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 hair at home. But thanks to hair donation advocates and influencers, more people realize that their trimmed hair doesn’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 many things you need to consider when donating your hair.
This article will discuss why you should donate hair, the best organizations for hair donations, the requirements, and the steps to take to make this donation 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’ of hair donation:
1. Share your hair
Sharing your hair can be a simple way to make a huge difference for anyone trying to overcome the emotional challenges of hair loss. Hair is an integral part of people’s lives, especially for cancer patients and people undergoing medically-related hair loss conditions. There are plenty of hair donation programs to choose from where you can send your hair.
2. Give temporary solution to medical hair loss
Many 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. It takes at least 10 ponytails to make one wig, which is why wide-scale donations are happening around the country.
3. 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. The human hair-based wigs for chemo patients are 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 almost similar but have distinct differences. 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 made from human hair or synthetic fibers, but it’s even more personal if a donor donates their well-grown hair. Here are four reasons they would love to wear a wig made of human hair.
1. Wig longevity
Human hair wigs last longer than synthetic hair because they have stronger and vitamin-packed hair strands.
2. Natural Hair
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 and young adults suffering from the after-effects of chemo or other disease-induced hair loss do not have many options regarding wigs that will fit their heads properly. Usually, Human hair wigs donated by hair organizations ensure that every hairpiece is custom-fit.
4. Tight stronghold
Most commercial wigs need to be stronger to hold onto the scalp. But when it comes to custom-fitted wigs, they can adhere to the scalp even during strenuous activities.
Best Organizations for Hair Donation
Numerous organizations 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 hair donation organizations:
Children with Hair Loss
This non-profit organization aims to help children who lose their hair due to cancer. According to them, they provide free human hair replacements. More than 20 years ago, Children with Hair Loss provided over 5,000 human hair wigs with a hair kit bonus! They even had ‘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 started a movement to provide FREE human hair wigs befitting for children. Access and fill out their hair donation form before printing it.
Where to send your ponytails:
Children with Hair Loss ┃12776 ┃Dixie Hwy S. Rockwood, MI ┃48179
Contact number: 734-379-4400
Locks of Love
This non-profit organization helps cancer patients (children) get human hair wigs at no cost. Founded in 1997, Locks of Love has delivered a sense of self, confidence, and normalcy to children suffering hair loss because of cancer treatment. They received an estimate of more than 100,000 hair donations per year.
There’s a minimum length requirement 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 donate hair, so it’s a good place to donate hair.
Where to send your ponytails:
Locks of Love ┃234 Southern Boulevard ┃ West Palm Beach, FL ┃33405
Contact number: (888)896-1588
Pink Hearts Fund
This 501(c)3 non-profit organization has two main objectives: to give free hair replacements and provide breast prosthetics to cancer patients. Chemo patients and other disease-induced patients can choose from the four wig types offered by the Pinky Hears Fund organization, 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 are not over-processed or bleached.
Where to send your ponytails: You don’t find a specific address, but you can just email them.
Contact number: 228-575-8299
Wig for Kids
Also, a non-profit organization 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 to 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. Wig For Kids also has ambassador salons you can check out and 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
Hair We Share
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2014, Hair We Share is backed up by 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 gives a small monetary donation to support the organization’s agenda. 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 fit your desired hair length to donate. Research them more thoroughly, check their testimonials, hair donation requirements, partner institutions, the age of the recipients, and if the organization of your choice is genuinely giving 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.
You must give your best hair when donating. To make this possible, ensure you eat the best diet and use the best anti-residue shampoos to clean your hair. Take care of your hair by preventing hair loss with Revita Shampoo, and use Redken Anti Snap to treat damaged hair.
In addition, 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 before the donation.
3. Ensure 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 if someone wants to donate their hair to charity. 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 and cut out completely dry hair (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 donation address. You can fill out a form to properly address your details and 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, these answers will help you too.
Can I donate hair with split ends?
It is recommended that your hair not have split ends better to trim it before 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 a year-old ponytails and in tight and secure storage. So, it’s a no. After you get a haircut for donation, we recommend placing the ponytail into an airtight envelope or Ziploc bag and mailing it immediately to your chosen hair organization’s address.
Why Do Some Hair Organizations Ask for Monetary Donations? Isn’t the Ponytail Enough?
The donated ponytails are the primary raw material to construct a high-quality natural wig. If you donate ponytails to a hair organization aiming to help cancer patients and other disease-induced hair loss individuals, you’re only saving production costs. 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 rely on financial contributions for other materials needed to make a wig, such as a dome wig cap, needles, thread, hair glue, etc. 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 wig recipients’ privacy as they are having difficulty. However, the hair organizations will contact you if the recipient insists or allows it. Please send an encouraging note to the recipients aside from your hair donation. Sometimes, the recipient will send you a note or even a photo of your hair on a wig as a thank you.
I hope this guide has helped you decide where to donate your hair. If you’re on the lookout for where to get wigs and want an instant way to cover bald spots, use Febron Hair Fibers. This adds volume and masks out thinning hair.
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!