Choosing Where To Donate Your Hair

I've done some research since we donated the Princess's hair. I have heard some stuff about Locks of Love from various sources that was concerning to me and I wanted to check it out.

Here are some of the things I have heard and what I found while researching:

*Locks of Love sells some of the donated hair they receive.

This is something they don't try to hide, it's info you can find right on their website. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization which has to support itself through donations. They get lots of hair donated to them and some of it can't be used (not long enough/bleached, etc) so they do sell unusable hair and use the proceeds to fund operations.

*Hair donated to Locks of Love doesn't usually go to cancer patients.

To be eligible to receive a wig from Locks of Love, the recipient needs to be under 18 years old and suffer from permanent hair loss in most cases. This would include children with Alopecia Areata, burn victims, and sometimes children undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Most children who are undergoing cancer treatments will be able to grow hair again eventually and may not be eligible to receive a wig from Locks of Love.

*Locks of Love recipients sometimes have to pay, where Pantene Great Lengths doesn't charge the recipients for their wigs:

I think it's important to note that Locks of Love wigs and Pantene Great Lengths wigs are made entirely differently and Locks of Love wigs are more expensive to make. Locks of Love makes custom wigs for children under age 18 with life-long hair loss which can be worn while swimming, playing sports, dancing, etc. Recipients are set up on a sliding scale program and only pay what they can afford. Pantene makes cosmetic wigs mostly for adult women who may be undergoing chemotherapy or temporary hair loss (which are cheaper to make.) I think both programs serve an important purpose.

*Locks Of Love has only made enough wigs to account for 2% of the hair that has been donated to them since they started.

I'm actually not sure where this figure came from and I haven't been able to confirm it through a reliable source. If it is true, it does raise a huge question in my mind as to where the rest of the hair went. Surely more than 2% of the donations they receive should be usable, right? But, since I couldn't confirm it, I would consider this hearsay and wouldn't consider it while making my decision.

*After doing this research, I still feel okay about donating to Locks of Love. Even if The Princess's hair does end up being sold instead of being made into a wig, the money that is made from her hair will still help a child to receive a wig. The Princess really wanted to help another child because she can understand how hard it would be to not have hair at her age. If we could do it all over, would we make the same choice? Maybe, maybe not.

*Please keep in mind, I'm not speaking for any of these organizations and the info I have found may or may not be true.

If you are considering donating your hair, here are some choices:

I actually would feel good about donating to any of them. I guess you would just need to decide which is right for you. I know that several of you have already donated your hair to various organizations. If you have any input on your experience, I would love to hear about it in the comments. :)

P.S. Guess what I'm watching right now?? If you're in Utah, turn your TV to channel 4!! Adopt a Do (one of my favorite fellow hair bloggers) is going to be on Good Things Utah today at 10:00. How cool is that?
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  1. I donated my hair to locks of love last June. I think if I do it again, I'll choose pantene.

  2. My seven year old has made two donations to Locks of Love and my five year old has made one. I heard lots of the negative stuff about Locks of Love selling the hair, etc. but we still feel great about sending the hair to them.

    I really think that the most important thing is that my girls learned a little about service and giving to others. They felt great about helping another little girl to feel pretty.

    I've also known way too many girls that become obsessed with having long hair. I'm glad that my girls are already learning that it's just hair . . . it will grow back.

  3. Growing up there was a girl across the street from me that had Alopecia Areata. We thought she was adorable, but it was very hard for her to be completely bald. They tried all sorts of treatments for her to grow her own hair, but at best she had small little patches of hair that would fall out as soon as she stopped the treatments. They finally decided to go with a wig. I believe she got one from Locks of Love. It was beautiful. In fact, in the 8th or 9th grade she was voted "Best Hair" in the class -- the other students didn't even realize she had a wig. She couldn't have been more thrilled with that award. There will always be people out there with negative stuff to say about those that try to bless others. Are they a perfect group... I doubt it, but do they bless many lives? Absolutely! I just took my girls this morning to get their haircut for Locks of Love and we can't wait to send the hair in.

  4. Alternatively, I think there are some charities where you can donate hair to clean up oil spills.


  5. Good info! I have donated my hair to Locks of Love twice and I have another ponytail waiting to be mailed :) I haven't decided where to send it yet - however I had previously read up on LoL and found this info as well. I still felt good about sending my hair to this organization. :)

    Anyway, thanks for the info and thanks for the other options to donate to as well.

  6. Thank you for doing the research! You deserve an award. ;)

  7. This is wonderful info. My 7 y.o. wants to donate her hair. How many inches did your Princess donate?

  8. thank you so much for sharing this information!!

  9. My two princesses both donated to LoL last summer. They were so excited to be providing service for someone else. I won't let the bad info take away from that service--they received a postcard from LoL that is a treasured momento. Would and probably will do it again in a few months...just need to get those inches grown out.
    And THANKS for all the reassuring research...

  10. I donated my hair about 6months ago to

    I chose them for what their requirements were, but also because of what Locks for Loves does that they don't, which is selling the hair.

    If I donate hair, which I think is a generous thing for anyone to do, I want to be sure it is non-profit and the hair truly is going to help people. If it isn't useable, I get that, but don't go selling hair that was donated, you know??

    I'm glad to see a blog post here on that topic.

  11. My 13 yr old son grew out his incredibly thick hair to donate to LoL. I've thought about donating mine but it's been so processed.

  12. Thanks for the research-I had heard some of those things from my sister-in-law that she had gotten from a professor, so I had some concerns myself. I have donated 2 or 3 times (I've lost track over the years!) and I knew kids who have done that as well.

    And I think the other "Malinda" has it right-it's all about teaching your children to give back. When we are charitable, it blesses our lives. What is done with the contributed goods is up to the people we hand our things over too. If they use things unwisely, that's their deal, not ours. We have done our part and can feel good about ourselves and our contributions to the quality of other's lives. Right now it seems like my daughter's hair will NEVER be long enough for donation, but I would support her donating anywhere. I love your daughter's new a-line, it is super cute and I can't wait to see what styles you come up with for it!

  13. Thanks for the info!
    I dontate my own hair about every three years and my dd is growing hers out to donate as well. I made my son and hubby let me cut their hair so I could send it to help clean up the oil spill that is devestating the enviroment.

    Are you trying out a new website look??

  14. I'm impressed with how many of you have donated your hair. How awesome!

    Ryan Family,
    Yes, I am trying out a new look. Not sure if I like it or not. What do you think?

  15. Loove the new blog look! It's so cute! I need to borrow your blog designer LOL

  16. Just wanted to stop by and say I love the new blog look! Also your daughter looks adorable with her cut. This info is helpful as well.

  17. Hi Kori! Thanks for the shout out! Nice site layout, by the way! Love the color scheme!

  18. I was also going to mention Matter of Trust... I have donated to Locks of Love before, and probably will again, but the nice thing about Matter of Trust is that they can use even short trimmings. Even if you're just getting an inch cut off to deal with splits ends, they can still use those to help with the oil spill. I think that's awesome :)

  19. I really like Pantene Beautiful Legnths. I was very impressed when I researched them two years ago. My daughter donated hair to them and will again.

  20. Thanks for the great information! We just cut my daughters hair today and are going to mail it into Children with Hairloss. We were ready for the cut and it wasn't quite 10in yet, so good to know we could still donate it!