Instagram photo I snapped in the salon before the Big Cut
Except for an unfortunate time in college when I cut it waaaay too short, I have pretty much always had long hair. My whole life whenever I mention that I’m going to get a haircut, people ask, “Oh! Are you going to donate it?”
And I always said no. Always no, and always for a logical, pretty unselfish reason. I just wanted a trim, or it wasn’t long enough, or I didn’t want cut it all off to meet the minimum donation length.
But one day I hoped I would say yes! Yes, I am going to donate it. Yes, I donated my hair! Something that could be useless — my hair in a trash can — is going to be something beautiful and useful, something that will meet a great need for someone else.
Back in the spring I was getting so. sick. of my long hair, especially with my newborn and toddler constantly stuck to me. I mentioned on this photo on Facebook that I wanted to cut it, and a lot of people cautioned me about my plan to donate it to Locks of Love. In the end I decided I needed to do more research.
In the process I learned about this article, which exposed Locks of Love’s apparent wastefulness with its donations. Also, Locks of Love often donates its wigs to children with alopecia, not cancer. If possible, I wanted my hair to go to someone with cancer because I lost a dear childhood friend to that disease, and I remember her own hair loss and her own wig. I also did research into which organizations accepted hair and were reportedly honest and reliable. Over and over one name kept popping up: Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Even the American Cancer Society (which does not provide wigs) recommended this organization.
Also, as a bonus, Pantene Beautiful Lengths had a shorter minimum length requirement (8 inches); Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids required 10 inches of hair. As I still wanted my hair to be touching my shoulders after it was cut, I wanted to stick to 8 inches. My hair, which has some layering, varied from 8 to 10 inches in length, and with Pantene it seemed like most of it could be put to good use.
I felt ready. One afternoon while we were still in the States, I got the blessing of my husband (“It’s ok as long as you’re donating it… but I really love your long hair!”) and asked my mom to watch my two children, and then I drove down the road to the same salon where Lena had just gotten her first haircut. I put my hair into two pigtails (in order to maximize the length), tied hair ties around each one, let the stylist move in for the kill, and… chop chop! The deed was done!
It was weird looking at my hair detached from my body. I slipped it into a zippered bag as directed and took it to the post office right away.
I thought it would be cool to hear when my hair made it to Pantene, and so I followed their instructions and wrote my name, mailing address, and email on the bag.
And there it goes! I donated my hair for a great cause, and I hope with all my heart that it makes it to someone who really needs it someday soon. In fact, just this morning I read this amazing article by a cancer survivor that made me even more thankful that I had donated specifically for a wig for a cancer patient. Maybe I’ll grow my hair out and donate again!
Finally, here are two things that made the experience even more fun: an M&M McFlurry (one of my many guilty pleasures… drooling just thinking of it now…) and having the same French braid hairstyle as my little girl!
Have you ever donated your hair? Would you like to one day?