How To Cut Your Hair For A Cause

It helps to keep the goal in mind.
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It helps to keep the goal in mind.

Last month I decided my hair was getting too long. Like, gross-long. The ends were on their way to becoming fried. Even the magic of hair products couldn’t save my sad strands.

It was time to say goodbye--and hello to a new me--again. 

long dark brown hair

 My hair needed to be cut in a bad way.

Allow me to explain: Aside from minor trims here and there, I don’t cut my hair any fewer than eight inches at a time. Is this weird? Maybe. But it’s for a good cause. I’ve donated my brunette bundle to charity five times--to Locks of Love and to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.


Both organizations have similar asks. Pantene ponies:

  • Must be at minimum eight inches long
  • Cannot be dyed, bleached, or chemically treated
  • Have no more than five percent grey

Check. Check. Check. Now it was time to prepare.


For this last cut, I booked an appointment at Warren Tricomi in New York City, and continued with my regular shampooing and conditioning regimen. Pantene suggests using a conditioner after every wash and using a leave-in conditioner when using heated hair appliances.


hair donation ponytail

Bye, bye bundle. What’s done is done!

At the salon, I had some separation anxiety. I was nervous--something I had never experienced in my previous four donations. My stylist Adam sweetly suggested I let go of my locks, step by step.

First, he shampooed and conditioned my hair and did not add any additional product. Then we gathered my hair behind my neck, and created a few ponytails with elastic bands, each one eight inches long. Finally, Adam went to work, cutting the hair above each elastic.

What Happens Afterward 

white long envelope

My hair has a one-way ticket from New York to Minnesota.

Running my hands through my hair, I immediately missed my recent Rapunzel-like appearance. Perhaps I was startled because it had been so long since I had short hair. But I felt good about what I had done; Pantene Beautiful Lengths creates wigs for women with cancer. (Locks of Love caters to American and Canadian children with hair loss.) I slipped my ponytails into an envelope and shipped them off to be made into a hairpiece.

And In Case You Miss Your Length...

viviscal hair products

I don’t regret my decision to donate (again), and it helps to know there are options like Viviscal, the hair-growth supplement recommended by my friend Gina, should I long for longer hair.

long brown hair

I’m finally getting used to my new ‘do!

  • Would you, or have you, donated your hair to charity?
  • Have you ever chopped off more than eight inches of your hair?