You Ponied Up! (And It Was Awesome)

Thanks to everyone who donated!

So here we are. The final post of our Pantene Beautiful Lengths partnership. Each step of this project, you guys have taken the idea of solidarity and pushed the boundaries of what that word means beyond my imagination. At the very beginning, in my head, this project was about solidarity with women who have lost their hair to cancer. And then as the campaign progressed, it became clear to me that this partnership was also about the solidarity of this virtual community. But then in the past few weeks, something totally unexpected happened. The camaraderie and support of APW readers, staff, and sponsors leaped off the page and into real life. It showed up in the form of a reader who decided to cut her hair on a whim after she saw we were giving away a pass to the National Donate Your Hair Day event (more on that in a minute) and in form of the APW sponsor who agreed to gift her a portrait session after the fact, because she’s been the biggest short-haired cheerleader of this whole campaign, perhaps even beating me out.

It showed up in the staffers who, of their own volition, ran with the campaign, bravely sharing their stories, and even partnering with sponsors to capture the cut (which you may have noticed from Lucy’s post earlier today. We had nothing to do with that! Stay tuned for APW staffer Emily’s story coming soon too).

And then it showed up in the form of a former staff member being so moved by Liz’s story and my story that she worked up the courage to shave her head (which is so gutsy it gets three videos):

So today is all about you guys. You took a wildly ambitious idea and turned it into a movement. And from all of the comments you’ve left talking about your plans to donate after your fall and winter weddings, I have a feeling it’s one that won’t be stopping any time soon. So with that in mind, we wanted to let you know how you can keep the magic going, and inspire those who have yet to donate (and are maybe a little nervous about doing so) with some wicked hot photos of our contest winner and her new haircut.

Keeping The Magic Going

Just because National Donate Your Hair Day is over doesn’t mean you can’t still donate! Pantene Beautiful Lengths accepts ponytails throughout the year. As a thank you to participants, this year Pantene Beautiful Lengths is partnering with WalMart to offer a $30 Visa gift card to anyone who donates, as a way to help cover the cost of your haircut. If you’re making or have recently made the cut, all you have to do is:

  • Request a donation kit from Pantene Beautiful Lengths
  • Visit any salon and cut a minimum of eight inches of hair (see the donation guidelines below)
  • Head to your nearest Walmart to purchase any Pantene product to style your new ’do, then mail in your salon receipt, your Walmart receipt, and most importantly, your ponytail using the prepaid envelope in the donation kit. And that’s it! You get a thank-you present. (For complete terms and conditions, click here.)

As a reminder, 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.

If you’re planning on cutting your hair later in the year, we still want to know about it! Send your photos, videos, collages, and other what-have-you to team (at) apracticalwedding (dot) com or Tweet at @PracticalWed for virtual fist bumps, high fives, and a permanent place in the APW hall of fame. (Okay so that’s not an actual thing, but it exists in my heart.)

Also if you haven’t sent us your Vine video yet (like the ones above), there’s still time! Pantene Beautiful Lengths is accepting videos until the end of the month, so upload your videos from before, during, or after your cut and tweet them at @PracticalWed and @Pantene using the hashtag #BeautifulLengths. The Vines we’ve received so far have been so inspiring, and the final video is going to live on YouTube as a way to encourage future participants to make the cut themselves. (If you don’t have or have never used Vine, you can download it from the App or Play stores on your smart phone.)

Out Of The Blue

Now for the fun part. Remember when we mentioned that one reader in the Tri-State Area would be getting a ticket to National Donate Your Hair Day? Well, when we contacted Suzy to let her know she’d won, we were surprised (and delighted) to find out that winning meant she’d be cutting her hair out of the blue just for the heck of it. Totally irreverent. Totally badass. And the haircut? Wowza.

Thank You & Looking Forward

I don’t quite know how to put it into words, but we did something magical this year. And if my calculations are correct, APW readers are responsible for at least half a dozen wigs that will now go to women battling cancer (for free!). So thank you. Thank you for being simply the best the internet has to offer. Now let’s keep this thing going. Who’s up for 2014?

Why This Partnership: Maddie’s Hair Donation Story

Liz’s Head Shaving Story, Part I (Words)

Liz’s Head Shaving Story, Part II (Pictures)

How To Donate Your Hair To Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Downloadable Donation Pledge Buttons Featuring Liz

APW Before & After Photos, Plus The Scoop on National Donate Your Hair Day

We’d like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who participated in this partnership and to the sponsors who gave their time to photograph our staff members and contest winners. All photos in this post are by APW sponsor Smitten Chickens Photography. Vines were sent in by their respective owners. If you sent in your photo and don’t see it here, head over to our new Beautiful Lengths Pinterest board, where all of our reader photos now live! 

**This post was sponsored by Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Thank you Pantene helping make the APW mission possible!**


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  • Emily’s stop motion video is cracking me up!

    SIX WIGS, everyone? SIX different people are going to have this as an option because of you! All those people said, “You’re losing your hair? Here. Have mine.”

    That’s an AMAZING thing!

  • Emily

    Suzy! Goodness gracious! Oh, just a normal day, dashing to New York and getting the hottest haircut ever. Whatevs.

    HOTT. With two t’s. TWO OF THEM.

    • Natalie

      Wow, Suzy’s haircut is amazing! I think I will take it a picture with me next time I go to the salon and say “I want this!”.

  • Emily

    Also, JAZZ OF SASS (AKA Alyssa) I’m blown away by how much hair you cut off. BLOWN AWAY. You are a bald ROCKSTAR.

    (So many well-deserved caps today, good Lord.)

    • I forgot I had that much hair until I straightened it!

      I also probably wouldn’t have made so many giant-mouth goober-faces if I remembered that I would be sending these Vines to APW…

  • This is so great!! Suzy looks AMAZING, as does Lucy, and Emily’s video is too cute. Six wigs??? This just makes me giddy!!

  • I was a little bummed that my fiance chose not to donate his hair when he got his long ponytail cut off this week. I suggested it to him but… :(

    • Caroline

      I was seriously bummed out when I got a haircut last week, decided I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t go as short as 8 inches would take and maybe I would once it has grown out more but I want long long hair for the wedding next summer,, and then instead of the 3 inches I asked for, the lady took off over 8, in chunks! (I have curly hair, so it was hard to tell how short she was going during the cut). I was so bummed because a) if I was going to cut that much I would have donated and b) it is a crappy haircut but because it is shorter than I wanted so I don’t want to get someone else to fix it until it has grown out (my hair needs the weight to tame the curls) and c) I had saved up to go to the highly reviewed curly hair specialist for this. :(
      Kudos to all you folks who donated!

      • Emily

        Life is long. Hair keeps growing. You can still do it. :)

  • AH! Love Suzy’s haircut!!!!!!!!! AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGG.

  • Oh my goodness. I love it all. The videos are so cute! And Alyssa, you are rocking that shaved head like nobody’s business.

    I donated 16 inches my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths at an event with about 50 other people a few years ago and it was just fantastic. I wish I had enough hair to do it again… but my hair grows at the speed of a snail. Ah well. I’ll just be a cheerleader to all the other amazing people that donate. :)

    • If it weren’t for the cheerleaders, I would never have done it!!!

  • Astro A

    I have to tell you, it was super scary, but I did it! I have had long hair since forever, and I was one of the ones talking in the last post about how having long curly hair (and mine’s red, too) feels like this super important feature, and in fact the main feature I feel pride in and makes me feel good about myself. So, yeah, hard. But it’s amazing! I love my haircut, and it’s still long enough to show off the curls without being so very large and always in the way, and it’s really actually made me feel better about my appearance. Like maybe I’m kind of a grown-up. Or something. At least a person who maintains an actual “style” and perhaps gets her hair cut more than once a year. Which seems pretty grown-up to me.

    Alas, my phone is not quite smart enough to be able to use Vine (it can’t have the appropriately updated Android version), but I did tweet a picture! Actually, I made a twitter account to do this. Is that crazy?

  • Vera

    Cheerleader over here! My hair is permanently colored, so I can’t donate it.

  • Nora

    I’m in for 2014! I’ll be cutting mine off as soon as I get home from the honeymoon. I like my currently long hair, but geez is it high maintenance. I miss my shorter days of towel, comb, spritz, and go.

    In a way I feel weird that I’m letting my wedding prevent me from just making the cut now, for peer pressure reasons. But I guess it goes back to the idea that weddings are for your community, and my community (AKA parents and future in-laws) would freak if I chopped & dyed or shaved all my hair off (which I have done before and would LOVE to do again). I guess I’ll just have to wait. But when it’s over, it’s f*ing coming OFF.

    Is Donate-Your-Hair Day the same general time (mid-September) every year? If so, I’ll hold off on the cut to do it with the APW sisterhood. Any other 2014 brides want to make the cut with me?

  • Liz

    Such a crew of awesome ladies. High fives all around!

  • Suzy

    Awwww. Thanks you guys! This is probably the only website I would ever read comments about myself, and I’m glad I did because you know how to make a girl feel grand :)

    Once I decided to cut it (thanks to the APW post!) I didn’t look back. It was a great event and Sarah (from Smitten Chickens) was a blast to work with. Couldn’t be happier with the haircut, and I’m so thrilled that all that hair went to good use! If you’re thinking about cutting it, you won’t regret it!

  • Senorita


    I had only cut my hair more than an inch or two once before today (and that was in the fourth grade and it was terrible). So the thought of attempting to tame my curly (read frizzy) locks into something that doesn’t resemble a watermelon when cut short was fairly terrifying.

    But when you realize that what you’re saying is that it’s more important for you to have an extra few inches of hair then for someone with cancer to have any hair…

    So I went in today and had them hack off the full foot.

    Who’s got two thumbs and is exited for super fast showers?!

    • Maddie

      This gave me goosebumps. Holy shit, woman. Thank you.

      • Senorita

        Well if you could just stop being so inspiring all the time… jeez.

        My sweet new ‘do even motivated me to throw together a grad post yesterday in response to the Ask Team Practical :)

    • meg

      Holy shit.

    • But when you realize that what you’re saying is that it’s more important for you to have an extra few inches of hair then for someone with cancer to have any hair…


  • Rebekah

    1) I can’t get over how awesome everyone is. Really.

    2) Alyssa sounds just like I imagined! :)

  • I love this so hard. My hair is far too short and weirdly colored to donate, but I did have the privilege of hacking off more than a foot of my bestie’s locks. I think it was almost a foot and a half. It was like, past her butt, people. Past. Her. Butt. So yeah, somebody is gonna get a hell of a wig. Thanks to everyone who donated on behalf of those who aren’t allowed!

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