Hair donation is a way to make a difference even if you don’t have a lot of time or money to donate to a cause. Kids especially like to get involved. It makes them feel special to be helping someone else!All three of my girls have donated their hair. They plan to continue doing it whenever it grows long enough.
Who can donate their hair?
Anyone can donate their hair, provided it is long enough. Some programs do not accept chemically processed (dyed, bleached, permed) hair or grey hair. This is because hair from several donors is gathered and batch dyed. Chemically treated and grey hair absorbs dye differently, which makes it difficult to get a colour match for making the wigs. I am not aware of any program that accepts dreadlocks.
Where can I donate my hair?
It used to be that you had to go to a participating hair salon, which were difficult to find in some areas. Today many programs accept hair directly from the donors, either by mail or in person at their offices. Make sure you bring a copy of the donation guidelines to your hair salon, to be sure the stylist prepares and cuts the hair correctly.
General hair donation tips
Wash and dry your hair before visiting the salon. Don’t use any styling products. Gather the hair into a ponytail and secure with an elastic. Follow guidelines about braiding (or not) and about securing the middle and/or other end (braid, elastic, etc.) Have the stylist hold onto the ponytail and cut just above the elastic. The hair should not touch the floor, and should be placed in an envelope or plastic zipper bag right away to keep it clean and tidy. Send your hair donation to the program of your choice.
Angel Hair for Kids
Wigs and other hair prosthetics go to children who need hair replacement due to a medical reason: cancer treatments, burns, alopecia, etc. Minimum length is 10″ (25 cm.) Hair donations can be sent through the mail.
Cuts for Cancer
This hair donation program runs out of universities such as UBC, University of Toronto and Queen’s University. Check for a branch at your local university.
Locks of Love
Will accept hair by mail or at participating salons (look for a decal in salon windows, as they don’t maintain a list.) Minimum hair length is 10″ (25 cm.) Permed, grey and coloured hair is accepted, but they can’t accept hair that is dyed or highlighted over bleach. Grey hair, and any strands that are too short to be used in wigs, will be sold to offset operating costs. Wigs go to children aged 6-21 in the US and Canada, mostly to kids with alopecia.
Order Quality Wigs
This Montreal-based business accepts hair donations and provides wigs to children in Quebec who have been diagnosed with cancer. Contact them for details.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
This program is rare in that it serves women with cancer, rather than children. It also accepts hair as short as 8″ (20 cm.) Hair can be sent by mail within the United States or Canada.
Wigs for Kids
Will accept hair by mail and also has a list of salons in the US, Canada and Ireland that will give discounts for people donating their hair. Grey hair is acceptable, but they can’t take processed hair. Minimum length is 12″ (30 cm.) Wigs go to kids who have any medical need for hair replacement.
International hair donation
Check this page, this page and this one to find hair donation programs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel.