"Long hair enhances the beauty of women.”
An Indian woman has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest hair on a living person.
Uttar Pradesh’s Smita Srivastava has hair measuring 236.22 cm (7ft 9in).
Smita has been growing her hair since she was 14, having been inspired by her mother.
The 46-year-old also sought to emulate the style of Hindi actresses from the 1980s, who had “long and beautiful hair”.
Smita said: “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.
“Long hair enhances the beauty of women.”
Smita typically washes her hair twice per week. The process includes washing, drying, detangling and styling, and takes up to three hours each time.
She spends up to 45 minutes washing it. Smita then dries it before using her hands to detangle it, taking around two hours.
Smita continued: “I lay a sheet down on which I detangle my hair while standing on my bed.”
After her hair is detangled and fully dried, she combs it before braiding it or tying it into a bun.
She then collects any fallen hair from the sheet and keeps it in a plastic bag.
Smita revealed: “I have never thrown away my hair from the past 20 years.”
She started collecting her fallen-out hair after she experienced a sudden “major” hair loss.
Smita recalled: “The idea of throwing them away was saddening me. I started crying that I had such a hair loss.
“That was the first moment of my life that I did not throw away my hair.”
The only time Smita cut her hair was when she fell ill while pregnant with her second child. She cut off approximately one foot to make it more manageable.
People are “amazed” when Smita goes outside with her hair down.
She said: “They are unable to believe how one can have such long hair.
“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.”
She is happy to break the Guinness World Record, which she says she used to dream about.
The Indian woman added: “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.”