As you sit in the salon chair waiting for your tresses to be chopped, it may not occur to you that your hair could be a precious gift to someone in need. Locks of Love is a public nonprofit organization that provides wigs and other hairpieces to children who suffer from medical hair loss and cannot afford to purchase a piece privately. Hair is collected from people who grow out their hair and donate it to the organization. The process is rather easy and simple to donate, although hairstylist Holly Dear says that "hair must be at a minimum of 10 inches long, combinable, and you should come in with your hair clean and combed."
Meet the Expert
Holly Dear is a hair artist, creator, and owner of House of Dear and House of Dear Salon in Dallas
Read on to learn exactly how to donate hair to Locks of Love.
Grow Your Hair Out
First things first, you have to grow your hair out. According to a representative and guidelines from the site, Locks of Love requires a minimum of 10 inches of hair for donation. To see if your hair is long enough for donation, pull your hair back in a ponytail and measure from approximately 1 to 2 inches above your ponytail holder to the tip of the ends of your hair. A full 10 inches is required in order to be used in the hairpieces and wigs made by Locks of Love. Growing your hair out to the required length might take several years.
Do Your Research
Before you decide to go for the big chop, do some research to make sure that you qualify for donation. According to Locks of Love guidelines, Hair that is longer than 10 inches can be donated (Curly hair can be pulled straight to measure 10 inches). Layered hair is also acceptable if the longest layer is 10 inches, and may be divided into multiple ponytails. If your hair is less than 10 inches, you can still donate to Locks of Love, which will be sold to offset the manufacturing costs of the hairpieces. The same goes for individuals with gray hair.
Hair can not be swept off the floor and donated. If you are shaving your head, first divide it into multiple ponytails and then cut it off for donation. Dreadlocks, wigs, hairpieces, hair extensions, and synthetic hair can not be donated.
Talk To Your Hairstylist
We highly recommend talking to your hairstylist before you make your donation appointment. "Depending on how much length and face shape will determine what style will best suit the individual," says Dear. "Go to a salon you trust to make your experience more comfortable and better your experience." Your hairstylist can give you realistic expectations on how short your hair will be when your hair is cut. It's a big step to go from long hair to much shorter hair, so giving your stylist a heads up will have you both better prepared.
Make Your Appointment
When your hair is long enough, and you've gathered your courage, call your stylist and let them know that you're ready. Also, keep in mind that some hairstylists offer free or reduced-cost haircuts for Locks of Love donations.
Choose A New Hairstyle
Next, you'll want to choose a style that you can live with. Many people opt for a layered or stacked bob. If your hair is much longer than 10 inches, a medium-length style may be chosen.
Hair can be colored or permed it just can't be bleached, as bleached hair has an undesired chemical reaction during the manufacturing process. If your hair was bleached and later colored over, it can not be used.
Get The Cut
By this time you've prepared and you're ready. All you have to do is show up to your appointment and go for it, but be sure that your stylist follows the correct guidelines when cutting. Donating your hair is such a selfless act and will certainly make a young person's life brighter during a tough time. If you're still nervous about such a big change, remember that it's just hair and it will grow back. It's worth noting that hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.
Send Your Hair To Locks Of Love
Some hair salons will send your hair into Locks of Love for you, others will not. Place your dry ponytail or braid in a resealable plastic bag. Hair must be in a ponytail or a braid to be donated. It's best to place and cut the ponytail when the hair is dry, rather than wet. Place a resealable plastic bag in a padded envelope and mail to Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701. Fill out the hair donation form, or write your name and address on a full-size separate sheet of paper and include it inside the envelope.
Care for Your New Style
Part of the fun of a new haircut is experimenting with different ways to style your hair. For those who were happy to donate but prefer longer locks, Dear recommends some products to help growth along. "I recommend House of Dear Resurrecting Rinse ($38) and House of Dear Volumizing Tonic ($35) as some choices to help your hair grow, due to the active clean ingredients of Aloe vera, Rose of Jericho, and witch hazel in the tonic," she says. "These ingredients help with overall scalp health and blood circulation, which aids in healthy hair growth."