Thinking of going for the chop? Well, if you happen to have a few inches spare, why not consider donating your hair to charity? The Duchess of Cambridge anonymously posted her locks to The Little Princess Trust in 2017, while Harry Styles sheared his ponytail off the year before. And recently, I felt it was high time I cut my own locks.
I'd been growing my hair for around ten months with the purpose of donating it to the Little Princess Trust. I knew I had to give away at least seven inches, as per the charity's requirements, so spent what felt like an age growing it out. It nearly touched my bum by the time I went to Live True London in Clapham.
My hair before it was cut
Cutting it off felt quite liberating – my hair was lighter, more hassle-free and I was no longer getting it caught in just about everything. But what felt even better was knowing that my locks weren't going to waste; they'd be combined with other human hair donations to make a wig for a child suffering hair loss as a result of cancer treatment or other illnesses. The wigs are given to children and young adults up to the age of 24 free of charge. Feeling inspired? Here's what you need to know…
How much hair do I need to cut off?
I chose to have my locks chopped at Live True London, but any hairdresser will help you arrange for your hair to be cut for charity. My stylist Ramona was fantastic. She knew exactly what needed to be done and asked if I needed a minute before she took the scissors out. The minimum you have to donate for your hair to be used is seven inches, but ideally you would donate around 12 inches. I ended up having nine inches cut. The charity states that hair measuring between seven and 12 inches will be mixed with similar hair and made into a short wig; surprisingly, four inches is lost when making a wig due to the knotting process. Hair measuring 12 inches or longer will be blended with similar hair and made into a lovely, longer wing.
Your hairdresser will plait your hair before it's cut
Should I wash my hair first?
You should wash your hair first to make sure you're donating clean, dry hair in good condition, which means no split ends. The charity accepts any type of hair – straight, wavy, curly, permed or chemically straightened – as long as it's a natural colour. Dyed hair with the occasional grey is also fine, as long as the dye is a natural shade.
What happens at the hairdressers?
Ramona separated my hair into two ponytails and tightly plaited them, securing them with thin elastic bands. And then, it was time for the chop! She cut my plaits just above the band nearest my head, freeing nine inches of my hair. She then placed the braids in a clear plastic bag. Note, the charity accepts ponytails too. I was surprised by how thin my hair looked after I'd cut it. I suppose because it was plaited very tightly it made it look thinner, and like I hadn't donated much, but it made me appreciate just how much actually goes into making one wig. It can take between seven to ten individuals just to make one wig!
I had nine inches cut
What happens with your hair?
After you've posted your hair to the Little Princess Trust in Hereford, your hair will be shipped to a wig-making factory in China. Because it's mixed with other hair, they can't guarantee which wig it will have gone into, and therefore can't take photos of the wig made from your hair. But, you can fill out the Hair Donation Slip online and you'll be emailed a certificate thanking you for your donation. Win, win for all. Feeling inspired? I hope so!
Ready to post to Little Princess Trust!
For more information, visit littleprincesses.org.uk.