With lengthy locks measuring 236.22 cm (7 ft 9 in), Smita Srivastava from Uttar Pradesh, India, has claimed the world record for the longest hair on a living person.
Smita, 46, has been growing her hair since she was 14. She was inspired by her mother, whose genes she credits the “healthy growth” of her hair to.
Smita also sought to emulate the style of Hindi actresses from the 1980s, who had “long and beautiful hair”.
“In Indian culture, goddesses traditionally had very long hair. In our society, it is considered inauspicious to cut hair, so that is why women used to grow hair,” Smita explained. “Long hair enhances the beauty of women.”
Smita usually washes her hair twice per week. The entire process – including washing, drying, detangling, and styling – takes up to three hours each time.
She spends 30-45 minutes washing it, then she dries it with a towel before using her hands to detangle it, which typically takes two hours to do.
“I lay a sheet down on which I detangle my hair while standing on my bed,” Smita said.
Once her hair is detangled and fully dried, she combs it before braiding it or tying it into a bun.
Afterwards, Smita collects any fallen hair from the sheet and keeps it in a plastic bag. “I have never thrown away my hair from the past 20 years,” she revealed.
Smita began collecting all her fallen-out hairs when she experienced a sudden “major” hair loss.
“The idea of throwing them away was saddening me. I started crying that I had such a hair loss,” Smita recalls.
“That was the first moment of my life that I did not throw away my hair.”
Sometimes her hair gets caught underneath her feet while she walks, causing it to break, so Smita makes sure to collect all those strands too.
“It has been 20 years now, and today I have a huge hair collection.”
The only time Smita has cut her hair was when she fell ill while pregnant with her second child; she trimmed off roughly one foot – reducing it to a length of six feet – to make it more manageable.
Smita says that whenever she goes outside with her hair down, people are “amazed”.
“They are unable to believe how one can have such long hair,” she said.
“People come to me, touch my hair, take pictures, take selfies with me, and they often enquire about the products I use, as my hair is beautiful.
“I tell them what I apply on my hair, and they express their intention to do the same to achieve healthy hair.”
Smita is overjoyed to now hold this Guinness World Records title, which she says she used to dream about. “God answered my prayers,” she said.
“I will take care of my hair as long as I can. I will never cut my hair because my life is in my hair.
“I want my hair to grow more and see how long I can manage it.”
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