I grow out and donate my hair about every three years. I used to get this done at a salon, but I just had a newborn and time is precious right now. So I figure, why not try a DIY method? I was inspired to document the process and create an Instructable by Masher1: Someone really wants your hair. Perhaps this can be the female version since most women won't want to shave their heads like in his Step 4! I will walk you through the process and show you how to neaten up your hair afterwards.
Vote for me in the Remix contest!
Step 1: Make the Decision
There are two methods for making your decision to donate:
1. Grow your hair with a purpose and plan to chop it off and donate at some point in the future.
2. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide your hair is too long to do anything with anymore.
Although I grow my hair with a purpose, my decision of WHEN it is time to donate is always based on number 2! I recently had a baby, so time for styling my hair is out the window. Long hair was awesome at first because I could just braid it or put it up in a big bun and be on my way. Well...it turns out that when it gets too long, the bun is too heavy to stay in or gives me a headache. When I braid it wet, it never dries, but if I let it dry down, it gets very tangled. Life with long hair was becoming a lose-lose situation. In addition, you ladies who have given birth will understand this part...for some reason, your hair falls out after giving birth! Not all of it obviously, but A LOT! The shower drain looks like a small animal died in it, and my hair actually almost broke the spinning thingy on the vacuum because there is just so much on the floor of our house (granted I had not vacuumed our room in a month...but I was shedding more than our chocolate lab!)
Anyway, now that I have talked you into reasons for cutting your hair, the best reason of all is to donate it!
Step 2: Donate!
Even if you decide not to follow the rest of my steps to do the DIY donation, you can still ask your salon to help you with this process, and you can donate that way!
Hair donations most often go to making wigs for sick patients who lose their hair due to illnesses. Do your research and decide where you want to send your hair. Your hairdresser may have recommendations as well.
I used to send to Locks of Love like the other Instructable suggests, but my last three donations have been to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Their requirements are at least 8 inches of length, clean shampooed and conditioned healthy hair that is free of dyes and other products, and less than 5% gray. My steps will walk you through their process.
Step 3: Materials
-Very sharp Hairdressing scissors
-1 Thicker hair elastic
-4 mini hair elastics if your hair is thick like mine (I only have two pictured here if your hair is thin)
Step 4: Wash Hair
Thoroughly wash and condition hair. Be sure to rinse well!
Towel dry your hair and use a comb to gently untangle it. Some people prefer a wide tooth comb first followed by the smaller comb.
Again, be sure to not add any products to hair after washing!
Step 5: Part and Gather Hair
Here is what I did: Part hair and gather it in two loose ponytails using the mini elastics.
Since I have thick hair, I am able to do 2 donations. I might recommend parting your hair and making two pony tails even if you have thinner hair since it is easier to cut this way...Unless of course you are having a hairdresser cut it or if you have a friend helping you!
Step 6: Measure Twice!
My husband's dad always says, "Measure twice, cut once," so that's what I did. Since my hair was on the very long side, I measured 8 inches and slid the mini elastic down the pony tail until I measured about 8 inches or slightly more from elastic to ends. That way, the donation will be at least 8 inches in case they need to trim the piece, plus you will cut above the elastic giving the piece slightly more length as well.
Do the same on the second side, but be sure both sides look even!
Step 7: Secure the Hair Donation(s)
I like to add a second mini elastic to each pony to make sure that the hair will stay together after cutting it. I put it somewhere close to the middle of the donation so that it will not fall out and so that it holds all of the hair securely.
Step 8: SNIP SNIP!
Use your scissors to make a continuous cut above the first elastics you put in. I cut about 1/2 inch above the elastic on each side. Once you start cutting, don't stop. Be sure your scissors are sharp enough for the job! Your hair will look a bit uneven at first, but I will show you an easy method to take care of that!
Step 9: Trim and Layer
Secure your remaining hair in a ponytail using a strong hair elastic on the very top of your head.
You will need to flip your hair over and use a comb to ensure there are no bumps in your pony...this will be a super high pony tail.
Make sure your hair elastic is tight!
Put your hair between your fingers as if your fingers were scissors and move them toward the ends of your pony.
Do this a few times until you have captured the ends between your fingers (about 1/2 inch). Trim the ends above your fingers so that you cut them off at a straight line.
When you take the pony out, you will have a layered look.
Please Note: If a DIY layered look is NOT what you want, be sure to follow up with your beautician, but if you are cheap or lacking time to make an appointment, this will certainly suffice!
Step 10: Examine Your Handiwork
Take your hair down and look for evenness. You can further trim the front to frame your face if you desire! Just cut at a downward angle from front to back. Just be sure to err on the side of longer is better...in other words, don't get carried away!
Step 11: Style It!
I blow-dried and straightened my hair to ensure that I liked the cut. This is more than I usually do with my hair, so it was quickly back into a ponytail after that because the baby woke from her nap!
While I entertained the baby, my donation ponytails dried (be sure donations are completely dry before moving on to the next step)...
Step 12: Mail It in and Begin Regrowth!
According the Pantene's Beautiful Length Website, they state that all donations go toward free wigs for women and children battling cancer.
They suggest doing the following with your donation:
Place the ponytail, kept intact with the elastic band, in a zipper-lock bag and seal tightly.
Please ensure that the ponytail is completely dry before sending.
Place the plastic bag with the ponytail in a padded or plastic envelope and send to:
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
806 SE 18th Ave.
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Now begin regrowing your hair!!