The record for the longest locks (locs) has been locked in since 2009, when Asha Mandela’s hair was measured to be 5.96 m (19 ft 6.5 in) long.
Now aged 60, Asha’s luxurious locs have grown to a length of 16.9 m (55 ft 7 in), according to her Instagram bio. That’s longer than a bus! 🚌
"I don’t like the term dreadlocks because I don’t think there’s anything dread about my locks." – Asha Mandela
Asha refers to her hair as her "cobra" or "royal crown". 🐍👑
She began growing it over 40 years ago, when she moved from the island of Trinidad and Tobago to New York, USA.
"I started having dreams of what others may refer to as visions, where the huge cobra would appear before me and start talking to me; letting me know that I’m the chosen one," she said.
Altogether, Asha's locs weigh 19 kg (42 lb), which is over three times heavier than an actual cobra. 🐍🐍🐍
"When I’m ready to go into my sleep chamber with my cobra baby, I would have them tied up in a little sack and we cuddle and talk to each other." – Asha Mandela
People often approach Asha and ask her about the cleanliness of her hair.
They assume it must not be washed properly, however, Asha takes pride in her hair hygiene.
Instead of having "chunky" locs, Asha has thinner ones which are much easier to wash. 🧼️
“I wanted to be able to get into my roots when I wash my hair to make sure it’s clean,” she said.
Asha washes her hair once per week - a task which requires six bottles of shampoo in total. Afterwards, it takes two whole days to dry!
She is helped by her husband who is a hair stylist, or "cobra trainer" as Asha likes to call him.
Sometimes, Asha will wear her locs up, although she can only keep them up for a few hours before her neck begins to strain.
Other times, Asha carries her locs in a fabric sling so that they don’t drag along the floor.
If you’re thinking about growing your own locs, Asha’s advice is "take care of it and treat it like a plant." 🌹
"If you don’t water it or feed it some fertilizer or something, it’s probably going to die or not flourish properly," she said. 🥀
Asha is extremely proud of her locs and their Guinness World Records title. 😊
After over 40 years of growth, Asha doesn’t plan to ever chop them off because she feels that they have become a part of her.
“I will never see or feel that there’s a time that I want to cut my hair.”
Asha isn’t the only person to break records with her hair – Nilanshi Patel (India) had the longest hair ever on a teenager, at a length of 200 cm (6 ft 6.7 in).
However, in 2021, she decided to cut it short. Do you like Nilanshi’s new hairstyle?
You can find Asha and her record-breaking locs in the Guinness World Records 2023 book, out later this year!