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Rapunzel's magic hair plays an extremely important and crucial part in the plot of Disney's 2010 animated feature film, Tangledand its subsequent TV series. Rapunzel's hair is what makes her special, glowing bright gold when she sings a special song known as "Healing Incantation". It is known to have the ability to heal the sick and wounded as well as return those who have just died to life.
Rapunzel's hair is bright gold, and about seventy feet long. When cut, however, it will turn brown and lose its healing abilities. In the movie, when Rapunzel reaches the kingdom, four little girls braid her hair with flowers.
At the beginning of the film, it is stated that the hair gets its power from a magic golden flower. This magic golden flower is used to heal the sick pregnant Queen of Corona, who gives birth to Rapunzel. Cells from the flower are passed into Rapunzel, making her hair glow and heal the sick just like the flower did. Mother Gothel, an evil old woman, who found the flower before the queen did, uses it to make herself young and beautiful. According to Flynn Rider, she has been using it for hundreds of years. When the queen uses it, Mother Gothel wants to get it back, so she breaks into the palace and cuts off a lock of Rapunzel's hair to keep for herself. However, the lock turns brown and loses its power. So she kidnaps baby Rapunzel to use the magic hair for herself. She raises Rapunzel as her own, deep with in a forest, in a hidden tower and will not let her leave the tower, for fear they will be seen together.
During Rapunzel's journey with a thief named Flynn Rider, Rapunzel's magical hair is used many times. Rapunzel used her magic hair as lighting to escape from a dark cave filled with water and sings the "Healing Incantation" to heal Flynn's injured hand. This surprises Flynn greatly, prompting Rapunzel to explain the functions of her hair to him and that it loses its power when cut, while showing him a cut brown lock (The same one Gothel cut years ago). At the end of the film, her hair is cut off, leaving it in a dark brown-colored pixie cut and initially unable to heal Flynn in its hair form. However, even in the end, the flower is unwilling to let him die and restores him to life with a tear.
In the TV series, Rapunzel's magic hair grows back to the length and color it was in the film. It grows back when Rapunzel and her handmaid, Cassandra, discover some mystical rocks with magical properties during a secret adventure. In the series, her new hair is revealed to be indestructible and cannot be cut. It's later revealed that Rapunzel's hair no longer possesses its original powers to heal, but is revealed to have acquired a new power, protecting Rapunzel by creating a magical shield. It also appears to respond to her subconscious when she's dreaming, because it was levitating all over her bedroom before she woke up. Rapunzel's hair glows when she approaches the rocks, though it is not yet revealed if there is any magic with it.
In "The Quest for Varian", Rapunzel tried to stop the troops chasing her and pulled down her hair from the tower to touch the rocks. The hair and the rocks triggered a shock wave to stun the troops successfully, but it caused the rapid growth of the rocks towards Rapunzel and consequently destroyed the tower.
In "Rapunzel and the Great Tree", Rapunzel learns a new song called the Decay Incantation, which allows her hair to drain and destroy life, all while turning both her hair and eyes black. Furthermore, Rapunzel cannot stop reciting the incantation until someone shocks her out of her trance. Consequently, when Rapunzel used the Decay Incantation to stop Hector after he awakened Zhan Tiri's corruption within the tree, Cassandra's attempt to touch her caused her right hand and wrist to turn pitch black. She used the Decay Incantation again in "Rapunzel's Return" to free Quirin from the amber.
In "Beginnings", the reason behind the regrowth of Rapunzel's hair in "Before Ever After" was revealed. When she came into contact with the rocks, part of the Moonstone's powers went into her hair, causing it to grow back and become indestructible like them so she can be protected on her journey. This was also why the hair no longer possesses the healing powers of the Sundrop and it now possesses the Moonstone's destruction powers.
In the series finale, "Plus Est En Vous", the hair turns back to brown and becomes powerless when Zhan Tiri removes the sundrop, but keeps its length. Rapunzel is forced to cut of her hair to defeat Zhan Tiri. The hair loses it's power as it turns back to brown and wraps around Zhan Tiri as it is defeated and disappears into mist.
As the Disney Princesses of Oh My Disney were asking Vanellope von Schweetz if she has any magical abilities that some of them have, as well as sharing similar traits and experiences they each had and have in common, to see if her claim of being princess is true, Rapunzel showed Vanellope her hair as she asked her if she too has magical hair like her. After Ralph and Vanellope stopped Arthur the virus and the princesses saw that he was falling from a great height, Rapunzel allowed Aurora to weave strands of her hair using the Spinning Wheel so they could save him. By having the weaved strands act as rope that held the princess dresses made "net" and parachute together, as it delivered Ralph to safety.
At the Disney theme parks, Rapunzel has her hair long and blonde, braided with flowers. Many guests that have watched her movie ask Rapunzel during meet and greets why her hair is long and blonde again after she had cut it in the movie. Rapunzel apparently answers with responses such as "I had enough magic in my tears to grow my hair nice and long again." She says this because at the end of the film, after her hair is cut, Rapunzel finds that she also has magic tears.
Gothel using Rapunzel's hair to restore her youth
Rapunzel uses her shining hair to find the path so they could get out of the underwater tunnel
On almost all of Rapunzel dolls, her hair is long and blonde again, not short and brown like it is at the end of the movie. Some dolls have her hair braided with flowers, and other just long and blonde. There are only three dolls that have been seen with short brown hair. In most of promotional arts, Rapunzel's hair is again long and blonde.
In the original story, Rapunzel did have healing powers but they were held in her tears and were used to restore the prince's sight. Disney expanded this myth to give Rapunzel her healing hair.
This was briefly aluded near the end of the film, as Rapunzel somehow manages to unknowingly focus all of her cut hair's magic in a tear, ressurrecting Eugene.
Rapunzel's hair grows dark from the tip to the root by the Moonstone incantation, opposite to the Healing Incantation by which the hair glows from the root to the tip.