“My hair is capable of doing a lot of different things.”
- Prince, American singer and songwriter
In recent years, the concept off hair donation has made an impact into the Indian psyche. Earlier, people in India donated hair during religious ceremonies or at places of worship as a mark of respect or wish fulfillment. Now, people are consciously choosing to donate their locks for a noble cause of their choice. This can be to help patients of alopecia or burns or other injuries who have lost their hair, or to show solidarity with cancer patients.
A very evident side effect of cancer and chemotherapy is hair loss. Hair donations for cancer patients in India is one of the best ways to lend support to cancer patients. So, how to donate hair to cancer patients in India, you might ask. Read on to know more.
What You Need to Know About Hair Donation in India
Most of us regularly visit a salon or barber shop for a routine haircut. But does the cut off hair go for hair donation for cancer patients in India? Mostly not. There are a few key parameters to be kept in mind when donating hair.
How Long Does Your Hair Have to be to Donate to Cancer Patients?
During regular haircuts, only a portion of the hair is snipped off. Even people opting to donate hair for cancer patients in India do not normally cut from roots. The maximum length cut is between 12’’ to 16’’. While this is enough to make wigs for men, it is not ideal for making a wig for women. This is because for women, about 4’’ needs to be folded into a knot from the top of the donated hair.
Hair Donation for Women Cancer Patients
To make a shoulder length ladies’ wig, at least 22’’ of donated hair from a minimum of 4 people is required. A finished wig weighs about 150 - 200 gm. To make a wig of this weight, about 750-800 gm of hair is needed. The intensive washing and other processes result in significant hair loss, leaving the final weight of the wig at 150 - 200 gm. Moreover it takes around 30 to 45 days to make a human hair wig so a lot of times a cancer patient may not be willing to wait for that long with a hair loss condition.
Marketing Gimmicks in Hair Donation
Be careful of marketing gimmicks when you come across hair donation drives. It helps to be aware of the requirements of hair for cancer patients and only then sign up. Unfortunately, quite a lot of hair that is donated for cancer patients in India is unusable for a wig. Such hair is either discarded as trash or returned to the supplier. If you choose to donate a short length of hair, remember it may not be used to make wigs. You would then be donating as a symbol to raise awareness about cancer. Also shaded/dyed hair cannot be used as the cuticles in such hair are damaged. This hair is sometimes used to make less expensive wigs.
It is because of this that premium wig makers like Papillon source hair for cancer patients from temples from South India like Tirupati Balaji. This is because people normally remove hair from roots as a mark of obeisance at such locations and hence wig makers get longer sizes with cuticles in the same direction.
Donating Hair to Cancer Patients in India
At Papillon, we guide you on how to support cancer patients. Papillon does not accept hair donation due to logistical issues and the lack of transparency regarding the actual beneficiary of your donation. Organisations that accept hair donation in India often fail to track the donated hair, what kind of wigs were made of it and who were the real beneficiaries.
There are many other ways to lend your support to cancer patients as well. You could support them financially and emotionally. Many a times, cancer survivors who wish to support the cause, have reached out to us and have sponsored a wig for someone who needs it but can not afford it.
A cancer patient can feel much better if he/she can have a dignified look with the help of a natural looking wig. The good of hair donation is that it lets you help someone feel better. Hair donation is a noble way of supporting all those battling a difficult medical condition.