When I got back from Maternity Leave in April, I hoped I’d be able to get excited about work, after such a huge life change. It turned out that I was about to work on a campaign with Pantene Beautiful Lengths, motivating those of you cutting off your hair after your weddings to donate it. The experience was extra powerful, after having just experienced brand new life. First, Maddie talked about losing her little sister to cancer and why that made her passionate about hair donation. She then flew across country to document Liz shaving her head to benefit cancer research and to donate her hair. And finally, Liz wrote about the struggles of shaving her head. These days, Liz’s hair is growing back (and looks damn hot). And the circle of life keeps on spinning. Let’s bring this thing home.
Earlier this month, Meg wrote about the APW sponsor community, and how artists making their living with the help of APW is one of her greatest sources of pride. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m most proud of these days. It’s no secret that this has been an overwhelming year and a half for me. You know that person we keep talking about? The one who needs to stop bragging about how busy they are and unplug for a little bit? Well, that’s me. And for the past few months I’ve been working tirelessly to clear out my life, my calendar, my office (for the love of all that is good, please don’t wait
six ten months to clear your office again, self) and learning to exist in my own life. As I clear a path for myself through the clutter, I’ve been given the opportunity to reflect on everything I’ve done this past year.
When I set out to make the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign a reality, my only goal was to take an existing phenomenon (women cutting off lots of inches of hair after getting married) and use the power of this community to do some good with it. I wanted to see how many APW readers I could get to donate their hair, giving other women the chance to feel beautiful again on their own terms.
I got so much more than that.
This is What Support Feels Like
When I shared my story of why this campaign mattered so much to me, I knew you guys would rally around the effort, because that’s what this community does. But I didn’t expect the level of personal support that you threw behind Liz and me. From the deeply personal comments about how cancer has touched your lives, to the private message in my inbox featuring photos of your ponytails and messages of support, every time someone contacted me to let me know they’d be joining the effort, I’d shout to whoever was listening in the house (roomie, dog, husband, didn’t matter) that I worked with the coolest people and that our community was simply the best. Since then, any time I go home and talk to my family or friends about what I’m doing out in California, this is the story I come back to.
As the campaign progressed, something even more awesome happened. I jokingly mentioned to Michael that since my hair is too short to be able to donate this year, he should keep growing his out and donate on behalf of our household. So he is. Because that’s what partners do sometimes.
This project has already been such a huge success, on a personal and a professional level. So in our final post of the campaign, I’m asking for the APW community to help us bring this home in a big way. Here’s how:
National Donate Your Hair Day
On September 7th, Pantene and Seventeen Magazine are teaming up to host the second annual National Donate Your Hair Day. National Donate Your Hair Day is all about creating a community movement, a day where we all come together in support of an awesome cause. I want APW to have a presence in that effort (don’t worry, it’s not hard to do). So, if you’ve been planning on cutting your hair after the wedding, hang on a few more months. I want all of us to donate at the same time so that we can all see the impact of the APW community at work. If Michael’s hair is long enough, that’s when he’ll be cutting his too.
Here is how you can donate:
- Head to any salon, and ask them to put your hair in a ponytail (like the ones pictured in the link above), then send the ponytail to:
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
20770 Westwood Dr
Strongsville, OH 44149
The requirements to donate hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths are:
- Each hair donation must be at least eight inches long.
- Hair may be colored with vegetable dyes, rinses, and semi-permanent dyes, but it cannot be bleached, permanently colored, or chemically treated.
- Gray hair is difficult to use in the wig-making process, so hair may not be more than five percent gray at the time of donation.
Spread the Word
Once your hair is cut, send us an email at team (at) apracticalwedding (dot) com. We’ll compile everyone’s efforts together, send them along to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and put it up on our Facebook page!. If you’ve already donated your hair as a result of this campaign, the same goes—please let us know! You can also Tweet your photos at @practicalwed, @pantene, and @seventeenmag using the hashtag: #beautifullengths.
In the meantime, leading up to National Donate Your Hair Day, we’ve put together a few images to help rally the team (big thanks to APW staffer Liz for letting us use her picture!) If you’re thinking about donating and want to let people know that you support this cause, or you just want to make my day, then steal any of the photos in this post and post them to your Facebook page, Pinterest account, use them to Tweet your support, hang them up in your house—I’m happy with any of the aforementioned options. The button at the top of this post can also be taken and used as a in a blog sidebar, or anywhere else you want to put it. And hey, if you’re throwing these photos around, Tweet @practicalwed about that too. We wanna see it all in action!
I can’t thank you guys enough for making this such a worthwhile project. I remember sitting at lunch with my best friend years ago, telling her about an idea I’d had involving a big hair donation effort, and I’m still flabbergasted that it’s now a reality. So for the theme of Pride this month, my submission is you guys. You guys and this effort and all of the good it has done.
**This post was sponsored by Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Thank you Pantene helping make the APW mission possible!**