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Donating hair to cancer patients

It’s not just some frivolous idea that,”when you look good, you feel good.” We’ve all experienced the truth of that at one time or another and as professional hair stylists, we get to see it play out daily. We see some clients transform from feeling dowdy, unhappy, anxious or upset, to happy, confident, pretty and feeling life is good, all in the span of one hair appointment . . . it’s like magic!

Our hair defines us; it is part of who we are and who we recognize in the mirror each day. It’s hard to imagine getting up one day and having ‘no’ hair. And, for cancer patients, who are battling with countless issues, losing their hair and often eyebrows and eyelashes as well, must be like salt in the wound. So many cancer patients have expressed how grateful they were for having a wig and the important part it played in their healing process. Donating hair for free wigs for cancer patients is simple to do and changes lives.

Great wigs start with healthy hair and you can donate stronger, healthier hair by following a good hair care routine now.  Many breast cancer patients return their wigs for donation to others going through hair loss, so taking good care of your hair now will guarantee a better, longer lasting wig. Here are a few things that you can do before your haircut.

-Use a sulfate free moisturizing shampoo and limit the frequency of shampooing.
-Condition after every shampoo or between shampoos. If your hair isn’t dirty, in the shower try massaging scalp with water and then condition to add moisture.
-Deep condition once a week or once every two weeks.
-Be gentle when combing through wet hair. Use a leave in conditioner, then comb through with fingers first and follow using a wide tooth comb.
-Less heat is always better. With blowouts, try flipping head upside down and drying roots only. If you need to curl, try large pin curls.
-Get regular trims, every 4 to 8 weeks.

Most of the organizations asking for your donation will have similar suggestions, but as they can change, it is a good idea to check before cutting off your locks. It’s a beautiful gift to give and they want desperately to be able to use all donations. Put hair into ponytail or braid before cutting. Secure pony at both ends and in the middle with hair elastics. Put in plastic bag before mailing in bubble wrap envelope or box.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society. Together they distribute free wigs to anyone in need of a wig due to cancer. It’s so impressive to read the comments on their site of the difference they are making in lives. As of today they are showing 303,998 ponytails donated and 24,000 real hair wigs donated to American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute them across the country. These are their basic requirements for donations.

-Hair must be 8 inches or longer
-Cannot accept bleached, permanent colored hair or hair more than 5% gray
-Henna or vegetable dyed hair is acceptable
-Dreadlocks are not accepted

Locks of Love

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that specializes in hair pieces for children who suffer from long term hair loss. These wigs are custom made to fit a smaller child’s head size comfortably. They distribute free wigs to those financially disadvantaged up to age 21.

-Colored or permed hair is accepted
-Bleached hair is not accepted
-Dreadlocks are not accepted
-Hair length must be 10 inches or longer
-Curly hair that straightens to 10 inches is accepted

The American Cancer Society also provides free wigs that have been donated to them. They have wig banks throughout the country.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing