May 18th, 2010

Why I Cut Off A Foot of Hair and Donated it to a Stranger

It started off with a conversation with my sister, who said, “Hey, I heard you could cut off seven or eight inches of hair and donate it to have a wig made for kids…”

I chewed on this information for months. I’d wanted to trim my very long hair for a while, but eight inches of it?

So I went into research mode. Perhaps I could still be generous by only donating, say, 4 inches of hair.

What I found out about the process of making a wig for a child inspired me to happily get a foot of hair lopped off. That and one evening that tipped the scales and sent me running into the arms of my hairdresser.

First the wig research:

  • Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
  • It takes as many as 30 ten-inch donations of hair to make one wig (!), which are made by hand, strand by strand.
  • The custom fit wigs are then cut in whatever style the child prefers. The wigs are designed to stay put while the child sleeps, swims, showers, and roughhouses with pals. Amazing!
  • The minimum donation for the program “Locks of Love,” which makes wigs for kids for free, is ten inches.
  • Gulp.

    When I was in college I shaved my head and sported short hair for a couple of years. What I learned is that while it is fabulous to have people pet your fuzzy head when you have no hair, taking care of short hair is a pain. I much prefer long hairthat you can put up in a bun, braid, pull back, or leave long.

    The turning point came when I spent a week ignoring my hair through multiple trips in and out of the hot tub, choosing to the twist the entire pile into a messy but functional bun. Each day my hair approached the distinctive status of resembling one massive dreadlocked bird’s nest.

    It took two of us armed with a comb each over and hour to detangle the result of my hair abandonment. My friend is a professional dog groomer who regularly demattes long-haired dog fur. She spent the hour quietly cursing my stubbornness for not brushing my hair for a week.

    Nothing like a little motivation to spur me to action. Something had to change. And I had the perfect person to sever my problem hair.

    Enter Bob, my hair savior.

    Bob had been my hair savior and color deity for years when I lived in Santa Fe. My friend Gini and I spent hours every few months being pampered and primped and prettified by the brilliance of Bob’s touch and his eye for just the right hue of brown or red. Or often purple, in my case.

    Then I moved, and my hair has not been the same.

    To my incredible delight, I discovered that Bob had moved back to his hometown of Marble Falls, TX last year and opened his own salon, Mojo. Marble Falls is a mere 45 minutes from my front door.

    Road trip! My friend and Toltec Center teacher and minister Diana piled into her car one Friday afternoon and headed for the land of hair mojo. After much hugging, with glasses of wine in hand, Bob turned his sharp eye on my mop. He circled. He pondered. He asked “And what are you thinking about doing with your hair?”

    I took a deep breath and surrendered myself into his hands. “I want to cut most of it off, and donate it to Locks of Love.”

    Soon Bob was skillfully creating one long braid down my back, and with three snips I was less years of growth, and a child I’ll never meet was closer to a new head of hair.

    To celebrate we dyed my hair purple, and added a sassy blonde streak.

    I love it.

    Each day when I effortlessly brush my hair, I send my blessings to the child who has or will receive what used to be hang almost to my waist. May it bring them self-confidence and enhance their connection to their inner beauty.

    I wonder what color Bob and I will go for next.

    If you are blessed enough to live in the Austin area, join Bob’s facebook page and call him for a new look… His passion is “helping women (and men) to stop hiding behind their hair.” (830) 265-6811

    If you have an extra eight inches or more of hair, check out: