Vietnam’s Rapunzel rarely lets her hair down

By Pham Nga   August 30, 2019 | 05:47 am PT
Hoang Phuong Lan boasts tresses 2.4 meters long, but does not let it get to her head. She has other work to do.

On a weekend afternoon, when Lan, manager at a restaurant in northern Thai Binh Town, was working, a female customer came up and said: "Please take a photo with me. I saw you on television."

To please the customer, the 46-year-old woman untied the bun at the back of her head and let her 2.4 meters long, straight hair down for a quick photo. Quickly, she tied it back into a bun with practiced ease and resumed her work.

Lan has received a lot of public attention since she was recognized as the person with the longest straight hair in Vietnam in 2012. She holds the record to this day.

Hoang Phuong Lan holds her 2.4 meter hair. Since 2012, she has not cut her hair and only trim the split ends. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Nga.

Hoang Phuong Lan holds her 2.4 meter hair. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Nga.

"I am happy about it. But it can also be disturbing sometimes when people ask lots of questions," she said.

She also said that washing her hair was quite challenging and takes a lot of time. It takes more than three hours for Lan to wash, dry and untangle her hair. So she washes her hair early in the morning when the restaurant has fewer customers.

Lan said she washes her hair once every four days when the weather is hot and once every week when the weather is cooler.

"I only untangle my hair when I have free time. It can take up to three days sometimes. But by then, it is time for my next hairwash."

After giving birth to a child in 2011, Lan began sleeping on the opposite end of the bed to avoid her son getting tangled in her hair.

She also avoids swimming in the pool and even at the beach onfamily trips. Lan would love to play badminton and practice yoga, but her thick tresses do not allow her to move freely to do those activities.

Since childhood, Lan has been praised by everyone for having long and silky black hair. When she was 20 years old, Lan was convinced by her friends to cut her hair short. But she felt it did not suit her was determined to grow it back again.

When she was 27, Lan went to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to work in a garment factory. Locals there were fascinated with Lan and her hair.

"People would compliment me on my hair, saying 'Vietnamesewomen are beautiful.' I realized that my hair helped promote the beauty of Vietnamese women in other countries, so I decided not to cut it anymore."

"I grow my hair as a hobby and will leave it like this until I don't like it anymore"

Lan with her tied up hair. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Nga.

Lan with her long hair tied-up behind in a bun. Photo byVnExpress/Pham Nga.

Lan keeps her hair tied up all year round to avoid attention and for convenience.

Lieu, an employee at the family-run restaurant, said: "Even those who have been working here for a full year do not know how long her hair is. She works as fast as all of us."

Le Quang Suu, Lan's husband, said he’s loved her hair ever since they went to high school together.

"It makes me feel so proud that many people still compliment her hair until today," he said.

Sometimes, Suu will boil water and add herbs to it, then take it out for his wife to wash her hair.

Lan cannot escape attention even at home for her hair.

As she sits down to comb her hair after a long day at work, her 8-year-old son comes up to her: "My friends at school praised your hair again."

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