Because of the pandemic hair donation has become more popular today. As barbershops and hair salons are forced to shut down, people resort to cutting their own hair at home. But thanks to the hair donation advocates and influencers, more and more people realize that their trimmed hairs don’t need to go to waste. And that these trimmed hairs can benefit and change a cancer patient’s life.
The only problem is, hair donation is a complicated process. Aside from knowing where to donate hair, there are a lot of things you need to consider when donating your hair.
That’s why in this article, we will be talking about why you should donate hair, the best organizations for hair donations, the requirements, and the important steps to take to make this process successful.
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Why Should You Donate Hair?
There are numerous reasons why you should donate your hair instead of segregating it to waste. The following are the ‘whys’ in hair donation:
1. Share your hair
Sharing a piece of yourself to others who lack this piece is an act of humanity. Hair is an important part of people’s lives, especially for cancer patients and people undergoing total hair loss conditions. You can be someone that gives them hope and boost their fighting spirit from one ponytail to another.
2. Save your hair
Your hair is a great investment and it’s so disheartening to cut them off just because it’s too long. Using the cut-off length of your hair into a heartwarming donation to cancer patients wanting a wig will be a huge life-changing gift. Your donated hair will be put to good use.
3. Give temporary solution to medical hair loss
A lot of cancer patients suffering from hair loss have low self-esteem because they don’t have hair due to the levels of chemo. You can help them gain confidence through your hair donation. Your donated hair will be converted into a high-quality wig that cancer patients and other people who lost their hair can use. However, one hair donation is not enough to create a natural wig. In fact, it takes at least 10 ponytails to make one wig, that is why there are wide-scale donations happening around the country.
4. Support Wig Makers
Cancer patients are not the only ones benefiting from this. Wig makers play a part in stitching your hair into a comfy and wearable wig too. The human hair-based wigs for chemo patients are specially designed to be comfortable, with the correct sizing, type of wig, and cap construction.
Human Hair Wig vs. Synthetic Hair Wig
These two wigs work great and seem to be almost similar, but there are distinct differences between them. Here are the key features that set them apart from each other:
Human Hair Wig
- more natural feel
- can be styled and washed
- can last between one to two years
- can come in four different hair types
- donated or sold from human hair donors
- authentic shine, shape, and hair movement
Synthetic Hair Wig
- almost look and feel like natural hair
- less bouncy and shiny; one or two styles
- made from high-quality synthetic fibers
- can last for about four to six months with care
Why Patients Suffering From Disease-Induced Hair Loss Prefer Human Hair Wig
Chemo patients appreciate every hair wig donation whether it is made from human hair or synthetic fibers but it’s even more personal if a donor donates his or her well-grown hair. Here are four reasons why they would love to wear a wig made of human hair.
Human hair wigs last longer than synthetic hair because they have stronger and vitamin-packed hair strands.
Human hair wigs give them a natural feel and a sense of love from the donor who donated the hair because they’re authentic and willingly given.
Most synthetic hair wigs are in adult sizes. Children suffering from the after-effects of chemo or other disease-induced hair loss do not have many options when it comes to wigs that will fit their heads properly. Usually Human hair wigs donated by hair organizations make sure that every hairpiece is custom-fit.
Most commercial wigs are not strong to hold onto the scalp. But when it comes to customized human hair wigs, they can adhere to the scalp even during strenuous activities.
Best Organizations for Hair Donation:
There are several organizations that support cancer patients and people suffering from disease-induced hair loss. If you’re looking where to donate hair, there are the following reliable, transparent, and well-known groups:
This non-profit organization aims to help children who lost their hair due to cancer. According to them, they provide free human hair replacements. More than 20 years ago, Children with Hair Loss has provided over 5,000 human hair wigs with a hair kit bonus! They even have ‘The Great Cut’ event to gather thousands of hair donations back in 2019 and it’s happening again in 2024.
All thanks to Sarah, the founder’s niece, they were able to start a movement to provide FREE human hair wigs befitting for children. Access and fill out their donation form prior to printing it.
Where to send your ponytails:
Children with Hair Loss ┃12776 ┃Dixie Hwy S. Rockwood, MI ┃48179
Contact number: 734-379-4400
This non-profit organization helps cancer patients (children) to get human hair wigs for no cost at all. Founded in 1997, Locks of Love has delivered a sense of self, confidence, and normalcy to children suffering hair loss because of cancer. They received an estimate of more than 100,000 hair donations per year.
To qualify, you need a length of 10 inches that will be cut off. What’s nice is that they have partner salons that cut your hair for free when you decide to make a hair donation, so it’s a good place where to donate hair.
Where to send your ponytails:
Locks of Love ┃234 Southern Boulevard ┃ West Palm Beach, FL ┃33405
Contact number: (888)896-1588
This 501(c)3 non-profit organization has two main objectives: to give free hair replacements and provide breast prosthetics to people suffering from cancer. Chemo patients and other disease-induced can choose from the four wig types that the Pinky Hears Fund organization offers with no payment needed.
They have provided 2,500 human-hair wigs gathered from donations. This can be where to donate hair if you want faster and more personalized cooperation. Like Locks of Love, they need at least 10 inches of hair for donation and not over-processed or bleached.
Where to send your ponytails: No specific address is found, but you can send them an email.
Contact number: 228-575-8299
Also a non-profit organization, it was founded three decades ago with the help of a professional hairdresser who saw the need for cancer and other conditions inducing hair loss to have a human hair wig. They specialize in giving high-quality human hair wigs for kids which would cost around a thousand dollars if not donated.
If you want to donate, you’ll need at least 12 inches of hair and no colored hair or highlights. They also have ambassador salons that you can check out and have a discounted haircut fee.
Where to send your ponytails:
Wigs for Kids ┃ Hair Donations ┃24231 Center Ridge Road ┃Westlake, Ohio ┃44145
Contact number: 440.333.4433
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2014, Hair We Share is backed up with 40 years in designing wigs. It has come a long way with many companies and salons collaborating with them. They develop semi-custom wigs of top-notch quality with the help of their partner salons.
You can opt for a group hair donation which also give a small monetary donation to support the agenda of the organization. They require at least 8 inches of hair, which can be color-treated or grey hair. If you want transparency, you can track where your hair goes and Hair We Share will send a photograph of your ponytail in a wig. It will be with them for two weeks before being given to the recipient.
Where to send your ponytails:
4 Expressway Plaza Suite┃ LL14 Roslyn Heights, NY ┃11577
Contact number: (516) 484-8483
Steps in Donating Hair:
Now that you know where to donate hair, it’s time to take action:
1. Choose where to send your hair
From the hair organizations above, you can select those groups whose guidelines are fit for your desired hair length to donate. Research on them more thoroughly, check their testimonials, hair donation requirements, partner institutions, age of the recipients, and if the organization is truly giving the hair donations to cancer patients and other disease-induced hair loss patients. Once you have assessed this, you will know where to donate hair best.
2. Ensure that the hair you’re donating is healthy.
It is important that you give your best hair when donating. To make this possible, make sure you are eating the best diet and using the best shampoos to clean your hair. In addition to that, you should always keep your hair moisturized using natural oils like coconut oil or conditioners. Avoid styling or applying heat using blowers or curlers to keep it healthier too before the donation.
3. Make sure that you and your hairstylist follow the donation cut instructions.
Some of the organizations mentioned above already have partner salons that you can go to. Their hairstylists are already well-informed on what to do in case someone wants to donate their hair for charity. To do this, simply print out your chosen organization’s hair donation guidelines and present them to the hairstylist. The professional hairstylist should now be aware of the procedure, supplies, and aftercare. With that in mind, they properly cut your hair with the correct length, cut out hair that is completely dry (to avoid molds).
3. Place Cut Hair in an Envelope or Ziploc Bag
Once the proper hair length is cut, store them in an envelope or Ziploc bag and mail them to the organization’s designated address for donations. You can opt to fill out a form to properly address your details and your desired recipient and even add a small note as a gift.
Now you know how to properly cut your hair for donation and the locations and organizations where you can donate hair. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hair donation. If you have the same questions, we believe these answers will help you too.
Can I donate hair with split ends?
It is recommended that your hair should not have split-ends, so it’s better to have it trimmed prior to donation. Though some organizations allow split-ends, it’s nice if you could give presentable, healthy, and damage-free hair. If you want to get split-free hair, trim off the damaged hair and regrow healthy hair with the help of this guide to getting rid of split-ends.
I have a ponytail that was cut a few years ago. Will hair organizations still accept it?
Most hair organizations prefer ponytails that are no more than a year in tight and secure storage. So, it’s a no. We recommend that after you get a haircut for donation, you place the ponytail into an airtight envelope or Ziploc bag and mail it right away to your chosen hair organization’s address.
Why Do Some Hair Organizations Ask for Monetary Donations? Isn’t the Ponytail Enough?
The ponytails that are donated are just the main raw material needed to construct a high-quality natural wig. If you are donating ponytails for a hair organization aiming to help cancer patients and other disease-induced hair loss individuals, you’re only saving the costs of production. The typical fee to create a human hair wig is around a thousand dollars ($1,000). That includes the production and labor costs.
Hair organizations are non-profit and they rely on monetary donations to pay for other materials needed to make a wig such as a dome wig cap, needles, a thread, hair glue, and many more. Some hair organizations pay wig makers for labor costs, too.
Can I See the Recipient Who Received My Hair?
In most cases, no. Hair organizations value the privacy of the recipients as they are undergoing a hard time in their lives. However, if the recipient insists or allows, the hair organizations will contact you. You can also send an encouraging note to the recipients aside from your hair donation. In some cases, the recipient will send you a note or even a photo of your hair on a wig as a thank you.
Gen is a Master Stylist in Tampa, Florida who specializes in extremely thin hair and hair loss care. Working with hundreds of clients with hair loss/thinning concerns allowed her to recognize products and routines that can cause damage. She has discovered what hair products work and what doesn’t and shares all of this info to the readers of Union of Barber. When she’s not writing, you can find Gen hiking or at home with her army of cats!