About Donating Hair for Cancer Patients

Ralf Nau/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Charitable groups collect hair from donors, send it to a wigmaker, buy wigs back at wholesale, and provide them to women and children who have lost their hair because of cancer or other medical conditions. Organizations vary in the length and type of hair they will accept. Some do not accept gray hair, for example, and some do not accept hair that has been colored or otherwise chemically processed. Determine the requirements, then cut your hair for a cause.

Choose an organization that accepts donations of hair, such as Beautiful Lengths, Wigs for Kids and Locks of Love. Determine the exact criteria for acceptable hair before you get yours cut.

Wash and dry your hair. Do not use any hair styling products, including gels, sprays or conditioners. Brush it well to remove any tangles or knots.

Measure your hair to the specifications of the organization. Some organizations require as little as 8 inches, while others require at least 12 inches. If your hair is curly, pull it straight to measure its actual length.

Make one long braid down your back or pull hair back into a secure ponytail with a tight rubber band just below the point where it will be cut. Secure a braid at the top and bottom to hold the hair in place after it is cut.

Hold on to the braid or tail and use sharp scissors to cut straight across above the top band. Do not send hair that has been swept off the floor. If your hair is not completely dry when it is cut, allow it to dry before packing.

Drop the dry, banded hair into a zipper-lock plastic bag. Seal the bag, place it into a stamped plastic or padded mailing envelope addressed to the organization of your choice, and mail.