How to donate your hair

Have you ever thought about donating your hair? If you’re planning a new short hairstyle there are many not-for-profits that would love to take your unwanted hair and turn it into a wig.

Highlighted below are three main organisations that provide wigs to women and children affected by hair loss due to cancer and chronic illness. They are based in the USA but do accept international donations so you can post them your ponytail.

Recently I helped create Hair Photo A Day to raise awareness for National Donate Your Hair Day in North America. Now Beautiful Lengths has launched in Australia and is raising awareness with National Donate Your Hair Week. It kicks off with a huge haircut challenge in November in Sydney. You can register your pledge here and read below to find out if you are eligible to donate your hair.

Graphic designed by Becca Clason for She Lets Her Hair Down.

The guide to donating your hair

Please note these details are correct at the time of publishing, but re-confirm the requirements with your preferred organisation prior to cutting your hair.

The three main not-for-profits offering wig-making services are highlighted below but also check your local area for charities and wigmakers who offer a similar service.

All these organisations share three main requirements:

  • Your donated hair must be secured in a ponytail or braid.
  • Your ponytail must measure the minimum required length from one end to the other.
  • Your hair must be clean and dry, placed in a plastic bag and sent by mail.

Wigs For Kids

  • Your hair must be at least 12 inches long (if curly, it can be pulled straight to measure 10 inches)
  • They do not accept coloured, highlighted, bleached or permed hair
  • Wigs are donated to children under 18
  • Wigs are donated to children experiencing hair loss from chemotherapy, ratiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical reasons
  • More information is here

Locks of Love

  • Your hair must be at least 10 inches long (if curly, it can be pulled straight to measure 10 inches)
  • They do accept coloured or permed hair but not bleached (highlights). More details about hair requirements are here.
  • Wigs are donated to children under 21
  • Wigs are donated to children experiencing hair loss due to: Alopecia, Cancer, Ectodermal Dysplasia-A, Loose Anagen Syndrome, Trichotillomania, Telogen Effluvium, and Trauma
  • Hair that cannot be used will be sold to offset manufacturing costs
  • Print out the donation form here

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

  • Your hair must be at least 8 inches long when straight
  • They do not accept chemically treated hair (bleach, dye, perm, highlights, chemically straightened)
  • They do not accept hair that is more than 5% grey
  • Wigs are donated to women of all ages
  • Wigs are donated to women experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment
  • In partnership with the American Cancer Society
  • More information is here and details about the Australian programme are here.

Thank you to Rubi of She Lets Her Hair Down and Cassidy of On Stage Hair Design for assisting with this post.

Have you ever thought about donating your hair?

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  1. MeganM. says

    When I was 14, I decided that I really wanted to grow my hair out and donate it on my 18th birthday to Locks of Love. I did and on the day before my 18th birthday, the stylist cut off 22 inches! She could have cut off several more inches, but I was to scared to have my hair that short. :) It was a wonderful experience and it was fun to have my friends and family there for the big chop! :) I definitely recommend doing this at least once!

    • Hair Romance says

      Wow Megan, that is amazing! I dont think my hair is even 22″ long from root to tip. What an incredible donation, and thanks for sharing your story x

  2. says

    I’ve shaved my head twice for The first time was for the Leukaemia Foundation in 2008 and I REALLY wanted to donate the ponytail as well (my hair was half way down my back) but it had been colour treated for 13 years! The second time was August this year and I donated the money I raised to World Vision. Sadly I don’t think I’m dedicated enough to grow my hair that long without colouring it!
    Jenn {mountains and musings} recently fridayMy Profile

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Jenn, that is amazing. Two fantastic charities and a great idea to raise money with your hair if it’s not suitable for donation. Christina x

  3. Alissa says

    Thanks for the information! I’ve been growing out my hair again wondering if Locks of Love was the only organization I could donate to. I’ve donated to them twice now, once 10 inches and a second time 15 inches. In another month or so I’ll be cutting it drastically again and now that I’ve seen your post I have more options. Thanks again!
    Cutting that much hair off was scary but so worth it!

  4. TerriAnnM says

    I have donated my hair 4 times in the last 12 years =) its a nice change going from long to short to long again. And its rewarding knowing its going to a good cause.

  5. Janessa says

    Two years ago, I chopped off my hair and you inspired me to do so! I never do anything with my hair my whole life aside from the boring ponytail I wore daily to the point where I was not recognized with my hair down! I saw your short hair posts and wanted to rock them and reading more, I realized short hair can be styled and easily! That was great for someone who could care less about her own hair. I donated not that much but a pretty good amount. I hadn’t planned to donate hair or I would have grown it out longer. I donated 15″ of hair I believe (at least that much) and I wore a bob for a while. Then I got brave a few months later and got super short hair with the top layers shorter an where my ear begins and bangs in the front so I still look like a girl haha. I donated to Beautiful Lengths.

    Donating my hair made me feel good and taught me to appreciate and love my hair now. I don’t have plans to donate my hair now but I know I can still spread some joy to those in need through other ways.

    Then as I kept following your posts with my shirt hair, I wished I could style my hair into all those beautiful do’s and so the wait made me like hair even more. I love all sorts of hair now whether they are textured, full, thin, short, frizzy. They are all special in their way and have their own advantages when it comes to styling them.

  6. Erin says

    I recently cut my 24 inch hair to around half of that. I was considering donating it to locks of love, but after reading into some of the reviews I did not.
    First of all they were very strangely particular about what kinds of hair they would accept. I found that, well weird.
    And after reading customer reviews I learned that they leave your hair in a box in a ware house, and hardly any are used. It is quite rare for your hair to actually be used.
    I don’t know about you, but I love my hair, and I can barely stand seeing it on the floor of my hair dressers let a lone holding a broad of it my hair. Creepy. I mean donating it would be a good thing but…

    I do love my hair now it’s a perfect length for me. I have very thick hair so long hair was hard to deal with. After getting it cut to my soldier it made me look, older, sophisticated, and best of all CUTE!

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