In the southern part of China and a thousand miles from Beijing is the Red Yao Community, which is also a branch of the Yao ethnic minority in the country. It is a famous village as the female residents there who partake in the Longji Rice Terraces tradition let their hair grow uninterrupted throughout their lives. They cut their hair only once.
The meaningful cut happens when the woman reaches 18 years old. They believe that the longer their hair, the longer they will live. In a report published by fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue, the cutting of their hair is a public ceremony. Unmarried women use a headscarf to tuck in their hair while married women can opt for a wrapped-up style, showing a large bun.
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The female residents share that their hair needs special maintenance, which is washing using rice water with a combination of other organic ingredients. They believe that it is the reason for the natural luster and shine of their pitch-black hair.
Photographer Cameron Hack shared via British media company Unilad that every strand that is lost during washing and brushing is kept by the woman. Hack learned of this when he visited the area. Although it may seem taxing for others, it only shows how much the women consider their hair as something “precious.”
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During his visit, Hack spoke to a 61-year-old mother, whose hair measured 160cm. She said that she has hardly any grey hair. Even her daughters have decided to follow in her footsteps. “It was important for me to have long hair in order to marry him,” the woman said of her husband.
The mother even said that the cut-off hair is still wrapped together with her living strands inside the black cloth that covers her head. She said she washes her hair every two or three days.