Pandemic hair cuts lead to influx of hair donations to wig companies

It’s been a long time since many of us sat in barber or salon chairs, either out of choice or because shops were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For those who weren’t brave enough to grab the scissors and give themselves a home haircut, it’s time to get a year-long growth tamed.

>> Read more trending news

Those piles of freshly cut hair are being swept up and donated to charities that make wigs for people who have lost theirs due to medical conditions like cancer.

The influx of donations actually started early in the pandemic’s shutdown and has only grown since.

Suzanne Chimera, co-founder of Hair We Share, told The Washington Post, “A lot of people in the beginning were saying, ‘Well, my salon is closed, and I just want to cut my hair now. So I’ll cut it and send it to you.’”

Chimera told people to wait and not cut their own hair, knowing that salons would need customers when they were allowed to reopen; and people listened.

Chimera said donations to her charity increased 230%, the Post reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Men are also looking to donate. In 24 hours, Chimera told the Post she had six men call about donating hair. Before the pandemic, she didn’t get six calls from men in a month.

Not only are men looking to donate, but Hair We Share has also gotten more gray hair donations than they usually do.

Other donation groups are seeing the same volume of hair.

Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan’s founder Maggie Varney said she’s received 487 ponytails and braids, many from first-time donors, even boys and adults, CNN reported.

JoAn Nicely is getting longer ponytails, ones measuring 15 or 16 inches, at Pink Heart Funds. She told CNN that the longer hair is welcome, since most young beneficiaries want long-haired wigs.

If you want to donate your hair, stylists say the hair has to be well-taken care of by using a sulfate-free shampoo, good conditioner and heat protectant. Also, use high-quality dryers and tools so hair is not damaged, and make sure it’s brushed regularly, CNN reported.

Donated hair that has damage like split ends can’t be made into wigs.

Also, since different groups require different lengths, make sure you know how long your hair has to be before you decide to cut it, and how the group needs to receive it once it is cut, CNN reported.