Contributing To The Good: How To Donate Your Hair, Plus A Twitter Chat!

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer


All You

When we first approached Pantene Beautiful Lengths to partner with APW, I had one clear objective in mind: find a way to encourage APW readers to donate their hair and make APW a huge contributor of wigs for women battling cancer. I’ve already explained my personal connection to hair donation, and I’ve talked about why this cause is so important to me. Then Liz shared her experience shaving and donating her hair with the community. But there’s another layer to this partnership that’s even more important than me, more important than the rest of the staff, and that’s you guys. Because as much as we can try to raise awareness about this cause, or explain its significance in our personal lives, we’re just spreading the word. The real power to make a difference lies with you guys.

Each year I photograph dozens of APW reader weddings. And every year I notice the same trend: women (including me, official spokesperson for a lifetime of short hair) will grow out their hair for the purposes of fancy wedding updos and then shortly after the wedding is over, cut it all off in a symbolic nod to a transition into marriage (or a nod to wanting to get your hair off your neck. Either way). So we figured, if women are already going to be getting rid of their hair, why not do it in a way that benefits others?

Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when at the end of my last post, you guys expressed an overwhelming desire to come together and help the cause. Because you are awesome. So today, we’re going to tell you exactly how you can do that, and when. (Hint: we’re thinking a big collective group effort. Stay tuned for more info.)

Slumber Party Chat Time (On Twitter, That Is)

But first! We figured this would be way more fun if everyone had an opportunity to come together in real time and discuss plans for cutting off our hair, ask questions about making the cut, get details on how to donate, and anything else you want to talk about. So today from 1–2PM PST / 4–5PM EST, we’ll be standing by on Twitter ready to answer all of your burning questions, and ready to give everyone who participates a virtual fistbump for being rad.

I’ll be taking over the @PracticalWed Twitter handle, ready to dole out short-hair advice from, well, having had it forever (maybe I’ll even share a few hair mistakes from days gone by). There I’ll be joined by @PracticalLiz, who is ready to field all of your questions about being bald and hot, and @Pantene, who will be there to answer any official questions about the program itself and to tell you about their big national hair donation push, National Donate Your Hair Day. And of course Meg will be cheering y’all on from the sidelines from her personal handle @MegKeene. Some things we’ll be discussing during the chat:

  • How can you participate in National Donate Your Hair Day?
  • How do you know if short hair will look good on you?
  • How is Liz feeling a few weeks after shaving her head?
  • What are the requirements for hair donation?
  • Lots of other stuff you guys want to talk about…

So if you had previously expressed an interest in donating, or if you’ve donated in the past and want to offer moral support to your fellow APWers, or if you just want to chat and cheer on other ladies, stop on by this afternoon and say hello. Just make sure to use the hashtag #BeautifulLengths to join in and follow the conversation. And if you have really burning questions you want us to answer, feel free to leave them in the comments below and we’ll address those first!

Making The Cut

Every year Pantene Beautiful Lengths hosts a nationwide hair donation effort called National Donate Your Hair Day. And it just so happens that this year’s National Donate Your Hair Day falls right around the end(ish) of wedding season (depending on where you live). Which means that we have an opportunity to band together and make a really big impact on Pantene’s efforts.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

For those of us who have hair that will be long enough to donate (eight inches and also meets the other requirements), keep growing it out until September 7th. Salons across the country will be participating in the event, so if your salon is one of them you can just walk in on September 7th and tell them that you’re donating your hair and they’ll know what to do (we’ll have an update for you later in the summer on which locations are participating). If your local salon isn’t participating, you can still donate on National Donate Your Hair Day yourself by following these steps (click on the graphic to enlarge):

In my dreams, Pantene Beautiful Lengths receives so many donations from APW readers that they are able to make whole wigs out of hair just from you guys alone. In my dreams, some deserving woman gets to feel beautiful on her own terms thanks to the selfless efforts of this community alone. To me, that is solidarity personified, and the magic of what makes APW readers great. And the best part is, I don’t think these dreams have to exist in the realm of fantasy. I think we have the power to make them very real.

So join us as we gear up for National Donate Your Hair Day (most of the staff members who are eligible to donate will be doing so!), and come chat with us this afternoon as we conspire to pass along The Good, ponytail by ponytail by ponytail.



Photo of Liz donating her ponytail, taken by Maddie, thanks to a generous partnership with Pantene Beautiful Lengths

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

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • One thing I learned, just telling your salon you are donating your hair doesn’t mean they know about Pantene Beautiful Lengths. You have to specifically tell them that is where you are donating too. And then you get a wonderful chance to educate them about the program!

    • ANGIE

      I’ll second this. I had a great conversation about Pantene Beautiful Lengths when I donated mine last summer. The stylist said she’d spread the word because she knew many people who had given up growing theirs long enough for donations elsewhere, but were probably very close to the 8″ mark. I’m glad I stumbled upon Pantene Beautiful Lengths – what a great organization! It’s great that APW is teaming with them too!

  • Mer

    Grr, National Donate Your Hair Day IS my wedding day. I’ll just have to be a little late to the party. :0) I’m assuming they will accept my hair no matter when I send it in.

    • Liz

      Correct! I obviously missed the hair donation day by a longshot ;)

  • I’ve donated my hair before and as I’m doing the great chop again this summer, I was hoping to again, but with permanently dyed hair it’s a no go. Rats. I totally support anyone who does though!!

  • Amber

    Not about hair donation, but about a cool organization that benefits women dealing with breast cancer and their families. If you haven’t yet, check out Brides Against Breast Cancer. They take donated wedding dresses (new and used) and sell them to women all over the country at reduced cost with a percentage of the proceeds going to those struggling with breast cancer. As far as I know the company is based out of Florida, but they hold events all over. I’m in California and went to an event a couple of weekends ago and found my dress!!! Eeeee!! I’ll post the link for their website below, and definitely recommend checking them out!!

  • Mellie

    This is a silly technical question, but here goes. My hair is about shoulder length and so most of it is well over 8 inches long, but if I gather it in a pony in the back of my head lots of the length is wasted traveling along my head to the pony so the length of the pony is only like 3-4 inches and I don’t think I can squeeze out enough by September to quite qualify. Has anyone had a stylist like… cut it off in multiple lengths closer to your head to get the full length all around and then pony them together into one hank, or is there a good reason why that won’t work? If this doesn’t make sense I am happy to elaborate the question. :)

    • Logically, it seems like you should be able to make maybe two ponytails (one on each side of your head) and chop them off. I don’t actually know, but I bet you could find out in either FAQs on Pantene’s site or via an email contact. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you do multiple ponies, your remaining hair will be much shorter all the way around than if you do one. (I think. assuming I’m thinking about things correctly)

      • Ann

        I’ve donated hair twice (one 14 inch donation–which still left me with shoulder length hair!, and one 9 in donation), and I’ve always used two pony tails instead of 1. I think that it only gives you about an extra inch or so to donate, though. I’d recommend waiting a few more months. Another strategy is to take prenatal vitamins from now until September–they can help hair grow faster.

  • Thanks for posting about hair donation. I was inspired and donated my hair last week. And now I am obsessed with having short hair. I don’t know how I let it get so long.

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  • Inspired by Liz, I’m donating 12+ inches to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, with the added goal of raising money for cancer research through the Conquer Cancer Foundation. My (ambitious) goal is to donate 1 inch for every $100 received at I already set the “cut off” date for June 10, but maybe enough will grow back to donate again on Sept 7! Here’s hoping. :)

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