Harry Potter Star Relives Painful Draco Malfoy Hair Transformation

Written by on June 6, 2023

Harry Potter franchise star Tom Felton recalls how unpleasant it was to achieve Draco Malfoy’s signature white hair. Based on the beloved books by author J.K. Rowling, the first Harry Potter film was released in 2001, introducing audiences to Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry, Rupert Grint’s Ron, and Emma Watson’s Hermione. Felton played Draco across all eight films in the franchise, serving as a secondary antagonist throughout Harry’s journey.


In his recent book, Beyond the Wand (via CinemaBlend), Felton recalls how painful it was to achieve Draco’s highly-specific blonde hair color in Harry Potter. According to the actor, it wasn’t as simple as just dying the hair once, with multiple treatments of peroxide and dye needed to achieve the look. Read the full excerpt from Felton’s novel below:

You had to act the part, but more importantly you had to look the part. They decided that they needed to see what I looked like with white hair. It meant the first of many bleaching that would become a staple in my life for the next ten years. It took longer than expected to establish my first Malfoy hairdo. You can’t just go from one color to another, especially when going lighter. It’s a matter of applying layers of peroxide and then topping up with tint. The peroxide burned my scalp the first time around. It felt like fire ants were nibbling at your scalp. Agony.

Then, they said they’d have to do it all again and I begged them not to. My plea fell on deaf ears: I was straight back in the hairdresser’s chair. It initially took six or seven rounds over a matter of days to achieve the color. It was important to the filmmakers that the coloring was just right. They needed to see how the Malfoy blonde looked next to the Weasley ginger or the Granger brown.

Related: What Happened To Draco Malfoy After Harry Potter Ended

How Tom Felton’s Draco Evolved In Harry Potter

As the first line of the excerpt from Felton’s book suggests, a lot of emphasis, initially, was placed on achieving each individual character’s appearance as it was described in the books. With the earlier Harry Potter films also being aimed at a younger audience and the actors themselves being quite young, the performances of Radcliffe, Watson, Grint, and Felton were less complex than they would eventually become. Felton’s Draco, for example, starts off as a fairly generic school bully.

Along with his child-actor counterparts, Felton’s performance evolves as the movies progress. While Draco remains an arrogant bully for many of the Harry Potter movies, the final few films in the franchise see the character struggling to find his place among the evil individuals in his company. Draco follows in the footsteps of his father, Lucius (Jason Isaacs), to become a Death Eater, but as is shown in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when he can’t bring himself to kill Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), his heart isn’t totally in it.

While Draco remains a mostly deplorable individual throughout the series of films, the conflict within him ultimately makes him an interesting villain to follow (even though this conflict is arguably under-explored). As is clear in his final moments in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Voldemort’s death allows him to head off with his mother to leave the Death Eater life behind. Draco may have started off as little more than a blonde-headed bully, but later Harry Potter films allow Felton to flex his muscles more as an actor.

Source: Beyond the Wand (via CinemaBlend)

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