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Requirements, length and locations

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If you’ve decided to donate your hair (yay!), know that cutting your ponytail is only the first step. In fact, you know what? It’s not even the first step. Because a fair amount of advance planning goes into the hair donation process (or at least it should), and it’s not exactly something you can redo if you get it wrong the first time. So before you cut all your hair, let’s discuss common donation requirements, all the steps to cutting your hair and how to donate, and other ways to get involved. Because like I said: your hair is just the beginning.

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Meet the expert:

  • Suzanne Chimera is the co-founder of hair we sharea non-profit organization that creates and donates custom wigs to adults and children with medical hair loss.

    Where is the best place to donate hair?

    Although most hair donation organizations share a common goal:provide hair substitutes to people who need them– each location serves different groups with slightly different missions and different donation processes, so take the time to find the one that resonates with you the most. Here are some nonprofits to help you get started:

    • hair we share: Provides free wigs to children and adults suffering from any type of medical hair loss, including chemotherapy, alopecia, accidental burn victims, Covid-19, etc.
    • love locks: Donates hairpieces and prosthetic hair to financially disadvantaged children and young adults, ages 21 and under, with long-term medical hair loss, regardless of diagnosis.
    • Children’s wigs: Creates and supplies wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to medical causes, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns, etc.
    • Children with hair loss: Provides free human hair replacements to children and young adults suffering from medically induced hair loss.

      What hair length should you give?

      If in doubt, grow it (even longer). Chimera explains that during the wig-making process, typically four inches of length is lost due to bending, sewing, and trimming (see: split ends), so the longer your hair is when you donate it, the better. it’s. In general, however, minimum hair length for donation ranges from 8 to 12 inchesbut it varies from place to place and also fluctuates according to need.

      At Hair We Share, that length has gone from 8 inches to now 12 inches to meet the overwhelming demands for longer wigs. So don’t get stuck on the minimum requirements. If you typically grow your hair out for years and then cut it, maybe wait a few more months, if you can, to get some extra length.

      But length is not the only qualification considered. To ensure quality results, most donor organizations prefer hair that has not been bleached and has a natural shade. Some places accept colored hair and gray hair, so find a place that accepts your hair length and current color.

      What is the hair donation process?

      Once you have chosen the donation organization you wish to work with, the easiest way to donate hair is to make an appointment at a partner salon with them. If you can’t find a partner nearby or who isn’t offered, follow their specific guidelines online to do it yourself. Here are the general steps for how to donate hair to give you a basic idea of ​​the process.

      How to donate your hair

      1. Measure your hair. Instead of measuring all the way to the end of those longest few strands (which are usually split ends that will need to be cut anyway), measure from the point where you want to start your cut to where your ends start. to slim down. For curly hair, you can make it tight. Take as accurate a measurement as possible to ensure it meets the minimum requirements for your selected location (again, it’s even better if it’s longer).

      2. Wash and dry your hair. Make sure your hair is clean of all product and buildup and completely dry. Air-drying your hair is fine (it’s usually best for wavy hair or curly hair types to be left natural and not blown out), but make sure the hair is totally dry before you cut it. Later, you will wrap the hair in plastic, and hair that has grown mold on it will not be accepted (understandably).

      3. Separate it and tie it into several ponytails. When you think of a haircut, you usually imagine a high ponytail, but it’s actually better to split it into a few ponies instead. Some organizations even ask you to section the hair in layers if the length varies, so again, just check before you start cutting. Wrap a rubber band (or a few) around each section until secure. Some places prefer ponytails to braids, so again, be sure before you start.

      4. Cut. Keep in mind that you will have to cut above the elastic to keep it tied, so allow about an extra inch when tying your ponytail.

      5. Pack them and ship them. Gather your ponytails and curl them all together while keeping each ponytail tied separately. Place them neatly in a sealed plastic bag with your name and any additional information they need, then pack them in a padded mailing envelope. Complete all required online donation forms and mail your hair.

      6. Make a donation. We may be at the end of the stages, but the process has only just begun. As useful as hair donations are, monetary donations are also crucial. “Although the hair costs us nothing, we still have the same operating expenses as any for-profit business,” Chimera explains. To ensure that your hair donation becomes a wig that someone can actually wear that doesn’t sit in inventory, also send a cash donation or start a crowdfunding campaign to cover manufacturing costs.

      7. Follow the process. Some places will even update you on your hair’s journey as a thank you for your help. Hair We Share has launched a ponytail follow-up program for hair donors who also donated $145 towards the production of the wig, and through this program, donors can receive updates on the creation process. and the final product and really see the impact of their donations.

            Take-out:

            Wigs aren’t easy to make, period. Even if you currently have a hot pink pixie cut or can’t grow your hair out long enough to donate, you can still contribute in extremely impactful ways. Without money, wigs cannot be made, so monetary donations are just as important as hair donations to provide wigs to those in need.

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