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How Can I Donate My Hair?

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  • Written By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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Madonna Coffman was a nurse who developed alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease with no known cause or cure, as a young adult. Later, her young daughter developed the disease and became completely bald. Coffman saw the psychological suffering that her daughter was experiencing from the hair loss, and in December 1997 began leading the effort to establish Locks of Love as a not-for-profit organization. Since this time, Locks of love has been giving people who wish to donate their hair a concrete way to help children suffering from hair loss.

Approximately 1.7 percent of the world's population suffers from alopecia areata, which causes loss of hair both on the scalp and on other parts of the body. A person with alopecia areata becomes bald, either in patches or all over the scalp, because the person's immune system attacks the hair follicles, stopping the growth of the hair. This condition often has its onset in childhood.

Many people wish to donate hair in order to help children with hair loss lead a more normal life. Locks of Love provides hairpieces made of human hair to children suffering from alopecia areata, as well as burns on the scalp, and other permanent medical conditions. Children undergoing chemotherapy are sometimes considered, but not always, as this is thought to be a temporary condition.

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People who want to donate hair to Locks of Love must provide ten or more inches of hair, pulling curly hair straight before measuring. Only natural human hair can be donated, not weaves, wigs, or any other kind of synthetic hair. Men, women, and children of all ages, and races can donate hair of any color. The hair can be permed or colored as long as it is not damaged.

Some salons will provide a haircut free of charge to anyone wishing to donate hair. These salons are marked by a decal in the window, indicating that haircuts will be free to anyone planning to donate hair. The stylist will usually bundle the hair to be cut, and cut it off in a ponytail or a braid, before completing the haircut and style. Hair must be clean and dry, secured in a ponytail or braid, packaged in a padded envelope, and sent to Locks of Love.

Generally, it takes six to ten people who want to donate hair to comprise enough hair for one hairpiece. The donated hair is separated so that only the longer hair is used, as the process shortens the hair by two inches when the wig is completed. Hairpieces are handmade and custom fitted to each child's head. The retail price for these hairpieces would range from $3,500 to $6,000 (USD) but are provided at no cost or on a sliding scale by Locks of Love to children with financial need.

Locks of Love estimates that more than 80 percent of hair is donated by children wanting to donate hair to help other children. Hair that is gray, white, or too short to be usable in hairpieces for children is sold at market price to offset the financial cost of creating the hairpieces. People wishing to donate hair can find more information at the Locks of Love website.

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Discuss this Article

anon145619
Post 9

I'm a 16 year old boy i have really bushy hair and i want to donate it. can you tell me how long it has to be and if i can because i want to so bad.

anon80505
Post 8

I have short hair but wouldn't mind having it to donate it. can I do that or what do i have to do? I want to cut it but I would like to do something good for someone else.

anon76987
Post 7

i am a man and i want to donate my hair from the scalp. Is it possible? and how do ihave to do it?

anon55106
Post 5

I have had women come up to me and say "would you give me your hair?" in a 'wish' like fashion. I have naturally curly hair with a white streak in with my salt and pepper hair. It is very healthy, I always get compliments on my hair.

Is there any charity out there who will take my hair as is or do I actually have to color it to donate it? Help.

anon48941
Post 4

Dang. I really wanted to donate my hair but I only have six or seven inches of hair that can be cut. If I wanted to grow out the extra three inches, it'll take another year or so!

anon9503
Post 3

They take the gray hair out, but colored hair is fine - as long as it is not too damaged, I think. I've donated colored hair.

olittlewood
Post 2

this sounds like such a worthy cause! what if you have colored grey hairs? i know that there would be a few random greys in there if i donated my hair. also, what condition does the hair have to be in? what do they do if there are a few split ends in there?

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