If you have very long hair, you may have considered going for a shorter cut and donating your locks to an organisation that supplies natural hair wigs to people who are experiencing temporary or permanent hair loss due to illness or medical treatment. While this is, of course, a wonderful thing to do, there are a few things to keep in mind before making the big chop.
DO: Make sure your hair is long enough
If you have a particular organisation in mind, be sure to find out the length requirements before scheduling your haircut appointment. While Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths programme accepts donations of eight inches or longer, Locks of Love requires hair to be 10 inches from tip to tip after it is cut. Cutting your hair only to find out it doesn’t meet the length requirement is quite discouraging!
DON’T: Bleach or dye your hair
There are almost no organisations that accept colour-treated hair. If your hair has been bleached, dyed, or highlighted, that portion will need to grow out and be cut off before you can donate your hair. Henna-treated hair is generally accepted, although you’ll want to check with your chosen organisation to be sure.
DON’T: Shampoo every day
Many people shampoo their hair every day, thinking they are keeping hair healthy by keeping it clean. On the contrary, over-shampooing hair can make it overly dry and weigh it down with product. Most people can get by with shampooing their hair twice a week. For hair that gets oily quickly and must be shampooed more often, a lightweight shampoo will prevent product build-up.
DO: Condition, condition, condition!
Using a high-quality conditioner every time you shampoo is crucial for hair health. People with thick, curly, or coarse hair may want to condition daily, even without shampooing first. Once a week, use a leave-in conditioner after your shower to seal in even more moisture and make hair easy to manage. Additionally, using a deep conditioner once a month provides even more protection against damage.
DON’T: Use a brush on wet hair
To prevent breakage, avoid using a brush when your hair is wet. Instead, use a spray-on detangler and a comb, working from the ends up to remove any knots. It can be tempting to run your fingers through your hair in the shower, but fight that urge! Just like a brush, fingers on wet hair can wreak havoc.
DON’T: Towel-dry hair
To cut down on breakage and frizz, skip the towel-drying after your shower. Towel-drying upsets the outer cuticle of your hair, leading to damage. Use your towel to gently blot your
hair instead of rubbing it. You can also purchase a moisture-wicking towel designed specifically for wet hair.
DO: Avoid excessive heat-styling
Concentrated heat can absolutely destroy otherwise healthy hair. Skip the blow-dryer and allow your hair to dry naturally. If you must use heat tools, do so sparingly and always use a heat protectant spray or cream. Apply the heat protectant to wet hair for full absorption.
Last, but not least…
DO: Feel great about making a difference!
People dealing with hair loss often have other medical issues making their lives more difficult, and having one less problem to worry about can dramatically ease their strain. Hair loss may be a cosmetic issue, but the sense of normalcy it takes with it is not. For some people, wearing a wig and feeling good about looking in the mirror again is a breath of fresh air during a difficult time. If you decide to donate your hair, you can feel good about putting a smile on someone’s face!x