It is that time again…

9 Jul

I am one of those lucky people who have lots of healthy hair that grows relatively quickly.

I am also fairly unconcerned with my physical appearance– justified or not, I am much more vain about my brain, frankly.

So what I have been doing for the past eighteen years or so, is letting my hair grow for a couple of years or so (basically, until it reaches my waist), put it up in a ponytail, and cut the whole thing off (to about one inch from my head). Then I donate the hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides wigs for children who suffer from permanent hair loss conditions.

That is, until this time.

A few months ago my daughter mentioned reading that there have been issues reported about their practices, and asked me to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths instead.

Being innately resistant to change (if it ain’t broke…), I looked the charity up, again, and found a couple of interesting things.

First, I became aware of the persistent rumors that the company scams donors by selling wigs at exorbitant prices–this piece at does a good job of debunking those, by the way.

Second, I found a piece on Female Intel that provides a first hand account of the application process from the point of view of a child who suffered air loss that was not considered permanent, as well as listing a number of alternative charities aimed at helping those children.

Lo and behold, Pantene Beautiful Lengths is listed there, despite the fact that it is aimed at adult women.

Regardless, my daughter wins this round–that’s where this is going:

Hair donation 2015


On the funny side of things, and as has happened every single time I’ve done this (this is lucky seventh, by the way), I scared the poor young lady whose bad luck it was to cut my hair.

Me, “Cut to the rubber band (about an inch from the back of my head, fairly high), then do whatever.”

Her, “Wha…? Sorry, what did you say?”

Me: “As long as I don’t end up looking like an escaped convict, I’ll like it.”

Her (with a panicked look to her co-workers), “Wouldn’t you prefer to look at some magazines first?”

Poor thing. In the end, she called the manager. Ostensibly, to make sure the cut was even, but I think it was so she wouldn’t be blamed if tomorrow I decide I hate it. No amount of reassurance could convince her that I honestly don’t give a rat’s.

Then again, it’s a salon, and most people who go there do care.

10 Responses to “It is that time again…”

  1. Erin S. Burns 09/07/2015 at 9:22 AM #

    Last time I checked, Pantene Beautiful Lengths had already put out more wigs, in the short time it has been around, than Locks of Love has the entire time it has been around.

    I can’t donate anymore though, because I am too grey and I color my hair.

    • azteclady 09/07/2015 at 9:58 AM #

      If I may ask, where did you check the number of wigs? I didn’t find anything in a cursory search of the Pantene website, and they don’t have a rating in Charity Navigator (while Locks of Love has an 89%)

      I do understand the criticisms leveled against Locks of Love, though I think that a lot of the issues stem from misunderstandings–about what exactly they do, and the type of hair donations they can actually use.

      Either way, I wish more hair donation charities thought to recycle said ‘unusable’ hair–I have just this week become aware of a movement among some salons to become green by recycling, among other things, hair clippings (those that get swept after every cut) into booms that can be used to clean oil spills.

      • Erin S. Burns 09/07/2015 at 1:28 PM #

        I belonged to a long hair care forum so this was frequently a topic.

        I have never seen or heard of LoL doing more than 350 wigs per year, and frequently much less than that. Which puts them well below 6300 wigs since inception. I can not find year by year sources on that, but I remember occasionally a number here and there would pop up when I was still active on the boards. But the Forbes site had 317 wigs for 2011. So that is where I am getting my absolute max possible of 6300.

        Pantene on the other hand has put out more than 24,000 already.

        As for the oil spill boom thing. I am unaware of that ever getting off the ground. I know it was suggested when we had that spill down here, but the engineers said it would cause more problems than it would fix, and so they weren’t deployed.

      • azteclady 09/07/2015 at 1:40 PM #

        The Forbes article is the one the debunks in the article I linked.

  2. Erin S. Burns 09/07/2015 at 1:34 PM #

    But Pantene really doesn’t do kids, they will do teens, but not kids. For that Wigs 4 Kids is your best bet.

    • azteclady 09/07/2015 at 1:40 PM #

      Yes, but my daughter chose the charity, so Pantene it is.

      • azteclady 09/07/2015 at 1:56 PM #

        By the way, neither Pantene Beauty Lengths nor Children with Hair Loss, the other two charities linked, are rated by Charity Navigator–at least as of today. Donor, beware.

  3. Erin S. Burns 09/07/2015 at 6:35 PM #

    Agreed, much of the Forbes article has been debunked, but the 317 wigs for 2011 has never been debunked, to my knowledge. And it is hard to track them down now, but the old forum used to have copies of the public 990 tax forms for each year. Here is one for 2012 which reports 335 wigs for that year.

    Click to access updated-990.pdf

    2013 reported 303

    Click to access 11-30-13-990.pdf

    I can not remember a single year topping 350, but my memory may be faulty.

    Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a bit harder to track because they are more the middle man, partnering with the American Cancer Society. So the wigs actually go through there, and that is the charity you would have to search under. Much harder since they are relatively diversified. But, as far as I know that is why it isn’t listed on most charity research sites.

  4. Bona 11/07/2015 at 5:28 AM #

    Amazing thing, I’ve never thought that something like that could exist. Donate hair? Surprising. Then I went to check to do the same because I’m one of those who is also lucky enough to have a lot of hair and it grows very quickly.
    I found an organization in my country that do that for children who suffer cancer, but just at this moment they don’t need hair and they do only accept donations from people who is under 35, so, I don’t qualify.
    I think there are some differences in my country. The wigs are free for the children and they are made for each child by hairdresses that do it for free. When you say they sell they wigs, do they sell them to the children or do somebody else?

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