By Alyssa Ruiz
The fall and winter holidays are about being grateful and giving to one another, and even the gift of a haircut could mean a fresh, new style for you while benefiting a child with a brand-new wig.
Non-profit organizations, like Locks of Love, Children with Hair Loss, Pantene Beautiful Lengths or Wigs for Kids, enable eligible children with hair-loss illnesses to receive hairpieces made by the hair that you give.
Personally, I’ve donated to Locks of Love three times and this past September, I donated 13 inches in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I decided to go through the donation process with Wigs for Kids because I hadn’t given to them before, but both organizations share the same goal of giving your hair a new life.
Though I was familiar with Locks of Love, I was recommended to try Wigs for Kids through my hairstylist. I was thrilled to donate because I was first introduced to this organization through my high school Make-A-Wish club when we held a Hair Donation day.
Kristina Arias, a hairstylist of 8 years and owner of Salacia Salon at Gilbert’s Palette Collective, said she was introduced to multiple hair donation programs since her career started in beauty school and has seen first-hand the impact of these organizations.
“I felt that Wigs for Kids was a lot more personable,” Arias said. “And the time that they spend on hand-making a wig, I feel as if they truly care rather than going through a manufacturing company.”
Another long-time donor, Ellie Singer, said her hair donations to the organizations Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths and Children with Hair-Loss came from a place of gratitude for her hair and honor for her own family members who have dealt with cancer previously.
“I went to Dolce Hair Salon because I knew that they gave free haircuts for those who donated. When I got there, they explained to me why they partnered with the organizations and got me on board!” she said. “They really put their patients/customers before their own profits.”
There are slight differences in the organizations when it comes to hair eligibility, so whichever category aligns with your personal donation is how you can decide which to donate to. Each non-profit has guidelines with the minimum amount of hair to donate, how to donate hair shorter than that length, the usage of grey hair or dyed hair and how to get it to them.
All of their websites include ways to volunteer or donate aside from the hair donation process, which means everyone has the chance can get involved.
For me, reading the donation stories and watching reveal videos were the most rewarding (and tear-jerking) part because you can see the final stage of what your donation could mean to someone.
“I would tell someone who is considering donating their hair to think about every time they interact with their hair. Whether that is them getting annoyed with their hair when it is knotted, or when they style their hair and feel like a million bucks,” said Singer.
“I play with my hair all day long in class and I take it for granted. By donating your hair, you get to let someone who is going through an emotional part in their life the chance to ‘feel normal’ and take playing with their hair for granted too,” she said.
Being able to grow your own hair and have it long enough to cut it is a dream for many kids battling diseases that take away that privilege. Being able to contribute this season to a wig-making non-profit would mean a new style for a child and a huge weight off your shoulders (literally!).