How-To | Make a Hair Donation

Hair Donation

Making a hair donation is something I have wanted to do since I first learned it was an option.

I’ve always had an abundance of hair and consequently so have my floors, drains, and dark-colored clothes. It’d be a close competition between Mapu and I over who sheds the most.

So I figured, why not do something useful with my disloyal hair while I still have so much of it?

The problem is, I like wearing my hair long. I don’t have a strong jawline, long neck, or high cheek bones so bobs and pixie cuts are out. What I do have, is a double-chin with a  scar that I like to hide behind my dark locks. Boring? Safe? Perhaps. But I’ve tried bangs and I’ve rocked highlights and both were way too high maintenance for me (and maintenance is my specialty). So I kept it long and simple, and vanity won out.

Then Big Bub came along and despite what everyone said about hair falling out after giving birth, mine persevered. And being so thankful for my healthy little family, I knew it was time.  The idea that hair, which grows back in a flash, could make a difference to someone else just makes me feel fuzzy all over.

My hair stylist Chloe (Loft 26 Salon), cut 10.5-inches off last week and I still have plenty. It was washed, bundled into a pony tail, then cut while still wet. The snip itself was painless 😉 I brought the hair home in a plastic bag, took it out to dry thoroughly, then re-bagged it for shipping.

You can’t exactly tell from my photo at Lucky Shops but Chloe cut the new ‘do at an angle so that it’s slightly longer in the front (think Victoria Beckham a few years back) and has some style to it.

I couldn’t be happier with the change and the opportunity to put the hair to such good use makes me want to grow it out and cut it all over again.

Chloe recommended that I check out Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ donation program. I thought that Locks of Love was the gold standard so I researched both and here’s what I learned are the major differences between them:

  • Pantene’s minimum donation requirement is 8 inches of hair.  Locks of Love’s minimum is 10 inches but will accept shorter pieces and sell them to offset the manufacturing costs of the hairpieces.
  • Pantene’s wigs benefit women whose hair loss is attributed to cancer.  Locks for Love’s  wigs are sold to children under 21 with hair loss resulting from any array of factors.
  • Pantene does not accept hair that is more than 5% gray.  Locks of Love accepts gray hair, which they also sell.
  • Pantene does not charge for the wigs, no matter what the recipient’s economic status.  Locks of Love does not provide all of its hairpieces for free.  According to its website, prices for human-hair wigs are set on a sliding scale based on the recipient’s family income.

For more information, please visit their respective websites.

Ultimately, I chose Pantene Beautiful Lengths because while I understand the desire to offset costs, I am not comfortable with the potential sale of my hair if it’s deemed unqualified or otherwise, since it’s unclear where it will end up and for what purpose. I also love Pantene’s mission to donate the wigs.

Either way, it’s a relatively easy, non-monetary way to make a significant donation and even the little ones can participate.

Have you ever donated your hair or considered it? Are you familiar with any other reputable programs?

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  1. Alex says

    I’ve done locks of love before (12 inches) but after reading this, next time I’ll probably chose to donate to Pantene instead. I think if you’ve lost your hair to something terrible like cancer, the least you can receive is a wig, it’s not fair to make some people pay for it, and some not.

    • says

      I think both programs are pretty fabulous. It’s the lack of transparency that concerns me most with LOL. I mean, what if the hair is sold to a manufacturer overseas that utilizes child labor? Sometimes the most well-intentioned groups inadvertently do more harm than good.

      I didn’t contact either program directly so maybe LOL will share further details. The above info is just what I garnered from their respective websites.

  2. says

    Thanks for this article! I had absolutely no idea the wigs with Locks of Love were sliding scale and not absolutely free. One of the reasons I love St. Jude Children’s Hospital is that they DON’T charge the families. I would lean toward Pantene’s program after reading this as well. I may just link to this article! :-)

  3. Sarah at the Stroller Ballet says

    I love learning a little bit more about these programs, especially since I haven’t heard of the Pantene one before. I have super fine hair and can’t really get it below my shoulders, so donating my hair hasn’t been something I’m able to do. I think it’s amazing that you did, though. And I think you look fabulous with your new ‘do! Love it!

  4. says

    Mommy donated 12 inches to Wigs for Kids, which is similar to Locks of Love, when she was in college. She just chopped off 14 inches, but it wasn’t eligible to be donated because it had been highlighted… :(

    We will have to check outbthat Pantene program for next time!

    • says

      Unfortunately, neither Pantene nor LOL accepts bleached, permanently colored or chemically treated hair because they further color treat the hair for consistency and already treated hair can’t withstand the additional processing :(

      • Roberta says

        I did read on the Pantene site that if you have gray or highlighted/colored hair THEY WILL ACCEPT these but CANNOT make wigs of them because it cannot withstand the process it takes to make the wigs . INSTEAD gives it to a company that uses all unusable hair to make “hair mats” that are used to absorb oil spills.
        Pantene DOES NOT sell the hair, they give it away. Either way your hair is doing good!

        So for all those who do not qualify just check out Pantene’s Beautiful Hair web site and see for yourself.

        • Lisa says

          I wonder what they do for the ladies with grey hair that need wigs. Do they color the hair that they receive? Seems like they would be able to garner the grey from the hair they receive to make some. Just a thought.

  5. says

    I can’t tell you how awesome I think you are for donating your hair. I’ve never had enough hair to donate, but would do it in a heartbeat if I did. My good friend donated to Locks for Love as well. My sister keeps saying she doesn’t want to donate her hair (which is past her butt and needs to be chopped) to LFL because of the selling aspect. I can’t wait to tell her about Pantene’s program.

    • says

      Oh, I’m so glad this post is helpful!

      Just now, my son’s nanny told me that she lost her hair 20 years ago while receiving treatment for Luekemia and that it meant a lot to her that I donated :) She didn’t have immediate access to a wig and wore a scarf. I’m so grateful to have been able to do it and spread the word. Thanks for passing it along!!

      Cancer affects everyone and these amazing programs are rewarding for everyone involved.

  6. says

    What a beautiful, selfless thing to do. Just awesome! I also love that you took the time to research both organizations.
    And your new ‘do is super cute!!!!

    • says

      Thanks Yakini! Selfless? Well, my heart grew 10 sizes when our nanny just told me what it meant to her and the overall response has been so positive I’m as happy as if I just drank a few martinis :) Win-win!

  7. says

    Jill, you’re amazing! What a beautiful things to do! :)

    I can’t wait to see the new hairdo! I love that you mentioned the Pantene organization, I really thought Locks of Love was the only one.

    I would love to do this but I cut my hair so often it never gets to 8 inches. I’ll have to check before my next haircut. My girl is on maternity leave so it will be awhile before my next cut.

    Great post for a great cause!

  8. says

    Your hair was LONG! I saw the after show ( below ) and it still looks long after 10 inches cut off!

    It’s fun chopping it all off though, isn’t it??

  9. says

    Jill – you are so amazing, what a beautiful thing to do! I wish I could do this, but my hair is short {I really don’t have great hair}…BUT its something to think about…grow it out and then donate! I can’t wait to see your new do’. You are so beautiful, it doesn’t matter if you have short or long hair :)

  10. Colleen says

    I am loving that you did this. I know how you love long hair and how your’s always looks freakin’ perfect!

    Am I missing something? Where is the after picture????

  11. Sandra says

    Wow, good for you Jill! You are an absolute angel. Where are the pics of the new do, though?
    Well, if you ever miss your long locks, you can always get hair extensions…or does that kind of defeat the purpose.
    Ah, who cares, you would be beautiful sporting a mullet!

  12. Lisa says

    I never even heard of the Pantene Program, thought Locks was the only game in town. Thanks for educating us. I am going to tell my freinds and my next door neighbor is a hairdresser- bet she doesn’t know either.

  13. says

    I love that you donated your hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I cut my hair back in May and had it donated to Hair for Haiti. Funny thing is that I too cut my hair like Victoria Beckham though it is a longer version of the cut we are all too familiar with. I love it because it still looks like my hair is long, with the front ends hitting my shoulders. It is definitely a great alternative to the bob….much sexier too :)


  14. says

    Wow, thats a lot of hair, so fabulous of you to donate your hair to such a great cause. I always thought that would be an amazing thing to do, but since I’m a short haired gal, its pretty unlikely to ever happen!!
    amber :)

  15. says

    Wow, I’m like lots of the other wonderful posters on here – I had never heard of the Pantene program. My girls and I have been growing ours out for the locks of love program. You’re hair is so beautiful and healthy! Oh, and you are SO lucky to have been able to go to the Lucky Shops event; I’m so jealous. 😉

  16. says

    What a great cause. I have always wanted to do this (and have a lot of hair I could donate myself). My only concern is that I think they don’t take hair that’s treated with color, right? I wonder if that applies to both programs or just the LOL one?

    Your hair is beautiful and you should feel so good about where it’s going! :)

  17. Morysa says

    I donated my hair two years ago to Beautiful Lengths and received a letter from them a few months later telling me how much someone with cancer will appreciate my donation. I thought that was really nice. I have read a lot about the Locks of Love issues. While I think both are great causes, I am once again donating to Beautiful Lengths because I don’t want a company to make profit on my donation (not saying that is what happens, I just feel like that) and I have worked with the American Cancer Society and have personally seen people receive free wigs and it’s such an amazing sight.

    • says

      Hi! I am about to donate my hair tomorrow, I am going to donate it to Pantene’s organization and I too would like to receive a letter once my donation has arrived. Do I just include my address and personal info along with the donation? :) Thank you!

  18. redtress says

    I have donated to locks of love several times. Back in 1998 when I was first made aware of them,I donated my hair (14 in braided) I had four braids saved from previous cuts I also donated. I was planning onhaving doll wigs made for any future daughters I was going to have but instead ha d sons…Since then I have donated 5 or 6 times. My hair is super thick and never been treated. Each donation is actually two since my hair is so thick. I was thinking of donating to the Pantene program but everytime I click on the link it takes me to the Pantene page and no info on donation program. can anyone give me some good info on them? Or its back to locks of love for me

    • Icare says

      Go to!!!! We are launching a hair drive in our school and will be donating our hair :) through pantene! It is an awesome cause and we are very excited! Go for it and make a difference in the lives of cancer patients!

  19. MJ Carrillo says


    I’m a cancer survivor and this is the first year that I will be donating my hair. I was lucky not to have gone thru chemo or radiation treatment, but I know several people that are fighting and have lost their hair from the treatment. I had first learned about Locks of Love last year from a friend and decided to let my hair grow without learning about their requirements. Little did I know that they only wanted natural hair (no dye or other treatments). Not only that, but they sell the wigs that they make.

    This year I received an email from the hospital where I have been seen for my cancer, and Pantene Beautiful Lengths is hosting an event. I did my research and was happy to know that Pantene does not sell for their wigs, they DONATE!! So, why not donate my hair to an organization that is going to donate wigs to women in need? All I can say is I’m happy that I am going to donate my hair to someone who really needs it :)

    I am super excited to know that I will be able to help someone in need!

  20. says

    I donated my hair twice before finding Pantene Beautiful Lengths (and have donated twice to them too). I had only hear of LOL before and went with them…but then found out some issues they had with the Better Business Bureau, as well as other practices I didn’t agree with. Also, LOL didn’t acknowledge my 1st donation and only acknowledged the 2nd after almost a year (suggests some sloppy practices-I just want to know that my hair made it there safely). Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths was just starting when I went with them. I have had great experiences with the Pantene program (I even got to donate on Ellen). They do not charge for their wigs and they don’t sell off the hair either. So, before donating, please look into the organizations and all those little details first to make sure your hair is being used how you want. There is another one called Wigs for Kids that has some good reviews too, but I have not gone through them.

  21. says

    Thanks for sharing that information. I just cut mine yesterday and was on the fence about which organization I should donate to. {It’s nice to see I am not the only person that “sheds” when they have long hair. :-)}

  22. FA says

    I donated my hair to Locks of Love for the fifth or sixth time (I’ve lost track!) last May and it’s something I always enjoy doing. I’m lucky that it only takes me a few years to have my hair grow long enough to be donated and I figure it’s better to donate it than have it end up in a landfill! I’d heard of Pantene’s program before, but I didn’t realize you only needed eight inches to donate! I may try Pantene next time, just because growing out those last two inches can be a real annoyance sometimes!

    I did know that Locks of Love sells hair it can’t use. This hasn’t bothered me because I figure that as a nonprofit organization it needs to make money to offset administrative costs somehow. And, again, I’d rather Locks of Love sell my hair than have it end up in a landfill. Pantene, however, is a for-profit company and has other resources to fund administrative costs. If I heard Pantene was selling my hair, I would be justifiably angry (they make enough profit as it is). But Locks of Love is a public, nonprofit organization that specifically works to provide wigs to economically disadvantaged kids, according to their website. So, I would also assume that by charging other families on a sliding scale means they’re able to provide more wigs to kids who can’t afford them at all. I say kids, but really the wigs are for girls for the most part. Boys don’t seem to be as attached to their hair as girls are.

    Anyway, congrats Glamamom on your first donation! No matter where you donate your hair, hope it’s not your last!

  23. Debbie Navas says

    I have a question I hope someone can answer for me. I’m interested in donating my hair but I’m afraid my hair might be too damaged to be used. It isnt bleached but I do straighten it. So my question is would my hair still be useful if I donate it or it is better to not send it in?

    • says

      Hi Debbie, I think it is still useful but you should check out the websites. The only hair I see that they don’t use is more than 5% gray but then they may sell it to offset costs so it’s still valuable.

  24. Leslie says

    I have donated my hair a number of times, initially to LOL, but to Pantene the last few times. I am glad you have this information out for people to read and help make better educated decisions when donating. I have tried to do the same with my group of friends…and am happy you have compiled this comparison list. Keep donating!

  25. MS says

    Another excellent donation option is Wigs for Kids. They also provide wigs to kids with a variety of health issues for free. There is a list of participating salons on their website. They do, however, prefer 12 inches (10+ at the least) in order to make their hairpieces.

  26. Jael says

    I’ve donated my hair twice before so far and am looking to do it again. I’ve always done locks of love but someone recently mentioned Pantene to me, which I’d never heard of before. Researching the two led me to your site! Think I’ll go with Pantene this go-around, thanks!

  27. Austin Elizabeth says

    I agree, Pantene does come off as the best. Even if the charge is suppose to be affordable for the family’s income, I’m not sure what the cost is of all the treatments of cancer but I’d imagine that every penny counts for most families and the last thing you’d want to worry about is if you can afford a wig for yourself or child.
    I’m looking into different hair donors now to donate next spring after my prom and Pantene seems the best so far.


    After looking at locks of love website and requirements i was sure this website was the one to go with and then i read reviews and comments. Thankfully now i have a choice to make as i will be donating the hair next week. Seems like beautiful lenghts will be a winner since i do not want my hair to be sold for any reason. MY main focus is to donate it to kids that need the hair due to cancer sickness and this is the way to go. Thanks for the comment/help….

    • Rob says

      I am a guy. My Aunt was diagnosed with cancer and lost her hair. Unfortunately she lost her battle.

      I have always wanted to donate and am now growing for the donation. I suppose I would go with Pantene because of LOL selling. HOWEVER, I am looking into it further to see if there is any kind of a program out there where you can track your hair.

      I personally would like to know who my hair went to so I can know whose life I had touched. I am not familiar with the process of making wigs and don’t know how possible this would be, but I think it would be a great program to create if one doesn’t exist.

      I also think it might raise the spirits of the wig recipients if they knew who the hair came from, and possibly open some dialogue and even great friendships.

      Does anyone know of such a program?

      • Dora says

        Rob, did you get a response to your question: ” if there is any kind of a program out there where you can track your hair?”
        I cut my hair today. I’m looking for a place to donate it now.

        • Rob says

          No Dora, I did not. But I would have thought that if these programs are so sophisticated that they would be able to track someones hair. There should be some form of a tag and/or tracking # that follows the hair wherever it may go.

          I also think that maybe I should have the option of donating it to a person of choice.

          I am not sure if there is any answer. I would like to start a program, but not sure how it works or how to go about it.

          • Meagan says

            It takes at least 8 ponytails to make a wig, it would be incredibly hard to keep up with where it ends up since so much hair gets mixed together. Also, they receive so many donations that trying to keep up with a specific ponytail would add a LOT of time to their process. Just knowing that you are helping by making a donation should mean a lot, I know that it means a lot to the people that receive it. Making a wig with lots of different hair is a lot different than say, donation of an organ where it is very well documented and there’s only one piece going from one person to another. Also, the original poster said they were wanting the donation to go to children. Beautiful Lengths makes wigs for adults. If you would like to donate for children check out Wigs for Kids.

  29. Jessie says

    I’ve donated my hair several times and it’s great to do a lot of research before deciding where to donate! I’m about to make the cut again and I’m leaning towards ‘Children w/ hair loss’. LOL has received a lot of negative press lately and ultimately I just don’t trust them anymore. They recently lost a huge amount of hair donations and couldn’t account for what happened to them. Their CEO doesn’t seem to care much about the problem, either. Pantene is a great program, but I’m a little bit ticked that they only go to people that lost their hair from cancer. I want mine to be free and for anyone that needs it. Though I am glad that they give to older women too, because many do not. Who doesn’t want to help children though :) so I haven’t decided yet, but I’m sure this won’t be my last donation so maybe I’ll just try them all out and see!

    • Rob says

      My catch is that I want to know it has gone to someone. I don’t want to cut it and not know, or think that it might have been sold or even discarded.

      How much does it cost to have a wig made? As if I found someone that would benefit from my hair and give it to them. And then maybe they could have one made with my hair?

      • Annikka says

        It takes 6-10 hair donations to make a single wig, so you’d have to wait YEARS to grow enough hair yourself to make a wig for a single person.

        I think that’s part of the reason they can’t/don’t track it. If they put equal lengths of hairs in bundles to dye it all the same colours and then make several wigs out of that one massive treated bundle, it’d be difficult to track if your hair all ended up in one wig or throughout a few wigs.

        In the FAQs for Locks of Love, they do say you can contact their case manager and see if it could be arranged that your hair specifically goes into that child’s wig.

  30. Christina says

    I have done both Locks of Love and then Pantene (once I found out L.O.L charged for the wigs). This break down really helped, but another company to consider is Wigs for Kids. However, they require 12 inches of donated hair and their wigs are geared toward children. Thanks again.

  31. says

    I donated for the first time back in 2010 (11 inches!) to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program because I liked that they gave the wigs to women with cancer. My Granny got a wig after she lost her hair due to chemo and it made a world of difference to her confidence. I recently got my hair cut and will be donating it to them again (13 braided inches!) I enjoyed my hair long but I’m very happy to help others out. Plus my hair was so long prior to this most recent cut that it’s still below my collar bones when straightened! Thanks for shining some light on PBL program because it isn’t as well known as LoL.

  32. NJDC Mermaid says

    My daughter is a redhead with hair down past her waist. She will be going for a hair cut today with the intentions of donating it to PBL program. This will be her 5th time that she has donated her hair. She did donate to LOL twice before finding out that the wig are sold to the people in need, then she started growing out for PBL. I too have long hair and wish I able to donate mine as well but mine is color treated and far beyond the 5% gray allowed. I can not tell you how proud I am of my daughter. I hope that who ever ends up with her donation is happy. She first donated her hair @ 6yrs old she is now 16.

    • says

      That’s wonderful to read. I love that donating hair is something meaningful girls can do at any really any age. It’s very personal and makes a huge impact on the recipients life. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Rebecca Chapman says

    My sister had donated to Locks of Love once before and then recently, we realized that with another year or two, we could BOTH donate again. I now have 12″ and she’s got 11″ to donate. We are making plans to do it while she’s in my town for Easter weekend but after reading this, I think I’d rather send it to Pantene instead of Locks. I’d rather know that my hair was going into a wing for someone for free rather than sold despite the scaled pricing. Our grandmother, Eleanor, died of cancer in 1997; our dad’s sister, Jeanne, survived breast cancer around 2005; our uncle Darryl is now battling a return of his cancer we thought was beat last year. Our family is no stranger to cancer and knowing that we are helping bring joy to someone else makes the years of annoying, high maintenance long hair worth it! Can’t wait for Easter this year!! <3

  34. Anna Ringwald says

    I live in the Heights area in Houston & the Super Cuts doesnt charge if donating hair. I’m not sure if other salons do this, but I’m glad they contribute to this cause also. This will be my third year to donate to Pantene because they provide the wigs without those other restrictions. I feel that Cancer patients have enough to deal with, and want them to know that others care for them. Thanks again Pantene. Anna in Houston

  35. Maeve says

    I have donated my hair twice, LOL in 2005 and Pantene in 2010. I have heard that Pantene uses all of the hair they receive while LOL doesn’t. I am planning on donating my hair again soon, and have just heard of Children With Hair Loss (CWHL); they haven’t ever charged a receipt for a wig and they support patients of a variety of diseases that result in hair loss, not just cancer. They are similar to Pantene in that they’re minimum length is 10 inches.

  36. shiena says

    This info is super helpful both my young dauthers just chopped their hair off and want to donate it so thier ponies can be made into wigs to help women n children I’m so proud of them and this helps me to decide were to send it….pantine beautiful lengths :-) thank u!

  37. Iris Taylor says

    I’ve donated my hair three times to Locks of Love. A friend mentioned a scandal, so I checked it out. No determination had been made as to whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of LOL. I contacted the American Cancer Society and was told that when asked about hair donations they recommend either Pantene Beautiful Lengths (only 8″ required) or Wigs For Kids (12″ required). I will be making my fourth donation to Pantene.

  38. Karen says

    I’m quite disappointed that I can not donate to adult women with cancer because I have more than 10 % silver hair. Locks of love it is.

  39. Mary fishman says

    I called the American Cancer Society. They refer to two organizations. Wigs for Kids which requires 12 inches and Pantene Beautiful Lengths which requires 8 inches. Locks of love is not included because they don’t provide wigs for cancer patients, only for those with long term hair loss conditions.

  40. Annikka says

    I ended up donating 16 inches to Locks of Love. I just preferred their foundation since it helps kids with permanent hair loss from disease rather than the less permanent cancer-treatment hair loss.

    I understand both situations can be traumatic and the last thing cancer patients want to deal with is hair loss on top of being sick, but I just feel for the kids who can’t even have their hair grow properly. When I was young I loved having long long hair and so now I feel that since I can still grow it out, they should be able to benefit from that.

    I recently found Angel Hair for Kids and I’ll likely be making my next donation to them.

  41. Irma Inoue says

    I strongly feel that if you donate your hair…. it should be donated as well not sold.

    YOU are blessed with long beautiful hair, why not.

  42. says

    Thank you for this post! I have really long hair right now and finally feel ready to part ways. I would love to be able to donate, and for it help someone feel better despite challenges they are going through. Luckily, the length requirements won’t be an issue, but some of the ends were color treated a long time ago and some programs are more specific about those preferences. My hair is still in great condition, I get compliments on my hair every day. I know it will grow back again, and if I keep it natural next time I will have more options of where to send it. I was also unaware that LOL sold some of the hair, and that they did not donate the wigs to patients. However, I’m not the biggest Pantene (Proctor & Gamble) fan, especially because of their dangerous ingredients, animal testing, and other corporate issues. The BL programs seems to be of good natured intentions, but I don’t feel comfortable promoting their brand.
    Do you know much about the Children With Hair Loss program or other groups? Thanks again!

  43. sarnia says

    Great post, I have been looking for a place to donate and it seems like the pantene program would be the best choice.

    i live in canada, and we have a program called “angel hair for kids”, under the a child’s voice foundation. their website says they provide wigs at no cost for financially DISADVANTAGED children whom have list their hair due to a medical condition or treatment. my mom has donated to them 3 times already, however, they require a minimum of 12 inches which is lengthy! i would donate to them, but I have curly hair and i’m anxious to chop mine off soon pantenes 8 inch requirement is looking more appealing to me at this point.

    either way, angel’s hair for kids seems like another great options for any canadians reading this! if you’re willing to grow the 12 in minimum that is!

  44. Samantha Ebelhare says

    Hello! I wondering if anyone knew if they used the hair that’s not colored, and does what ever they do with the hair that they can’t use? I have two streaks in my hair (1/2 in behind each ear) and that’s the only part of my hair that’s treated in any sort of way. I’ve signed up to donate my hair at school and want to make sure that it’s not all being given away/ sold because of two small spots.


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