There are many reasons why one might be compelled to shore off their locks when having a chronic illness. For me, it was because I was having a reaction every time I dye my hair, due to a mast cell condition. It was easier to shave my head and start fresh than to deal with multiple reactions and the exorbitant costs of having my natural color blended out. Usually when we have to make changes to our appearance because of our illness, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Make it a little easier by turning it into an opportunity to give.
If your hair is 10” or longer and is not chemically processed (dye is okay, bleach and perms are not), you could benefit a child in need by donating your hair to an organization that makes wigs for adults and children with medical conditions that cause hair loss. Before cutting my hair, I looked up Locks of Love online and found out that I didn’t even have to schedule an appointment at a salon. I could still shave my own head and send them my hair in the mail, so long as I followed the instructions right. I must have done an okay job, as this came in the mail today:
It was important to me to shave my own hair. I was depressed about shaving it all off after growing it out for three years and I didn’t want to involve anyone else in a process that I was dreading so thoroughly or to have to anticipating an impending date on the calendar. I also had to work up the nerve. I knew that when the moment finally struck that I was fed up with torturing myself over contemplating the act was the moment that would spur me into action. I needed to be able to take advantage of that moment, before I chickened out and picked up the dye bottle again.
The instructions on Locks of Love’s website are easy to follow and they have locations throughout the US, so you can even donate “locally” or at least regionally by looking for your area’s website and mailing address. If you prefer to get your hair cut at a salon, they have a list on their website of local businesses that offer free haircuts in exchange for your donation. If your usual hair dresser doesn’t participate in a hair donation program, she or he can easily follow the instructions. They can give you the hair to mail or if they’re really good service providers, will send it in for you. The most important things to keep in mind is that the hair should be freshly washed and bundled into ponytail(s) prior to being cut and placed inside a plastic baggy and packed inside a padded envelope for safe shipping. Some organizations require more length, while others require less, so be sure to check around if you don’t meet the 10″ length.
Another great hair donation program an Instagram follower told me about is St. Baldrick’s. They also make wigs, exclusively for children with cancer, completely free of charge, while other wig programs sometimes charge a whopper of a fee. My guess is this is in large part because of their donation + fundraising model. You can donate to St. Baldrick’s much the same way I did, or you can join a local event. They make it easy to collect additional donations for the cause, either way, by providing online tools and other materials for your success. If you’re really passionate about helping kids with cancer, you can even organize and host a local event if you can’t find one! Find more details here, St. Baldrick’s Hair Donation.
There are other programs out there. This article talks about six such organizations along with a few tips and their contact information: Six Places to Donate Hair