Since 2018, Nilanshi Patel, from Modasa, Gujarat, India, has held the Guinness World Records title for the longest hair on a teenager.
At the time, she was 16 years old, and her hair measured 170.5 cm (5 ft 7 in).
Last July, just before her 18th birthday, Nilanshi’s hair was measured for the last time and reached an incredible 200cm (6ft 6.7 inches), securing her the iconic title for the longest hair ever on a teenager as well.
She decided to stop having haircuts when she was six following a bad experience at the hairdressers.
She stuck by her decision for twelve years and previously described her long hair as her “lucky charm”.
But after growing her hair for over a decade and earning three Guinness World Records titles, Nilanshi made the decision to cut off her locks.
“My hair gave me a lot – because of my hair I am known as the ‘real life Rapunzel’… now it’s time to give it something back,” Nilanshi said.
It took Nilanshi a while to decide what she was going to do with her hair after she had cut it. She was deliberating between three options; auctioning it off, donating it to charity, or donating it to a museum.
She discussed the decision with her mother, Kaminiben, who pointed out that that Nilanshi’s story and record-breaking hair was made to inspire people and that displaying her hair in the museum was the right thing to do.
Kaminiben then pledged that, in support, she would donate her own hair to charity, while Nilanshi sent hers to a museum.
Once Nilanshi had made the decision, the date was set and before she knew it, her hair was being sectioned and tied up ready to be cut.
“I’m so excited and a little bit nervous because I don’t know how I’m looking in the new hairstyle… so let’s see what happens, but I hope it’s going to be amazing,” Nilanshi said just before her life-changing haircut.
Before the first snip took place, Nilanshi kissed her hair goodbye and crossed her fingers for luck!
It was a nerve-wracking process for Nilanshi – and an emotional one too, as her hair had been such an iconic part of her identity for so long.
But after only a few short minutes the initial big cut was complete and Nilanshi went on to get her new, short locks cut and styled.
Once the new do was complete, Nilanshi was blindfolded, led to a mirror and had her new look revealed to her.
Luckily, she was over the moon with it.
“Oh my god it’s beautiful! It’s amazing – I’m like a little princess!”
Despite Nilanshi’s happy reaction, her mum Kaminiben couldn’t help but say that she missed Nilanshi’s hair.
It must have been strange for Kaminiben, who was used to helping Nilanshi wash, dry and comb her hair once a week – a very time-consuming task.
Kaminiben was the one who encouraged Nilanshi to continue to grow her hair and break world records.
However, once Kaminiben got used to the drastic change, she said that Nilanshi looked beautiful with her new haircut.
“I love my new hairstyle. I feel proud that I’m going to send my hair to the US museum- people will see and be inspired by my hair. I’m really, really happy… Today is a new beginning and I hope I will break many more records in future” – Nilanshi Patel
Once all Nilanshi’s hair had been cut, it was tied up into a bunch that weighed a total of 266 g (9.4 oz).
Nilanshi donated her hair to Ripley’s.
Fortunately, Nilanshi is still thrilled with her new shorter hairstyle and can’t wait to see her long locks on display.