So a few of you IMed me yesterday and asked my why I wasn't big into Locks of Love. The main reason is that Locks of Love, or LoL, does not give away a majority of the wigs for free, preferring to charge the families on a sliding scale depending on their income. I know what you're saying. "But Ali, of course they have to charge SOMETHING. Those wigs cost a lot to make." Do they have to charge? Pantene Beautiful Lengths, Wigs For Kids, Wigs 4 Kids, and Children With Hair Loss provide their hairpieces at no cost to the family. Beautiful Lengths is just for those with cancer, though, if that makes a difference to you. And it provides wigs for adult women. Just because someone is an adult doesn't mean that they have the money for wigs, especially since the cost of cancer treatments is high and insurance doesn't often cover everything.
Going back to the other organizations I just listed - Have you heard of them? There's a good chance that you haven't. Locks of Love gets the most press time and therefore gets the most donations, both of hair and money. Wigs For Kids has been around for 25 years, and yet doesn't get as much press as LoL.
Most of the hair donated to LoL ends up sold to a wig manufacturer. So if you donate, there's a good chance that your hair ended up as an extension of some model's hair. Granted, the money from the hair sales does go back to LoL, but most people, especially children, who donate think that their hair is out there making someone without hair feel good about themselves. They don't think that it could be making a new wig for Tyra Banks. More than 2000 ponytails are donated to LoL every week. But since 1997, only about 2000 hairpieces have been provided. A lot of the hair isn't usable for these wigs, but a lot of it is. And LoL works with a company that makes the hairpieces at a vastly reduced rate, so it's not as much of a hit to the organization - even though they are raising quite a bit of money each year.
Giving to those in need is always a good thing, and will always be a good thing. And LoL has helped some people out. But before you go chopping off your hair, be sure to do your research. You might be better off cutting your hair and selling it to a wig manufacturer directly and giving that money to whatever charity you support. But in the end, it is up to you.