The Real Reason Not Everyone Can Donate Hair

While length requirements will vary by organization, the most common standard is between 8-14 inches (via Cancer.Net). It’s important to note that measuring should not begin at the top of the head. Hair donations are typically accepted in the form of a ponytail, so you’ll need to measure healthy hair from the start of the ponytail and, if damaged, end your measurement where the hair starts to fray.

Hairstyles and hair treatments are also taken into consideration. According to Cancer.Net, some organizations will not accept hair that has been color-treated with dyes, highlighted, or bleached. Others are unable to accept hair that has been permed or dreadlocked. The requirements also vary when it comes to gray hair, so be sure to check guidelines with your organization of choice.

Other considerations include the cleanliness of hair. Hair will need to be clean and dry in order to be accepted for donation, so refrain from using any hair products (via Verywell Health). According to Wigs for Kids, should hair become wet or soiled, it may mold during transit and become unusable, so proper packaging of hair is also important. For those ineligible for hair donation due to length, there are other options available. Organizations, such as Matter of Trust, accept donations of shorter length including everything from hair, to feathers, to laundry lint to make mats that aid in soaking up oil spills.

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