Many of my friends have long-haired daughters who, wanting to brighten the day of children suffering with cancer, snip off their ponytails and donate them to "Locks of Love", "Pantene Beautiful Lengths" and similar organizations which reportedly use the hair to make wigs for these children. I have known quite a few adult women also to have donate their long hair in this way, and since I interpret in several cancer hospitals, I have seen "hair drives" in action.
(For those who don't know, "hair drives" are all-day promotional events where anyone with a minimum of 12 inches to spare can clip it off; donate it; and walk away thinking they have done a good thing. also host these events, donating the ponytails directly.)
Unfortunately, very few ladies I have spoken to seem to know what really happens when you donate hair. I have researched this myself, as A) I have waist-length hair; B) every time I go for a trim, the hairdresser asks me if I plan to "donate" my hair; and C) I have watched a number of people I love die of cancer. It's not that I'm unfeeling, or overly-attached to my hair. I am certainly not looking for excuses to ignore cancer (or alopecia) patients. I just believe that people should know the truth about this "business", and sort out well-meaning myth from reality before they decide to cut off their hair and think they are actually helping someone.
MYTH: Locks of Love is a Non-Profit
A cleverly-worded website never actually claims that it is a non-profit organization, but the idea that it is seems rooted in public perception that it is a charity. After all, if they are asking women to donate their hair, doesn't it stand to reason that they are not turning a profit on the wigs they produce? Wrong.
REALITY: "Locks of Love has received criticism of poor accountability practices. Forbes and The Huffington Post report that up to million of hair donations are unaccounted for by the charity.
Locks of Love has received criticism for its practice of selling donated hair, rather than using it in wigs as the donors expect. According to the Locks of Love website, some unusable hair (bleached, highlighted, gray, or shorter than 10 ") is sold to offset the cost of manufacture of custom-made wigs.
According to its tax returns, the organization made million from hair sales from 2001 to 2006, and took in another million in donations. "
MYTH: "If I donate my hair, it will still go to a good cause – it will be used in a wig by someone who needs it.
REALITY: Not necessarily. Locks of Love (as well as Pantene) receive so many donations that approximately 90% of them are dumped on eBay and sold according to length and quality. This further drives down the price (the international hair market is huge. Top quality dark hair comes from India, while Siberian women cut their long blonde braids for as little as $ 50).
If you truly want to cut your hair for charity, I suggest you do so – and sell it yourself on eBay. The last time I took the time to check this, the average asking price for a 12-inch ponytail was about $ 80. An 18-inch ponytail was worth about twice that ($ 160- $ 180); whereas anything over 22 inches would fetch around $ 280- $ 300. (I researched this two years ago, so these relative values may have changed). Avoid sites that promise you $ 800 per ponytail, such as the now-defunct hairtrader.com – they are scams.
MYTH: These organizations "donate" (read: give , free of charge) the wigs they make to children suffering from cancer.
REALITY: Again, the organizations mentioned above make no such claim directly on their website; this is something of an urban legend. In fact, most of the wigs go to adult recipients who are suffering from alopecia; but regardless of who uses them, they are paying good money . To investigate this, I downloaded an "application" form from LoL's website. The potential recipient is required to fill out a W-2 and other proof of income form, and the price of the wig is determined by financial means (in other words, it is sold on a sliding-scale basis).
Another organization, "Wigs for Kids" , does in fact donate the wigs – all to children under 18 who are undergoing chemotherapy. The patients' families are never charged. If you are determined to donate your hair to help cancer patients, I would encourage you to consider "Wigs for Kids" rather than "Locks of Love" (I have not thoroughly researched them, and do not know if they are a 501 (c ) – this is purely based on their website information).
It seems irresponsible at best that organizations such as Pantene and Locks of Love allow industry donors and individuals to believe they are giving to a charitable cause, when in actuality you are lining the pockets of these organizations. Clever marketing implies, but does not explicitly state these claims. This implication shapes the organizations' public image, while keeping them in the clear legally. While not exactly "false advertizing", such tactics play on the compassion of good-hearted women who truly want to help someone. Be aware; do your research before donating anything; and then make sure an end-user is really being helped!
Source by Marie Notcheva