For a while I considered myself to be a real-life Rapunzel. My long, golden locks reached to the bottom of almost every chair I sat in, and I managed to get tangled in anyone's bracelet or accessory if they welcomed me in a warm embrace. I guess not many people can say they've gotten their hair stuck in the lead singer of the Plain White T's wristwatch before. Embarrassing? Yes. Funny? Also yes.
About two years ago I thought about how I kept getting the same haircut over and over again, and I was getting bored. Many people complimented me on how long and healthy my hair was and suggested I look into donating it to a foundation that uses donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients. At that moment, I decided I would do just that. I would grow my hair out, even longer than it had always been, and donate it, no matter how long it took.
While researching different organizations to donate my hair to, I stumbled upon Pantene and the American Cancer Society's Beautiful Lengths program. The partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society stated that they were committed to helping improve the lives of as many women possible, using the donations of hair to create wigs. Real-hair wigs are expensive, and the demand for them is high, so they can only make as many wigs as they receive donations. There is no maximum length you can donate, but it must be a minimum of eight inches long. Hair must be free of permanent color, bleach and other chemical treatments. I was sold. I fit all of the requirements and fully supported their reasoning and cause. The usual requirement from other organizations is about 10 inches to a foot, so the eight-inch minimum made it easier on someone, like myself, who was a little nervous about chopping their forever-long locks off.
Every month, in preparation to the donation, I would get a half of an inch trimmed off of my ends, to keep my hair healthy and stimulate growth. The hot, dog days of summer -- those months were the hardest. My hair would hang heavily on my back, even when it was up in a ponytail. My friends often helped me by experimenting with different hairstyles, such as my personal favorite, the fish-tail braid. I knew that waiting it out would be worth it.
The time came when I had to say goodbye to the countless amounts of knots and 45-minute blow-drying sessions and part with my hair. As dramatic as I am making it sound, I was just as excited to have new hairstyle. Check out my video journey below to see how it all went down!
I encourage anyone looking for a great way to give back to donate their hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program!