Thinking of Donating Your Hair? Read This First!

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Donating your hair to a wig creation organization is one of the most powerful gestures of support for those undergoing cancer treatment. But don’t go calling your salon just yet!

Even if your hair is long enough, that doesn’t mean its ready for donation, or that it will get to those who need it most. Read on to find out what to do before the big chop.

1) Choose the right program.

Don’t just send your hair off without doing your research. Not all donation organizations can process all types of hair, and depending on your hair’s length, color and condition, it could be turned away. Check out these programs’ donation guidelines to make sure you send it to the right place:

For donating at least 10 inches:

Locks of Love
Chai Lifeline
Wigs for Kids

For donating less than 10 inches:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Children With Hair Loss
Wigs 4 Kids

2) Make sure you meet the requirements.

The last thing you want is to have the years you spent growing your precious locks go to waste because it’s too short to be used in a wig. Talk to your stylist about your plan before you arrive at the salon, and make sure they’ve got the correct equipment and measuring tools on hand.

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3) Keep your hair in good shape.

Take good care of your hair before the big cut so the donation program can use as much of it as possible. If your hair is damaged, use a repairing shampoo and conditioner or do a deep-conditioning treatment every few weeks. You could even try going shampoo-free! Avoid heat styling, coloring and other chemical treatments as many charities won’t accept treated hair. And lastly, although it might seem counter-intuitive, continue getting regular trims to ensure your hair stays healthy and beautiful all the way to the ends.

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4) Get prepared for your new look.

It might sound silly, but going from a two-foot ponytail to a chin-length bob is a big shift. Be sure to give yourself time to mentally prepare for your new look and style routine. Shop around online for styles you think you can rock, and collect them on a Pinterest board. Be prepared to invest in some new styling tools and products, too. It will take some getting used to, but be open to the change and remember it’s for a good cause!

Curious about what hair donation looks like behind the scenes? Find out what happens to Hannah’s hair after she cuts it, and see the heartwarming gratitude on the little girl’s face who receives it!

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G. H. was raised in Minnesota, but currently calls Seattle her home. She's a blogger, editor, and journalist, and she's written everything from news reports to restaurant reviews. If she's not putting pen to paper, G. H. is probably experimenting in the kitchen, chilling out on her yoga mat, or running through a city park.