Have you ever thought about donating your hair to those who need it but not known how to do it? Well, this post is for you!
I have donated my hair to others every other year since I was in 8th grade, and have found it to be a rewarding way to help those in need. Here is the who, what, where, why, how of hair donation, and three places that you can donate.
Who receives my hair?
Women and children with medical conditions (temporary or permanent) that prevent them from having their own head of hair will receive your hair donation.
Why do they need it?
It is not just people who have endured cancer that need your locks. People with alopecia areata, those that have undergone radiation/chemotherapy, burns, trauma, and other genetic/dermatological conditions need hair donations.
Which organizations accept donations and what are the requirements?
- Locks of Love helps boys and girls up until 21 years of age. You will need a 10 inch minimum donation (although they will sell shorter hair and gray hair to offset costs). Colored hair that was bleached first is not acceptable. Make sure to put your hair in a braid or ponytail first, and mail it in dry.
- Pantene Beautiful Lengths helps women, and you’ll need an 8 inch minimum donation. Gray/permanently colored/bleached hair is not accepted.
- Wigs For Kids helps boys and girls up until 18 years of age. They require a 12 inch minimum donation. Gray hair is accepted, but colored hair not (unless it is temporary and washed out before the donation). Put your hair in multiple braids or ponytails, and make sure your hair is dry.
Where should I go to cut my hair and what do I need to know before I go?
Any salon can cut your hair. You are responsible for ensuring it’s donation ready and mailing it the organization of your choice. The stylist at the salon may not be able to measure your hair, so be sure to have someone else measure it for you at home to make sure it’s the right length.
Also, consider how short you want your hair to be after the cut. Are you okay with a short bob or would you prefer your hair to fall below your shoulders? These are things to think about when determining how long to grow your hair for donation. You’ll want a few extra inches in the length to accommodate your new desired look.
To make donation easier, hair is put into a ponytail or braid so the stylist can easily cut it off. I typically go to the salon with a ponytail holder around my wrist and allow the stylist to put my hair in a ponytail or braid before cutting. Once you hair is cut and ready to send off, fill out the donation form online to the organization of your choice and mail it in.
How can I best take care of my hair to ensure it’s donation ready?
- Let it grow. For the best possible hair, it is recommended to trim it every 8-12 weeks to eliminate split ends.
- If there is a shampoo or product that you think will help your hair grow, use it. I have heard Mane ‘N Tail helps hair grow longer, but my hair grows quickly on its own.
- Minimally brush. That myth that 100 brushes a day is what you need to have healthy hair is just that – a myth. Brush it enough to keep the tangles out, but do not go overboard.
- It takes time (and a little bit of patience). Hair grows on average about 6 inches a year for most people. This is not a sprint but a marathon of an endeavor.
- Rest assured that you are making a difference in the hair donation recipient’s life. Every hair donation makes an impact.
Other Ways to Support and Have Fun With Hair Donation
If you cannot donate your hair, you can send in financial donations. You also can arrange an event during which a group of people do hair donations at the same time. My sorority sisters and I did this in college. We arranged it with a salon and had a packed house of people ready to cut and donate their hair. It was a beautiful event that was able to help so many people in need. Here’s more information on how to arrange your own cut-a-thon. Happy donating!