As you can tell, the biggest change this week has been my hair. Woo! A whole 15 inches got snipped off! Crazy, right? I actually couldn't believe that much got cut (or that I had that much length!).
Why the change?
To be frank, my intent has always been to donate my hair. I kept saying I wanted to donate hair for years but I didn't maintain the patience to grow my hair out. Finally, I made a serious effort to commit to the cause.
I took care of my hair the best way I could.
- I didn't use a lot of heating tools on it (I let my hair air dry a majority of the time) and when I did, I applied lots of protective product on my strands.
- I concentrated conditioner to the ends often (since that is the weakest part of your hair as it continues to grow).
- I brushed out the tangles (gently since I didn't want to cause any strands to break).
- And I made sure I didn't chemically treat my hair (perms, straighteners or color) since organizations often can't use hair that's been chemically treated.
Growing out my hair didn't require too much extra effort but I was very conscious of what I was doing and continued to be patient. It took me about 1.5 years.
Choosing where to donate.
The most difficult part was choosing where to donate. When people think of donating hair, Locks of Love comes to mind. But, as my hair got longer and I explained to people I was donating my hair, people referenced a lot of discrepancies (here and here) about Locks of Love, which made me question donating there. So I researched a bit online (and even read this article) and decided against them.
While I don't personally know of any wrong doing, I didn't want to question my donation either. I looked into each organization I knew about (Wigs for Kids, Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Children With Hair Loss). There are pros and cons to every organization but I decided to go with Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Their website was easy to navigate, which made it easy to find answers to a lot of my questions. To me, they seemed:
- clear about their mission
- how they use the hair
- how to donate
- who made the wigs
- Even having representatives available to chat made the experience a positive one.
Time to cut.
I didn't have a specific timeline to make the cut. To be totally honest, I got tired of the amount of hair I had. There was a time I was enjoying having longer hair but everyone reaches her limit. I stopped "enjoying" long hair about six months ago.
I called my hair stylist and she was excited to see me after so long. I notified her ahead of time that I was donating my hair so she knew what to do when I saw her. I saved some photos of a style of cut I wanted (always be prepared!) and was ready to get it done.
Without trying to sound dramatic here, I was anxious about the cut. I realized I was hiding a bit behind this length of hair. People noticed my hair first and that became a bit of a security blanket for me. Going short meant people would see more of "me" than they had in a while. This feeling surprised me since I always knew my intention was to cut my hair. I started to wonder how I would look and then I felt stupid for thinking that way since my hair was supposed to go towards a good cause. And here I was...concerned about my looks. I shook off the vanity concerns and knew I was ready to make the cut.
When I saw my hair stylist, she was even surprised by how much hair there was on my head. I told her what I wanted for a cut, she tied off my hair (into several pony tails since I had SO much hair), and SNIPPED away. It was insanely liberating. When she was done making the cuts, I instantly felt wonderful.
After the cut.
I want to state that I know I didn't do anything miraculous here. To break it all down, I got a hair cut and saved the hair to donate. But, for me, it was actually committing to a cause. I always admired those who would do something with the intent to do something for someone else. Finally, I was doing what I said I would do. I definitely hope my hair is used.
There are so many people who are going through difficult times and if cutting my hair can make someone else feel better then that is truly the least I can do. There is much more I can do for others in the future and this is just one item off the list.
Have you ever donated your hair?
Disclaimer: I'm not associated with any organization for hair donation and no one has sponsored this post. I conducted my own research and chose an organization based on my research.