Long Hair Village

During our recent trip to China, we often heard tales about a village in the south where a small group of special women live. What makes these women particularly respected and fascinating to the Chinese people, and increasingly the rest of the world, is their ability to grow hair that is very black and extremely long.

Meet the women of Red Yao village,
a smaller ethnic group from Haungluo in South and South/west China and Vietnam.  The "red" is a reference to their hand woven clothes intricately woven over many years.

Their location is traditional, beautiful, remote and is a region well known for producing some of the world's longest hair.  As a result, the Guinness Book of World records, has name it  the "World's first long hair village" . 

Yeo_women_in_river 
The Red Yao women believe the length of a female's  hair is her most prized possession and as a result have a facinating approach relating to hair- it's social status, symbolism and grooming:- 

The average women's hair length is 1.7 metres - 2.1 metres.
Hair is cut only once as the search for a husband begins approx 16-18 y.o.
On the wedding day the groom must untie the hair within the bridal chamber.
Her hair cut is given to her grandmother to be made into an ornamental hairpiece.
When she is married the hairpiece is gifted back to the groom and later becomes part of her everyday wear.

Red Yao woman’s hair is made of three bunches.
One that grows every day, the other is the cut headpiece
One third is made from the falling strings of hair collected every day.
They all come together to form elaborate hairstyles which represent the social status of the bearer.
yeomix_pic


HAIR SYMBOLISM

A bun worn to the  front indicates she has a child.
A woman with two or more children proudly wear the supreme “Wulongpanfa” hairstyle with an embroidered black scarf which symbolizes a growing family. 
 
Her hair should only be seen by a woman's husband and children.

front bunpic

The YAO HAIRCARE 
ROUTINE

Very simple - hair is groomed using only a wooden comb and washed in rice-water (the residue left after washing rice).
 
The women experience very little grey hair as a result of using the rice-water.
 
The women believe that long hair brings longevitywealth and good fortune.

yeo_womenPhoto: Xinhua/Lu Boan

The Red Yao community do not donate hair for commerical use.

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