Call it nostalgia or magic—but there’s something special in the air. It’s the holiday season and, if you can’t tell, we’re giddy with the gift-giving spirit. We’ve been hunting for the perfect presents, but when you get down to it, the season isn’t really about what’s in the box. It’s about being mindful of others and giving back. And the ways you can do so are infinite: volunteer at a homeless shelter, provide canned goods to a family in need, donate your hair for cancer or wigs for kids. These gifts don’t come with a price tag, yet the impact they make is priceless. If you choose to donate hair (maybe you’ve got a couple of inches to spare in the winter), we’ve got some tips to help you navigate the ins, the outs, and the final cut. Here’s how to donate hair for the holidays.
Choose Where to Donate Hair
Destination is the first step when it comes to hair donation. Not all hair donation organizations have the same requirements, so knowing the needs and limitations of your organization of choice will help you meet its criteria—or choose a new cause—without any last minute woulda coulda shouldas. Here are some of the best places to donate hair.
For donating at least 10 inches:
Locks of Love
Wigs for Kids
For donating less than 10 inches:
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Children with Hair Loss
Wigs 4 Kids
By donating your hair, you could be giving someone the best hair day of their life, so treat your tresses like royalty. Keep split ends at bay by getting regular trims (no more than 8 weeks between snips), do a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment once a week to repair damage or remedy dryness, and try to skip a shampoo here and there. And we all know heat styling can weaken strands, so limit the use of blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons. Use a wide-tooth comb—not a brush—to detangle, wrap hair in a towel for 10 minutes to soak up excess water, then use a moisturizing heat protectant like Madison Reed STYLE. Your mane will remain soft, shiny, and hydrated...and perfect for the taking.
Big Snip Tips
Going from long to short hair isn’t as easy as it sounds. Doing some mental prep and styling research before the big day will help you happily face the mirror. Imagine yourself with shorter hair, create a Pinterest board of short styles you like, and consider purchasing some product and tools geared toward petite lengths. Then, go to your organization’s website and read up on their guidelines on how to best cut and mail your hair for donation. From one ponytail to multiple ponytails, braids, snipping above the rubber band and shipping dry (not wet) hair bundles, requirements can vary and your stylist may not be familiar with the nuances. Heading into your appointment educated and ready to educate your stylist is the only way to go.
For those who are inspired to lob off locks, here’s a huge high five. But hair donations aren’t for everyone. It’s a big commitment and can be a little daunting. There are other ways to pay it forward...consider making a cash donation. Some programs, like Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ partnership with the American Cancer Society, have no minimum amount, so you can put even pocket change to good use. Whether you chose to snip or chip in, you can give the gift of hope while making someone feel beautiful.