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A new year, a big cut, and hair for cancer


The new year evokes a certain excitement that takes root from new possibilities, opportunities, and fresh starts. For my family and I, this weekend also marks the 5th anniversary of the end of my late father’s long battle with cancer. As such, I’d decided to mark the occasion in a different kind of way: the lengthy locks I have been saving up are finally getting donated to a cancer wig program.

Charity, my beloved stylist at W did the honours. The short, but sweet, process was captured in the Vine below. And how did it feel? Fantastic.

If you live in Canada and are interested in donating your hair to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients, you can refer to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s list of organizations by province. Aside from that, there are a few things you should know in advance before you donate your hair. The rest is easy.

  1. You’ll need at least 8″ or 12″ of untreated hair (hair that hasn’t been previously dyed, bleached, or treated). The length requirements will depend on where you’re donating to. For example, the “Beautiful Lengths” program managed by the Canadian Cancer Society in partnership with P&G requires 8″, while A Child’s Voice Foundation for children’s wigs requires at least 12″.
  2. Your hair will need to be both clean and dry. They don’t accept wet hair. If you cut it while it is wet, make sure it is fully dry before sending it in.
  3. When you cut your hair, make sure your hair is tied off at both ends. Braided is best.
  4. There can’t be more than 5% grey hair in your ponytail. This is because it takes between 8-15 hair donations to make a wig. To make the wig uniform in colour, all of the hair needs to be treated and dyed one colour. Grey hair tends to take in the colour at a different rate than hair of other colours, which affects the final result of the wig and how authentic the wig looks.

Fuller instructions are provided on each organization’s site, along with their address. It’s best to check in advance to make sure they don’t have additional instructions or more specific requirements I haven’t covered here.

As for me, I decided to send my hair to the Canadian Cancer Society and P&G’s Beautiful Lengths program. In Canada, their address is:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
C/O Archway Marketing Services
P.O. Box 434
2110 Kipling Ave.
Etobicoke Station B, Ontario
M9W 5L4

Happy New Year and all the best in 2014!

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