How to Donate to or Apply to Locks of Love

You might have seen friends taking pictures of their newly-shorn hair and mentioning an organization called Locks of Love. This organization accepts donations of human hair to create hairpieces for children who have lost their hair because of cancer treatments and other medical causes.

Read on to learn more about the guidelines for donating and receiving hair and some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Locks of Love.

Women Inmates Donate Hair To Benefit Cancer Victims
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What is Locks of Love?

Locks of Love is a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to “financially disadvantaged children” who have lost their natural hair through medical treatments.

While the majority of donations go to children suffering from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, Locks of Love does help people under the age of 21 who have lost hair due to other conditions. The causes of hair loss vary and include hair loss from long-term chemotherapy and permanent loss from radiation therapy.

Donation Guidelines

Donations of hair come from men, women, and children across the United States and Canada, and that hair is then made into hairpieces. Financial donations are also accepted for those who don't want to or cannot donate their hair.

There are several guidelines for donating hair to Locks of Love. In addition to the 10-inch rule, here are some other guidelines you must follow to donate your hair:

  • Curly hair must be at least 10 inches when pulled straight
  • Colored or permed hair is acceptable
  • Layered hair should be separated into multiple ponytails, with the shortest measuring 10 inches
  • Hair not in a ponytail or braid cannot be used
  • Locs are not allowed
  • Hair extensions or synthetic hair cannot be used
  • Gray hair is acceptable

Lastly, hair can be cut by anyone as long as these guidelines are met.

Requesting a Hair Piece

A Locks of Love application must be submitted to receive a hairpiece, along with a photograph of the child without a hairpiece or hat, to help with a custom fit.

You also need to submit two letters of recommendation explaining why the child would benefit from this. These can be from a parent, teacher, or another person in the child’s life.

Who Can Receive a Hairpiece?

Locks of Love donates hairpieces to disadvantaged children. In order to be considered by the organization for a hairpiece, tax forms must be submitted.

While Locks of Love says that the majority of applicants are girls, hairpieces can also be made for boys.

The organization helps children suffering from long-term and permanent hair loss due to several conditions, not cancer exclusively. Children with short-term hair loss can also receive a synthetic hairpiece.

An application to Locks of Love can be submitted every 18 months. A child can receive up to five hairpieces. Kids six years old and younger receive synthetic hairpieces because they have rapid head size growth. Children ages 6-21 with long-term hair loss receive custom hairpieces. While they are waiting for their hairpiece, they also get a wig.

Receiving a hairpiece can take four to six months from the time an application is submitted.

  • Once the application is approved, the family is sent a molding kit.
  • The molding kit will allow a plaster mold to be made of the child's head.
  • The mold is then sent back to Locks of Love, who then sends it to the hairpiece manufacturer.

The hairpieces are intricately made to ensure high quality and Locks of Love fits the bill for the manufacturing. The hair pieces would normally retail for $3,500 to $6,000.

Summary

Losing your hair can be an emotionally hard process at any age, especially for children and teens. Hair can be so important for self-esteem and self-concept, but hairpieces can be expensive. Locks of Love is an organization that donates hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children.

To donate hair to the organization, you will need to follow certain guidelines, including making sure the donation is at least 10 inches from end to end. If you are interested in either donating hair or applying for a hairpiece, there are guidelines for both on the website.

A Word From VeryWell

If there is a child in your life under the age of 21 who is experiencing hair loss, Locks of Love may be able to help. They are an organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children.

With the help of this organization and the people who donate, children and teens who might not otherwise be able to afford a hairpiece can get a custom prosthetic that helps make their lives a little easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Locks of Love charge for wigs?

    No, they do not. Recipients receive their custom-made hairpiece for free. They are also given a free wig to wear while waiting for their custom hairpiece.

  • How do you send hair to Locks of Love?

    After putting your hair in a ponytail or braid, place it in a bag. Put the bag in an envelope and mail it to the address listed on the donation form.

  • Who shouldn't donate to Locks of Love?

    If your donated hair will be less than 10 inches, do not donate. You also shouldn't donate if you have locs (aka "dreadlocks"), as the hair needs to be able to be combed and separated.

Originally written by Lisa Fayed
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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Cancer Institute. Hair loss (alopecia) and cancer treatment.

  2. Locks of Love. Hair donation information.