Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides wigs and other hairpieces to children that suffer from medical hair loss and cannot afford to purchase a piece privately. Hair is collected from people (like you and me) that grow out their hair and donate it into the organization. The process is rather simple to donate, although growing your hair out to the required 10″ can take several years.
Time Required: Several years to grow hair out, less than an hour for a haircut!
- Grow Your Hair Out
First things first, you have to grow your hair out. Locks of Love requires a minimum of 10″ of hair for donation. To see if your hair is long enough for donation, pull your hair back in a pony tail and measure from approximately 1″ to 2″ above your pony tail holder to the tip of the ends of your hair. A full 10″ is required in order to be used in the hairpieces and wigs made by Locks of Love. Hair longer than 10″ can be donated. If your hair is less than 10″ you can still donate to Locks of Love. Hair shorter than 10″ is sold to offset the manufacturing costs of the hairpieces.
- Talk to Your Hairstylist
I highly recommend talking to your hairstylist before you make your donation appointment. Let her know of your plans and ask her to help you find a new hairstyle that will work with your hair. Your hairstylist can give you very realistic expectations on how short your hair will be when your hair is cut. Plus, it’s a big step to go from very long hair to much shorter hair, giving your stylist a heads up will have you both better prepared.
- Choose a New Hairstyle
Next you’ll want to choose a style that you can live with. Many people choose layered or stacked bob. You can also opt for a . If your hair is much longer than 10″, a medium length style maybe chosen.
- Make Your Big Appointment
When your hair is long enough, and you’ve gathered your courage, call your stylist and let her know that you’re ready! Also, keep in mind that some hairstylists offer free or reduced cost haircuts for Locks of Love donations.
- Get the Cut
By this time you’ve prepared and you’re ready. All you have to do is show up to your appointment and go for it. I have documented the haircut process here, and can testify that this client absolutely loved her new shorter haircut for several years. Donating your hair is such a selfless act and will certainly make a young person’s life brighter during a tough time. While beauty truly comes from within, thinking of all the smiles in the mirror that some girl will experience is without a doubt worth the sacrifice.
- Send Your Hair Into Locks of Love
Some hair salons will send your hair into Locks of Love for you, others will not. It’s very easy to send your hair in. Simply take your ponytail or braid, place in an envelope (I like to put it in a zip-lock bag first), and mail to Locks of Love, 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701. If you would like acknowledgment for your donation (which is a nice memento and especially great for kids that donate) you must fill out the hair donation form, or write your name and address on a full size separate sheet of paper and include inside the envelope.
- Hair can be colored or permed. It can not be bleached. Bleached hair has an undesired chemical reaction during the manufacturing process. If your hair was bleached and later colored over, it can not be used. You will have to talk to your stylist to see if your hair has been bleached.
- Hair must be in a ponytail or a braid to be donated. It’s best to place and cut the ponytail when the hair is dry, rather than wet. Hair can not be swept off the floor and donated. Hair that has been shaved off can not be used. If you are shaving your head, first divide it into multiple ponytails and cut it off for donation.
- Hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid. Dreadlocks, wigs, hairpieces, hair extensions and synthetic hair can not be donated.
- Curly hair CAN be pulled straight to measure 10″.
- Layered hair is acceptable if the longest layer is 10 inches. Sometimes layered hair is better for donation if the hair is divided into multiple ponytails.
What You Need:
- Patience to grow your hair out.
- Courage to cut off all that long hair.
- A big heart to help a child in need feel beautiful.
- A great stylist to help you choose a new style.
- Lots less shampoo and conditioner when you’re all done.
Receiving a Hair Piece
To request a hairpiece, a Locks of Love application must be submitted. An essay about the child and two letters of recommendations are also required.
Tax forms must also be submitted because Locks of Love only donates hairpieces to disadvantaged children. Parents or guardians with an income over $100,000 generally do not qualify unless they have extenuating circumstances.
Receiving a hairpiece can take 4 to 6 months from the time an application is submitted.
- Once the application is approved, the family is sent a molding kit.
- The molding kit will allow a plaster mold to be made of the child’s head.
- The mold is then sent back to Locks of Love, who then sends it to the hairpiece manufacturer.
The hairpieces are intricately made to ensure high quality and Locks of Love fits the bill for the manufacturing. The hair pieces would normally retail for $3500 to $6000.
An application to Locks of Love can be submitted every 18 months. A child can receive up to 5 hairpieces.
Is It Only for Girls?
While Locks of Love says that the majority of applicants are girls, hairpieces can also be made for boys. Children with short-term hair loss can also receive a synthetic hairpiece.
Is It Only for Children With Alopecia?
The organization helps children suffering from long-term and permanent hair loss due to several conditions, not Alopecia exclusively.