in the heroes within themselves. In celebration of the launch of the 20th main series entry with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we’re ranking the most distinguished feature of the Hero of Time’s appearance: his hair.
Those golden locks are being ranked in this list here along with the help of the massive collection of concept art in the brick of a book published by Nintendo and Dark Horse Comics titles “Legend of Zelda: Arts & Artifacts.” Honorable mentions include Link’s transformation mask forms into those of a Goron, a Deku and a Zora. They’re excluded from this list because we frankly don’t have the slightest idea how to judge the quality of what looks like hairstyles on a hobbling weed, a rock bigfoot, or a bipedal fish.
Feathered Quip, Volumized (A Link to the Past, Legend of Zelda, Adventure of Link, Oracle of Seasons/Ages, Link’s Awakening)
This being the oldest possible version of Link’s hairstyle always proves to be the most classic. Long, but shockingly stable bangs are contrasted with sideburns easily mistaken for pigtails until Link’s hat is removed and you realize “Oh, wait. Nope. He actually cuts it like that.” These defining, mighty sideburns would go on to signify Link’s distinctive appearance in every game following, making him more than some character that may vaguely look like an elf of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
One does have to wonder if the sideburns have been largely exaggerated, as the actual view of this version of Link was rarely ever seen from any perspective other than from above. In 1991, his hair was even depicted in the color pink to contrast strongly against the exorbitant amount of green in Hyrule shaded so similarly to his tunic. Even without screaming loudly as he slashed his sword, this hair made him stick out like a sore thumb.
Read More: Analyzing the Gameplay Preview of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Waxed Curtains (Ocarina of Time / Majora’s Mask)
Draped over both sides of the forehead, the Waxed Curtains signify a departure in style and hair treatment for our hero. Something a little more manageable for the road, but nevertheless maintaining the heroic swagger with a subtle ’90s, undoubtedly young Leo inspired flare. What’s so especially amazing about this style is the insane amount of wax that goes into Link’s hair that it not only is able to hold its body through dungeons of extreme temperatures, but even while being submerged in water completely held its shape, and is even capable of transcending time.
Pom The Door (Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Tri-Force Heroes)
Toon Link manages to maintain the pompadour quaff with an anti-ocean/salt holding spray. Before hopping onto the King of Red Lions, Link is sure to spray the heck out of his hair so as to not look like a crazy person when attempts to save the princess. This style is particularly known for its “bloom effect”, as it absorbs almost any natural light possible like a soft solar panel. No doubt, the Link of this Hero of Winds Timeline was able to sustain hair with the health of ocean water and a very particular soup elixir that remained a well-kept family secret.
Read More: ‘The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’ Has The Series’ Greatest Ending
The Schnauzer (Twilight Princess)
Link seriously stepped up his hair game for this cool and brooding installment of the franchise. The general shape of the A Link to The Past style is retained but is modernized by diminishing the volume and size while adding a holding wax to the ends of the hair up top and at the bottom of this on point in length sideburns. Even in a game where he turns into a wolf as an alternate form to shake things up, the masculine, yet super emo form to his dirty blond hair still stops you in your tracks and makes you say “Wow that’s badass.”
The Forward Bush (Skyward Sword)
Our hero struggles to find any sense of style OR substance with his hair here. Frankly, it looks almost as if he fell asleep after the events of Twilight Princess (although chronologically this literally makes no sense) and left all of the product overnight, woke up, and then proceeded to embark on his journey. His hair looks flat and lifeless, like the entirety of the game itself. Sorely disappointed by Skyward Sword Link, and Skyward Sword in general. He has so many items at his disposal in this game, more than any Zelda game before it, and he can’t even make space for a comb. He literally keeps his hair in less good shape than his pet bird in this game.
Wild Breath Bangs (Breath of the Wild)
Breath of the Wild’s Link seriously brings the style back in full force, however, pulling iconic elements from various cuts of the franchise. Link works his hair here in a way that rivals the modernized A Link To The Past, Twilight Princess style, and it’s all because of those grade A sideburns. The most crucial element of design when it comes to Link’s hair are those happenin’ burns. This is why at some angles, the Ocarina of Time ‘do didn’t work as well, because those ‘burns weren’t happenin’ as much!
They’re there, obviously, because Link wouldn’t be Link without those happenin’ burns, but if omitted altogether, he would be looking like a member of O-Town. Breath of the Wild’s Link exaggerates the length of the Twilight Princess cut, retaining that modernized sheik, but there’s something more raw and WILD about it. It’s looking like the elements and grit are working their way into those roots, and that’s cool. I’d say he applies no more than a cheap, light wax before hitting the trail.
Con Air Moment (Tears of the Kingdom)
In the wake of the success of the Super Mario Bros Movie, this is Link’s chance to shoot his shot as a big potential action movie star. With all eyes on Tears of the Kingdom, Link prepared his inner Kevin Costner. The inspired Orlando Bloom look of the early 2000s. His emulation of Nicholas Cage in Con Air. He is ready to take on the evils lurking under Hyrule with an elegant blonde mane, held with plenty of volumizing conditioner and Hanz De Fuko product, plenty of big sexy hair spray, and naturally dried while riding one of his many equine companions along the shoreline. This is Link’s ultimate form, prepared to take on the forces of Ganondorf with his longest cut to date.
Will you be picking up The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom? What outfits do you hope are unlockable throughout Link’s newest adventure? Let us know in the comments and our Discord server!
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo of America