Charity is most often associated with donations or donations of blood and organs. There are other donation options - for example, hair, which is collected for wigs for those in need. A large number of myths and stereotypes are still associated with women's hair in society: many believe in "special energy of hair", and their length is often perceived as one of the main signs of conventional beauty.
For those who want to donate their hair to charity, there are several rules: most foundations do not accept dyed hair, and also less than thirty centimeters long. Human hair wigs are most often made by machine, and this process takes about a month. Handcrafted products take three times longer to create. For one wig, the hair of five to ten people is needed. First, they are combed out to get rid of short hairs that differ in length. The hair is then disinfected, sorted by length and type, smoothed and sometimes dyed. There are foundations that accept hair in various charities and under some brands. In most of them, you can get your hair cut on site or send your hair by mail.
We talked to girls who donated their hair to charity about fears, reactions of others and attitudes towards their own appearance.
Interview: Natalia Rudakovskaya
donated hair at a salon in Israel
In the summer of 2017, my grandfather died, and his daughter (my aunt) came from Israel to us in Belarus. One day we went to nature; my hair began to bother me, and I said that I would cut it off. Relatives asked what I would do with them, I replied that I would sell, "like all normal people." And I got the answer: "Why sell, give it to charity." Since then, the thought has stuck in my head.
I have been looking for an opportunity to donate my hair to charity in Belarus for a long time. All the time I was weighed down by the thought that they might not go where I want, that they might be sold. And almost everywhere they demanded to pay for a haircut - and this also increased suspicions. A year later, I went to visit my aunt, and then the issue was resolved quickly: in Israel, almost every hairdressing salon cooperates with different foundations - both with the Red Cross and with organizations fighting cancer. There are even special boxes and rulers. You come, they measure the length, cut your hair and in this box they send it to the fund, and you are given a certificate. It's free.
To be honest, I don't know which foundation my hair went to, but I saw the girls who were given it. I had a lot of hair, it was enough for two. I managed to talk to one of them on the phone, she cried a lot and thanked me - she was sixteen. She has leukemia, and she said that she had never had such beautiful hair before.
After I cut my hair, everyone started asking what I did with my hair: left it or sold it. Once I told a friend that I gave them to charity, but she did not believe it - she began to say that I was lying and actually sold her hair. After that, I didn't want to share this story with anyone.
donated hair at the salon
I cut my hair for a charity in December 2018. Before that, all my life I went with long ones - there was not a single moment when they would be shorter than the middle of the chest. I have always been in the form of a "princess", have grown together with him, but in the last six months my life and inner world have changed a lot - I felt cramped and uncomfortable in him. I physically needed a change.
With my friend, a hairdresser, we jokingly discussed that on New Year's Eve I would come to him to have a short haircut. But at some point I realized that this was no longer a joke.At first I wanted to experiment - I thought about painting in all sorts of colors from pink to green - but I quickly realized that in a week or two I would get tired of it. Plus it's a pretty selfish attitude towards hair that might serve someone else. So I decided to donate my hair to charity and found Kremlin Fashion, where they make wigs for people with cancer - it turned out that almost no one in Moscow is doing this..
I went there, completely unsure of what to expect. In the salon I was met by a woman who makes wigs herself and receives visitors. We got into a conversation, she showed me how the process goes - she was just finishing a wig for one girl. After that, I had no idea that my hair might go somewhere wrong. Then the employee sat me in front of the mirror, braided my hair and began to cut it off. It took a long time - it probably lasted a minute - because my hair is very thick. I sat holding my breath; getting a haircut for the first time in my life was very strange.
I did not regret for a second about what I had done, because all my life I deprived myself of the opportunity to be different. I realized how stupid it is to drive myself into the frame, that beauty does not depend on hair. Some of my parents' older friends, especially traditional women, feel sorry for my hair, which I don't understand. And everyone else is delighted. Strangers on the street periodically call me "young man." Recently I was playing a DJ set and was in the usual "girly" way, and a man said to my friend: "Damn, what a nice guy playing." But it only makes me laugh.
donated hair to the Pantene Foundation
A friend inspired me to give my hair away, I saw her post on Facebook after another haircut for charity and thought it was an easy way to help someone. It was actually difficult to decide: I have never done anything radical with my long hair and received most of all compliments thanks to them. They have always been and remain a large part of my identity.
After graduating from the magistracy, I was not immediately able to find a job. I decided that if I found her before I ran out of money, I would give her hair to charity. And so it happened: I received an offer, and two months later I cut my hair, put it in an envelope and sent it to the fund. It was in 2016, I cut off twenty-five centimeters. I sent my hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, they make wigs for adult women with cancer diagnoses. I was looking for a program specifically for adults - for some reason it seems to me that appearance is more important for them and hair loss is much more traumatic than for children. Of course, my opinion may be unfounded, I myself have never lost my hair.
My partner's hobby is cutting and styling, and we cut the hair together, I have one ponytail and he the other. We had just started dating, and at that time he was very supportive. I did not discuss this decision with anyone other than him - I knew that my mother, for example, would react negatively to this idea. There is one very important point: when you hand over your hair, it should be undyed, and I understood that now there are quite a few people with sufficiently long and undyed hair. That is, the group of hair donors is not that big. Someone would like to donate their hair, but cannot. I'm thinking of cutting my hair again. Now in my career there is a moment of stagnation, but if positive changes occur in the near future, I will again donate my hair to charity.
donated hair to the Little Princess Foundation
It all started with the fact that I had a rather rare problem: my hair grew very quickly, and with too long it was uncomfortable for me. Every few months I had to cut ten to fifteen centimeters. I have been doing charity work for a long time and at some point I thought about donating my hair.It turned out that in America and Great Britain this is a widespread practice - almost every third person does it. My preference is for the Little Princess Foundation from the UK. Then I was just going to study in Scotland and decided that after my arrival I would cut my hair and send it to the foundation by mail. The first time I cut thirty-two centimeters of hair was in 2014. The second time - eighteen centimeters in May 2016. For the third time, I cut twenty-four centimeters on the eve of the new, 2017.
So far, no other organization has inspired me as trustworthy as Little Princess. They accept hair on a charity basis, raise money through fundraising, and make wigs for little girls with cancer. In 2014, I wrote to organizations in America and they said that there are no problems with donations, there is always an abundance of hair. I looked for funds in other countries, but my emails were answered in broken English or not answered at all. I did not dare to send it there - I was afraid that the hair would go not for its intended purpose. Some foundations also sell wigs - I didn't want that either.
The first time it was incredibly difficult to decide. A huge amount of time, effort and money has been invested in taking care of your hair, and when you have grown it long, beautiful and healthy, cutting off thirty centimeters seems like an unbearable sacrifice. Two people fought in me: a girl who is afraid to cut her hair, and a conscientious woman who understands the importance of this matter. At that time, I had been working in Belarus with children with special needs for three years. The organization was called Children of Chernobyl, and we visited cancer and rehabilitation centers. After what I saw, I could no longer retreat. The second and third times cutting off the hair was like brushing your teeth. I am convinced that all fears are in my head - when you approach a good business with a soul, then everything works out.