Selling Vs. Donating My Hair

If you are here (so glad you are!) and you haven’t yet read Part I: How I Sold My Hair for $650, then I recommend checking it out so that you can have some more context. But if you don’t have time for that and want to cut to the chase, I’ll fill you in a little bit.

2 years ago, I took a look at my ridiculously long hair and I said, “I wonder if I can sell it.” I did a little research, tried it out for 6 months, learned a lot of lessons and ended up selling it for a chunk of change!

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Fast forward two years later to an older and wiser woman. I had super long hair again and I wanted it to be put to some kind of use. I like the idea that my hair will be “recycled” every couple of years, instead of chopping off and throwing away a few inches every few months. I hoped for a wig maker to buy it, but also didn’t mind if that didn’t work out because I could donate it to someone in need.

So I set to trying to sell once again. I listed it on the same website that I did last time, hairsellon.com, with some pictures from my old photoshoot as well as new photos to go with it. My description was much more straight-forward this time, and I ended it with “Please, serious inquiries only. I am only interested in selling to those wanting to use the hair for wholesome reasons. Paypal only, and no refunds excepted. Thank you!” Whether this was too harsh or not I am not sure, but I knew what my boundaries were and I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with inconsiderate or strange people this time.

There were only two promising matches this time around. The first was actually the same contact as last time, the woman that had asked for tons of pictures and descriptions once again, using the same email that she had sent in the past. She must do this very often, sending the same email template to every viable hair ad whether she is truly interested or not. I did all of the extra work for her. She sent one more general email and then never responded again. I was annoyed, but I just accepted that is the way that this industry works and moved on.

The other was a gentlemen that said he was interested and willing to pay full price, but asked if he could send a check. Because of what I had come across in the past with fake checks, I politely told him that was not my policy, and then promptly sent him a PayPal invoice. (Which is super easy to do, by the way. If you’re not using Paypal to pay people or receive money, why not? It’s so much safer than mailing checks and so much easier as well! And no, Paypal is not sponsoring this post.)

The man never responded, so I’m willing to bet it was a scam to either get personal information or to eventually have me pass on some funds to “his associate,” which I am just not going to fall for this time. I love having the assurance that no one can pull one over on me if I only allow Paypal.

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After months and months of no sales working out, I was getting a little frustrated. As many of you know, I am extremely frugal and it bothered me that I had spent $26 to list my hair this time, with no return whatsoever. Also I might add that my long hair was driving me crazy, it was super difficult to maintain and smooth down into a professional look for work, and I was so ready for it to be gone. I decided to try just one more time, on a website called sellbuyhaironline.com because it was only $10 instead of the $20-$30 normal price for an ad. I thought one more stitch effort couldn’t hurt, and because the first two weeks of an ad are usually the most effective, if it didn’t work by the end of the month I would take matters into my own hands and donate it to a good cause. I would help someone while also getting relief from my unruly mane.

After a few weeks of zero success with this website (did I mention that sellbuyhaironline.com is so not worth it? All of the other hair websites that are exactly the same seem to be more successful in my opinion. To be safe, I recommend sticking just with hairsellon.com.) I researched other wig companies and sent them an email asking them if they would consider buying my hair. All of the wig companies that I found, primarily on the West Coast, replied with “no,” they do not directly buy hair from private sellers, because they have one manufacturer they have been using for a very long time.

Eventually, I found a great possibility! There is an organization in England that will accept your hair as long as it is at least 14” long, called Hair Harvest by Bloomsbury Wigs, and the great part is, you know who it is going to and exactly what they are using it for. They always use it to help those that need wigs for medical reasons, so you can feel good about what you are giving to. I wish there were more places like this! But trust me, I’ve tried to find more like this and it is not easy.

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However, this sadly wouldn’t work out this time for me. They do not buy hair without receiving it in their hands, and then they contact you and let you know how much they will offer to you. They do not buy before you cut your hair, unlike buyers on the direct selling websites. I had been advised many times to receive the money before you cut your hair, so I felt uneasy about this at first. The other problem was that I had already spent almost $40 that we had not budgeted for, and if I were to take the chance and ship it to them, my husband (who is from England, remember?) told me that it would cost at least $20 to ship that far internationally. I couldn’t spend even more money and chance that they may not want to buy it and they would ship it back to me. Plus, they wanted at least 14” which would have made my hair a little shorter than I am comfortable with.

Next time, I am going to grow my hair out as fast as possible (I heard Keratin does the trick!) and ship it to this company and see how much I can get for it. I will have budgeted for the shipping expense and just skip the charges of the websites. I won’t have to deal with weirdos at all this way! Here is how Hair Harvest typically breaks down their offers (1 English pound is equal to about 1.5 dollars, so the American dollars are another 50% more than what you are seeing below):

14-15 inches – £25–£60

16-18 inches – £50–£150

19 inches and above- £60–£200

So theoretically, if I am able to hold out longer and possibly be okay with cutting my hair closer to my chin, I may be able to earn between $90-$300. Even if they only paid $30, I would be breaking even, and my hair would still be going to an excellent cause for someone who really needs it.

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For this occasion however, I knew this option wouldn’t work for me and I needed to simply donate it. I would have to ship it to the organization I donated to, but it would likely be under $10 which was much more reasonable than shipping it to England.

Now, I only had to choose which company I would donate to. After some research, I saw that Locks for Love had the most controversy. Whether it be rumors or not, they apparently do not use 80% of what is donated and they supposedly sometimes charge the patients $1,009 – $3,000 for their human hair wigs. I think they charge depending on financial need, so it may be fair in certain situations, but I still wanted to feel more comfortable with the organization I would be giving to.

In the end I landed on Pantene Beautiful Lengths, because they have a great reputation and it sounds like they help many people in need of the confidence a wig can bring. I am very happy with my choice and I think that you will be too. So as you may have seen on my Facebook or Instagram, I placed a very low ponytail in my hair, slid it down to the shortest spot I was comfortable with (which was to my shoulders), placed another ponytail about one inch lower, braided the rest of the hair, and tied it off with a last ponytail at the end.

Then, my Mom and I went outside, and she cut in between the top two ponytails. It was important to tie it all up like this because after she cut it and separated the braid from my head, the braid would be secured on both ends, and the hair still on my head would kind of be cut in a straight line, which often makes a cute layered look. I was very nervous as she made the cuts, as they made the strangest sounds in the world, and every snip was one small step closer to losing all of the weight on my head. It was my security, my identity– a part of me. The video didn’t show the entire process because it actually took at least 60 seconds to cut through the thick braid. My nerves only increased the closer that we got to the final cut.

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Finally, I felt it all separate with one final jagged cut. It was so strange, but so liberating! I had the slight urge to cry because of all of the swirling emotions, but I was too relieved that the journey was over to let the tears flow. I could finally wrap the braid in a ziploc bag all snugly, put it in an envelope addressed to Pantene, hand it over to the clerk at the post office and never see it again! I was free of the stress, the worry, the costs, the pressure, and the annoyingly out of control hair running down my back.

The only problem? The salon was closed for the night! The scissors chopping the braid didn’t quite do the job I was hoping for. (What a shock right?) So as a quick solution the next Monday morning, I put the hair up in a clip up on my head to hide the uneven lines– and only ONE person noticed! I couldn’t believe I got away with it, even though my “bun” was 10% it’s old size! That night, I went to the salon and asked for a shoulder-length A-line lob, and I absolutely love it! The next day, I did the big reveal at work. A lot more than one person noticed, but 99% of them were women. Go figure!

 

Whether you’re considering going the route of selling or donating your hair, I believe the lessons I learned stumbling through the process can definitely benefit you. Learn from my mistakes instead of making your own.

  • If you’re trying to sell your hair first, consider whether you are willing to part with 14”. If so, look into Hair Harvest and decide whether you are okay with cutting the locks and then shipping them for possible payment.
    • If you are set on receiving the money before cutting it, be willing to try to list it on hairsellon.com and know that it may take another six months or more to sell.
  • If you have tried to sell it and had no success, or you simply want to donate it, do your research on the recipient organization before you send it in. I personally recommend Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and I think you should check it out too. But be sure to make your own determination, because who you wish to give to is an important personal decision that you need to make for yourself.

So, was it worth it? I can honestly give a resounding 100% yes answer this time around. I feel great having lost the inches, my haircut fits my personality (and it’s so much easier!), I’m not worried about what will happen to the hair, and it was not simply wasted by sitting in a trashcan. I definitely think this will be a repeat thing for me, and I can’t wait to execute it even better next time. What do you say, want to try it with me? Let me know in the comments below?

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