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Why This Recipe Matters
Nutritional Information
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A photograph of a young girl sitting in a hair salon and preparing to donate hair to cancer patients.
Image courtesy of Madisen G.

Donating hair to cancer patients can support them through the emotional challenge of hair loss.

Why this recipe matters

People undergoing chemotherapy or radiation will often experience hair loss as soon as two weeks after their first treatment session, and new hair growth may not start until six months after treatment ends. For many cancer patients, wearing a wig offers an opportunity to regain control over their hair during treatment.


  • Hair donation form from a participating organization, such as Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids
  • Wigs for Kids’ hair donation specialist locator
  • Clean, dry, and untreated hair that is at least 10-12” long, depending on the organization’s donation requirements
  • Ruler
  • Rubber band or ponytail holder
  • Plastic bag
  • Envelope or small box for mailing hair


Step 1: Wash and dry hair before donating.

Woman getting ready to cut another woman's hair.

Hair donation organizations require hair to be clean and dry. Additionally, hair should not be treated with bleach or permanent dyes; temporary color dyes are acceptable as long as they are washed out prior to donation.

Step 2: Tie hair back into a low braid that measures at least 10” long.

Woman's hair getting measured before it's cut.

Gently comb hair into a low ponytail before braiding. Use a ruler to ensure the braid meets donation requirements for the participating organization (usually at least 10-12” long from above the elastic band to the tip of the braid).

Step 3: Gently cut hair above the elastic band.

Hairstylist cutting woman's braid.

Ask a friend or family member to cut the braid in a straight line above the elastic band. You can also go to a salon and ask a stylist to cut the hair for you, or seek out a participating hair donation specialist.

Step 4: Complete a hair donation form and mail your hair to a participating organization.

Collection of donated hair.
Image credit: Tymeless Hair Wigs

Follow the guidelines written on the participating organization’s hair donation form before mailing. For instance, an organization may require hair to be placed in a plastic bag before mailing in an envelope or small box. 

Nutritional Information

How this recipe has nurtured a community

“I’ve been donating my hair to Locks of Love for years. In fact, the only reason that I grow my hair long is so that I can cut it off and donate it. It’s just hair, and I feel good knowing that it’s going to such a great cause.”

— Madisen G., California

Finishing Touch

In addition to donating your long locks to create wigs, there are other ways to support people undergoing cancer treatment. You can send cards to children in hospitals, host a fundraiser, volunteer at hospitals, and raise awareness about cancer research. For other ideas on how to help children with cancer, here’s a comprehensive list from St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital.