Hair donations have become increasingly popular, with newspapers regularly showing photos of adults and children with bobbed hair proudly holding up the long ponytail they are donating. The hair will be made into wigs and given to individuals who have lost their hair because of medical problems. If you've thought about giving your hair to a charity but aren't sure just how to go about it, then read on to learn more about hair donations.
Why Donate Hair?
The wigs made from donated hair are given to people suffering from alopecia or who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Many of the recipients of these wigs are children and adults who are uncomfortable with the stares that the hair loss draws in public but are unable to afford a good quality wig.
Organizations for Hair Donations
Before donating your hair, look around to find the option that best suits you. For example, someone who has shorter hair might want to go with a group with a lower length requirement, while another person might prefer an organisation that specialises in children, such as Locks of Love. Locks of Love donates hairpieces to children who have suffered long-term hair loss due to medical conditions such as cancer and alopecia. Wigs for Kids is another organisation that helps children with hair loss. The Pantene Beautiful Lengths program works with the American Cancer Society to provide wigs to women suffering from hair loss associated with cancer. Please refer to the resources section below for links to these organisations.
If you do not already have long hair, you will need to grow it before donating. Most programs require a minimum of 8 to 12 inches of hair for a donation. Since hair grows at an average of half an inch per month, it can take several months to reach the required length. While growing your hair, make sure to keep it healthy with proper care, and be aware of your chosen program's special requirements. For example, for the Locks of Love program permed or coloured hair is acceptable but not bleached.
What Happens to Donated Hair?
Before the hair is cut it is usually braided or pulled back into a ponytail. After the hair is cut it is packaged according to the instructions of the chosen organisation and shipped to them. In most cases they will use the hair to make hairpieces, though they might sell shorter pieces or grey hair if it is a children's organisation.
Where to Donate Hair
You can cut the hair yourself at home then package and send it to the organisation of your choice, carefully following the directions provided, or you can have a hair stylist do the job. Many hair stylists and salons are happy to give free hair cuts to those who are donating their hair and will style the remaining hair afterward. Call your local salons to learn if they provide this service.