Reader Question: Donating Your Hair

I've been growing out my hair for quite a few years now, and in the interest of doing something dramatic, I think I'd like to chop it all off at once. In the interest if doing something kind, I think I'd like to donate my hair. I've heard of Locks of Love, but do you know anything about the specifics? Or other organizations? I need your hair stylist expertise!  -Lora

I've been growing out my hair for quite a few years now, and in the interest of doing something dramatic, I think I'd like to chop it all off at once. In the interest if doing something kind, I think I'd like to donate my hair. I've heard of Locks of Love, but do you know anything about the specifics? Or other organizations? I need your hair stylist expertise!  -Lora

Good question, Lora! Donating your hair is a really great thing to do once you've grown it out long enough and want to make a big cut. There are multiple organizations that take hair donations and make them into wigs for people who need them.

Locks of Love is probably the most well-known organization that does this. They require a minimum of 10 inches of hair that is untouched by bleach. Keep in mind that your hair only grows a half of an inch per month on average -- that's 6 inches per year - so even if you had your hair highlighted 2-3 years ago, or if you used Sun-In or some other lightening agent, it's still unusable. They accept gray hair, but instead of being used for a wig, it's sold to offset the costs of manufacturing. Here's more information about their requirements.

The nice thing about Locks of Love is that there are many salons who will give you a free cut if you're donating your hair (my salon included) - you can find one near you by googling "locks of love salon" and your city. Here's how it goes: we measure out the 10 inches, put the hair into pigtails and braid the pigtails, then cut just above the rubber band. Then we shampoo you and cut your hair into a style, so it doesn't look like we just chopped off some pigtails. Some salons will send the hair to Locks of Love for you, and some will just give you what you need to send it off. Either way, it's totally free (depending on the salon). Keep in mind, though: in most cases, your stylist isn't getting paid to give you that haircut, because your free cut isn't bringing any money in. So please tip stylists for their time!

Should the 10 inches be too much, Pantene Beautiful Lengths is another donation program that only requires 8 inches. You're less likely to find a salon that works with Pantene, though, so chances are your cut won't be free. Doesn't mean you can't still donate your hair for a good cause!

Good luck with the big cut & have fun :)

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