Five years ago on this very blog, I talked about how excited I was to cut my hair short for the first time, and to donate to Locks of Love! I was excited to make a change in my look, and a change in a young cancer patients life. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me to research where I was sending my hair, or what would really be done with it.
I also had no idea there were alternatives to Locks of Love!
My daughter is getting ready to cut her very long hair for the first time this week, and in an effort to explain to her where she could donate her locks and have it make a difference – I did some research.
There are lot’s of differences between the possible places you can donate your hair. There’s nothing wrong with donating hair to Locks of Love if you decide that is what you want to do! But here are the top 5 Factors, that have me personally pledging to look at other donation options…
5 Reasons why you might choose NOT to donate to Locks of Love:
1. About 80% of the hair sent to Locks of love will be rejected for various reasons, instead of using it to make prosthesis (a wig). So odds are, your hair will not make it into an actual wig for a child. (More info)
2. In 2002, a year that Locks of Love received enough donated hair to make 10,000 hair pieces, the charity provided only 174 hair pieces. The majority of the remaining 98,000+ ponytails that are not used each year are sold, often to pay organizations operating costs. (More info.)
3. Most people think Locks of Love gives away free wigs to children that have lost hair due to Cancer. This actually not true. Many Cancer patients don’t qualify for wigs from Locks of Love, because there hair loss may not be permanent enough. The majority of people 21 and under that do qualify for wigs suffer from alopecia, hair loss or thinning conditions. Many people also believe Locks of Love is affiliated with The American Cancer Society, which is also not true. (More info/More info)
4. Now, about that free wigs for children thing. Locks of Love actually gives very few wigs away for free. Most people that receive them do have to pay for them, based on a sliding scale. So if you want your hair to be given to a child for free, this isn’t the right hair donation location for you. (More info)
5. Because Locks of Love is by far the best known of the available places to donate hair, it receives the best quality and largest amount of hair donated. This means that other hair charities that have lower organizational costs to provide for, that give away more wigs free, and who serve a wider audience of need – can’t keep up with the demand from those they most want to serve. (More info)
Ultimately, I can appreciate anyone that wants to donate their time, their money or their hair to a worthy cause! That giving spirit is so special. But please consider what you hope to accomplish with your donation, and if the charity you plan to send it to is the best choice for those goals!
More Reading on Locks of Love:
*Looking for alternatives to donating hair to Locks of Love?