Things You Need to Know When Cutting & Donating Your Hair


Things You Need to Know When Cutting & Donating Hair from If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you know that each one of my girls has had long hair and chosen to cut it off to donate it.  My oldest has actually done it twice now, and the younger two have done it once so far.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but being that Bee just cut her hair, I figured it’s timely to talk about this. We are often questioned about their decision to cut their long hair and even criticized for cutting it and donating it.  And while I realize it’s technically no one’s business what we do with their hair, and why we do it, I still wanted to write this post.  My hope is we can shed some light on things and what options are available if you are looking to donate your hair.

If you have long hair and are thinking of cutting it to donate – or in the future you want to grow your hair out to donate it, here are some answers to questions, some things to think about, and several places that take hair donations.

Why donate?

Because there are children and adults in the world who are in need of wigs due to the temporary or permanent loss of hair from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues.  And of course, because it makes you feel good inside knowing you’ve helped someone in need. 🙂

Who can donate?

Boy or girl – it doesn’t matter.  And for the most part it doesn’t matter what type your hair is – straight or curly, fine or thick, etc.  Most of the organizations do not accept hair that has been dyed or bleached though, and several do not accept grey hair – so it is a bit limited to younger people.  But check on each organizations guidelines.

How much hair has to be cut off to donate?

Again, it depends on the organization, but the minimum I found was 8 inches and the most had to be at least 12 inches to donate.  There, of course, is no limit on how long the ponytail or braid is that is donated.

Who can cut your hair?

From everything I read and know, you can have anyone cut your hair.  You can go to a salon and have it cut off or you can even cut your own hair off if you prefer.  You just need to follow the guidelines set by the organization that takes the donations.  Some prefer hair in one ponytail or braid, while others prefer your hair in several sections so the hair is cut off more evenly.  Keep in mind the hair has to be completely dry before you send it in a zipper lock bag.  Otherwise the hair will mold and is cannot be used.

Some things to keep in mind:

* It takes time

Growing out your hair takes patience.  On average people’s hair grows 6″ in a year – so that’s only a half inch per month. And considering most places that take hair donations require about 8 inches as a minimum, it can take a while!  But don’t be discouraged.  If your hair grows slower than that or if you feel like it’s taking forever – hang in there!  Set that goal & stick to it!  As you can see in our picture below, it took “Goose” about 5 years before she cut it again.  That’s not to say it really takes that long — that’s just how it played out.  Granted, she could have cut it a lot shorter and didn’t have to get it quite as long the second time before she cut it off, but that’s what she wanted to do so she’d have a bit more length after cutting it. Hair Cut and Donation from

* It’s personal

For some reason, people sometimes think they need to offer their opinion on how much you should or shouldn’t cut and if you should or shouldn’t donate it.  But in the end it truly is YOUR hair and YOUR decision on what you do and where you donate it.

* 1 person can make a difference

You never know the impact you can have by donating your hair.  I have had many e-mails over the years as my girls have donated their hair, from people who were motivated to grown their hair and cut it or who had been debating on cutting their hair but after seeing our girls do it they decided to take that step.  So not only are you helping someone who may be chronically ill and need a wig, you may influence others to donate as well – making an even bigger difference.  In my research, depending on the organization, it can take anywhere from 8-30 ponytails to make one hair piece.  Wow!  That’s a lot of ponytails! 🙂  So the more people who are encouraged by your example, the better!

Hair Cut & Donation from

* Do your homework

There are so many places out there to donate your hair (more on that in a minute).  You can even sell your hair.  What you do with your hair after it’s cut is up to you.  Like I said, it’s personal.  If you choose to donate your hair ask around, read up on places, etc.  Send it to an organization YOU feel good about.  Let’s be honest here, you probably will never know who gets your hair or see the wig it helps create, so in the end, you are trusting the organization to do what they say they will.  I’m not saying to just send it to any place, but you should send it to where you feel it will be best put to use.

* It’s about giving

In today’s world, it always seems like people tend to ask “What’s in it for me?”  But sometimes that’s not what it’s about.  If you decide to cut and donate your hair it truly is a selfless act of service.  There is nothing “in it for you” except to be of service to someone else.  That’s the best part about donating your hair – knowing you’re doing something for someone else and the thing you get in return is the amazing satisfaction that you’ve done some good in this world.  The important part here is not to judge others.  If someone opts to cut their hair to sell it – that is their personal choice.  Or if someone cuts their hair but doesn’t donate it – that’s ok too.

Hair Cut and Donation from

* Places you can donate *

Below is a run down of just a handful of organizations that collect hair to use for wigs that I am aware of.  Keep in mind it is a personal choice on where you donate.  Every organization has different requirements on the length they will accept as well as the type of hair, so be sure to consult their website first so you know the specific requirements before cutting your hairJust click on the name of the organization to visit their website.

You should know that The American Cancer Society is not able to accept hair donations, but they do recommend the first 2 places on our list:

Wigs for

They make wigs for children and teens under the age of 18 who have lost their hair due to medical reasons. They require at least 12 inches of hair that is not dyed, bleached, or highlighted.  See their site for more information.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths:
They make wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer. They require at least 8 inches of hair that is not bleached, permanently dyed, permed, or chemically straightened.  

Children With Hair Loss:
They make hair available to children under 21 with medically-related hair loss. Their guidelines include at least 8 inches of hair in length, preferably not bleached or highlighted. The hair must be ponytailed or braided.

Locks of Love:
While I know there have been things in the media about this organization lately that haven’t been overly positive, I still am listing it. Again, where you donate is a personal choice, so you make the decision! They also make wigs for kids under the age of 21 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. They require at least 10 inches of hair that is not bleached or highlighted. 

Childhood Leukemia Foundation:
They provide custom-made 100 percent human hair wigs. They also require at least 10 inches of hair that is chemically untreated.

One of our readers in the UK shared with us recently that her daughter had donated to Little Princess Trust  they provide wigs to children in the UK who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments.

There are definitely more places you can donate so do some research.  There are some that are regional so when you donate you can help people right in your state or area if you prefer that over a national place to donate.

If you’re interested in seeing our haircut videos – here they are:

If you are aware of other places to donate that I haven’t listed, please let us know and I will update our list.

Have you or your child ever grown out their hair to donate? What has been your experience?  We’d love to hear from you!

**Disclaimer — This page contains affiliate links. If you click on an item and purchase it, we receive a small % of the sale price. This does not change the price of your item. By purchasing these items it’s like saying a little “thank you” to us! -

19 Responses

  1. My daughter and I always grow out our hair to donate. My daughter has done it 2 times (she’s 10) and I have done it about a dozen times. My hair grows quickly. It is a beautiful thing to show my daughter about being selfless and helping others. Thanks for writing this about your daughter.

    • Becky says:

      That’s fabulous. So wonderful that you’ve been able to donate so many times. What a blessing to those in need. Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. Brianna says:

    I already had long hair and what inspired me to donate my hair was seeing my grandma get diagnosed with cancer then lose her hair from it. She was embarrassed to go out without a wig and it made me feel terrible that she felt that way. She recently passed away and I felt the need to donate my hair so someone going through the samee thing my grandma went through so they wouldn’t have to feel that way. I’ve always loved my long hair but I’m in good health and it will grow back, I hope my hair makes a difference in someone’s life. I personally donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

    • Becky says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. It is so hard to see loved ones suffer. My aunt was the same way – she had breast cancer and wore a wig. My girls saw her with and without her wig and that’s when they clued in to the fact that their hair could really help others. It’s truly such a wonderful gift anyone can offer.

  3. Tab says:

    This is a lovely post. Thank you for posting it. I am just about to get my 15th donation cut. I am blessed to have thick healthy hair that grows crazy fast. I get about 12″ of growth a year. So I’ve donated 14 (almost 15) times in the last 21 years. I have always donated to wigs for kids. This will probably be my last donation as I’m starting to get some greys now at the age of 36.

    • Becky says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. You are amazing — not only because your hair grows so fast, but that you selflessly have donated your hair SO many times. What a big heart you have! We’d love to see any pictures once it’s cut if you want to share!

  4. Jena says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been enjoying your hair tutorials for a while now, so thank you for those too!
    I have donated to Locks of Love and Pantene. I am almost ready to donate again and hadn’t considered a local option… I really appreciate that suggestion! I’m going to show this post to my five-year old, Rapunzel-loving daughter. She goes back and forth about wanting to donate when I do. Hopefully seeing your girls will inspire her to “make the cut” with me!

    • Becky says:

      I’m so glad you found our post helpful. We’d love to see pictures of your cut, and especially if your daughter decides to take the plunge too! 🙂

  5. Cheryll says:

    Becky… another great organization to donate to is…. we also take donations of hair and like it to be 12 inches or longer… but we don’t turn down any donation….
    we have wigs made for children and deliver them to the hospitals….
    please consider us in your next blog…thanks…

  6. Beth S. says:

    Just wanted to share another organization that we currently give to:
    Pink Heart Funds

    My daughter started donating before she started Kindergarten and has donated 5 times. She inspired the start of a share-your-hair club at the elementary school she attended. I help every year and it is amazing!! We are in the 7th year now.

    We donated my daughter’s first two ponytails to Locks of Love and then found out about Pink Hearts. They originally asked for 8″, but have increased to 10″ and now to 12″.

    I so appreciate you spreading the word and for your sweet girls donating!

  7. Marrianne says:

    I have three girls (ages 8-15) who collectively have donated 8 times, including once myself. My 12yo started donating at age 4. We have used Beautiful Lengths (because I only had 8 inches) and Locks of Love in the past. Thanks for this list as I was unaware of the other organizations. I don’t know that they existed when we first started donating. We have loved being able to donate, and have always hoped that it really went to good use. One time at the salon, a lady saw what my girls were doing and was so incredibly touched that she went next door and bought them a huge box of custom pastries to “pay it forward”. They were in turn touched by the impact they had and I think it magnified their experience.

  8. Kaitlin says:

    I have dramatically cut my hair once that I can remember but when I did the lay asked me if I wanted to donate it. I shrugged and said yes. I have always known that wigs are made of donated hair but never really put two and two together. I donated to locks of love about five years ago randomly and only now am I realizing how great a thing that truly was. Thank you Becky for that amazing post.

  9. mel says:

    Locks of love WILL accept Dyed, Bleached and Grey hair. Just be sure to label it!!
    Any hair they receive that they can not use is sold to less discerning wig makers, and that money goes into the supplies required to make a wig, which is costly.

  10. Alexa says:

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this, and especially for mentioning trichotillomania! It seems like no one has any idea what that is, and it’s nice to see it get some recognition. I actually had to cut my own hair off due to my trichotillomania, and went from lower back length to buzz cut. I tried to donate the hair, but couldn’t find a place that would take it since it had been dyed (in an attempt to make me leave it alone.)
    Since then (6 years ago) I have grown my hair out and out and out, and it is now 3 feet long and I can sit on it. I would love to donate it, but the length is currently the only thing keeping me pull free (which I have been for 196 days!!!)
    Thank you so much to you and your daughters for doing this for people like me and my mom (who has leukemia) who cant always have hair of our own. 🙂

  11. Siena Armstrong says:

    I cut my hair to donate last year, but I forgot to send it then. I still have it, and it’s been kept in a plastic bag, and sealed, would I still be able to send it in? Thanks.

    • Becky says:

      Yes, as long as when it was originally put in the bag it was dry hair. If it was wet then there would be issues due to mold or things like that, but I don’t think there would be a problem sending it in regardless of when you cut it as long as it was dry first. Depending on where you send it, you may want to double check on their regulations however.

  12. Morgan says:


    I landed on your post while searching for the “best” hair donation programs as I manage the front end of a hair salon.

    I figured I should share one of my findings of a place to donate hair that isn’t listed here:

    Matters of Trust charity has a program called Excess Access where people/organizations/etc. can post things they need or things they have and want to go to good use/benefit someone else.

    The charity operates as an ecological organization so it was fascinating what I learned about hair donations!

    They use hair (and fur!) donations of all types and almost all lengths to weave into mats to aid in the clean-up of oil spills!! How wonderful!

    This program is definitely worth your research. I
    Thanks for the post!


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