Donating your hair can be a major way to positively impact those who suffer from hair loss. People lose their hair for a variety of reasons out of their control - such as chemotherapy, alopecia, burns, or other medical conditions, to name a few. Losing hair can be more than just surface level for those it affects. Studies have shown that loss of hair has directly impacted self-esteem and sense of identity negatively; wigs have widely been known as a solution to those suffering from hair loss, and in more recent times, the use of real hair over synthetic hair in wigs has become more popular. Natural hair wigs, of course, need those willing to donate their natural hair! How can you donate your hair to such causes you ask? Revela has compiled a list of top hair donation organizations you can look into, as well as tips to keep in mind when it comes to donating your hair.
General Guidelines to Donating Hair
So you’re looking to donate some of your locks? Amazing! Keep in mind that there are certain criteria from different organizations that must be met in order to donate hair. Rules for donating hair vary for different organizations so you should make sure you are carefully reading specific guidelines for each company first. The general rules of thumb for donating hair are:
- Donate healthy and clean hair (ensure your hair is freshly washed & do not use styling products)
- Make sure your hair is fully dried before packing and sending
- Do not send hair from multiple different people in the same bag
- The more hair and longer it is (at least 8-12 inches) the better
- Follow shipping instructions exactly
What Hair Donations Organizations Are There?
There are many options when it comes to hair donating. Organizations vary from larger, national companies to smaller, local options. Some salons even accept donations themselves, so be sure to call and check if any local salons can handle it for you. Every organization also has its own baseline of what type of hair is acceptable for donation. Make sure to read up on which organizations best fit what you can provide. For example, some organizations accept graying or dyed hair and others only allow hair free from chemical alteration.
Locks of Love
Locks of Love is one of the most widely recognized hair donation organizations. They create thousands of wigs every year, specifically for children, in order to address the issue of “traditional” or “standard” adult wigs not fitting children properly. If you’re looking to donate to Locks of Love specifically, note that they do accept chemically processed hair but any hair donated must be bundled in a ponytail or braid and packaged properly!
Hair We Share
Founded in 2014, Hair We Share creates wigs to go mainly towards people who have lost their hair through treatments such as chemotherapy or are suffering from other medical conditions. They donate their wigs to adults who are facing financial burdens and children under 18. They accept a minimum length of 12” for hair, as well as gray or dyed hair (without the use of bleach). Also to be noted, they have a number of donation salons across the country.
Hugs-U-Wear is a hair donation system set up by the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. Through contributions in means such as donating stock or crypto, the Childhood Leukemia Foundation provides thousands of custom human-hair wigs to children facing Leukemia across the country.
UPDATE: The Childhood Leukemia Foundation is no longer accepting hair donations through this program.
Matter of Trust
Differing from other hair donation organizations, Matter of Trust doesn’t only accept hair donations, but also fur and wool. Their main focus is sustainable efforts in improving the environment. Other giving options include donating clothes and even services (such as delivering goods or repairing items).
Wigs for Kids
Another widely known hair donation organization, Wigs for Kids is a nonprofit organization helping children gain confidence after hair loss stemming from radiation therapy, trichotillomania, burns, and other medical causes. Wigs for Kids do not accept permanently color-treated hair and hair donations must be at least 12 inches long. They also have numerous donation salons across the country.
Children with Hair Loss
Children with Hair Loss was founded in 2000; they are a charity that provides human hair replacements at no cost to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss. They require a minimum of 8” when donating hair, but they prefer 12” or longer. After donating, Children with Hair Loss sends donors a certificate in appreciation of their efforts! They have an extensive list of salon partners that handle the cutting for hair donations as well.
Other Hair Donation Organizations
The organizations and charities that we have listed above are only a few of the many that are out there! To name just a few more, there are Wigs 4 Kids, Chai Lifeline, and Angel Hair for Kids amongst many others. Do your own research to identify the organization that best fits your criteria and make sure to abide by their set of donation guidelines.
Recently Ended Hair Donations
Additionally, we wanted to bring to attention that there are a few notable hair donation programs that have shut down in recent years. While these organizations may be concentrating their efforts on other avenues, there are still plenty of options available, as listed above.
- Pantene Beautiful Lengths: The Pantene Hair Donation program ended in December 2018.
- Pink Heart Funds: The Pink Heart Fund’s hair donation program ended accepting hair donations in March 2021 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why Should You Donate Hair?
The next time you go to your salon for your annual haircut, consider how you could be making an impact in someone else’s life through something that requires little to no effort from you. Most of the time, we don’t think twice when getting our hair trimmed, but there are many people who would feel fortunate to have a full head of hair. When someone’s hair is lost due to medical reasons, the pain can go far beyond what our eyes can see. Underneath cosmetic insecurities, there can be self-esteem and mental health issues. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful in their preferred way, and donating your hair can give somebody out there a chance to regain their sense of confidence.
What If You Can’t Donate Your Hair?
If your hair doesn’t make the exact eligibilities in order to donate, don’t feel too discouraged. There are so many different ways that you can get involved. If you are focusing on optimizing your current hair health in order to eventually donate, consider some of these tips:
- Avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet (as that is when it’s at its weakest)
- Deep condition your ends when necessary
- Reconsider additional chemical processing to your hair if it is already brittle
- Being patient when it comes to growing your hair out
In the meantime, you are also able to directly donate money to most hair donation organizations. The process for creating hair replacement systems from real hair can be costly and time-consuming; the money will go towards the cost it takes to actually manufacture the wigs, setting up a network of salons that assist in preparing hair, as well as shipping prices.
How Your Hair Can Make An Impact
There are so many different ways to give back in this world and nothing satisfies the heart more than knowing your direct contributions are making a difference! Whether you are donating money, clothes, or hair, there is always a way to spread the gift of giving. Donating your hair can be a way to ensure that you are helping to preserve someone else’s self-image in the way we all strive to have. As donors, we are happy to have been able to make a difference, and wig recipients are grateful to have received a wig - it’s a win-win situation.
For many people, anything you are already doing to maintain your long hair is generally good practice for donation. As long as you aren’t neglecting to get regular trims to prevent split ends, are avoiding using excessive heat styling, and use a quality shampoo and conditioner, you will most likely fall into the category of good standing for hair donating. If you are interested in getting your hair follicle health to its prime, consider using Revela’s Hair Revival Serum to nurture your hair and assist in a boost at reawakening your roots!