Chop it off: giving a new meaning to ‘hairCARE’

Have you seen Harry Style’s ‘new do’? If you answered yes, I’ve got news for you.

These past few days everyone has been raving about Harry Style’s latest transformation, as a result of him donating his ponytail to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that makes wigs from real hair for cancer patients. But there’s a twist to the tale; the photo of his new short hairstyle was actually a prank, by a former X factor auditionee Ellis Lacy, who used the faceswap feature on Snapchat to put Harry’s face over his own. I fell for it – did you?

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Although the big ‘reveal’ of his short hair was fake, Harry’s hair donation was very real, as he had posted a photo of his freshly chopped ponytail on his instagram account in support of the Little Princess Trust’s on-going #hairtospare campaign. I think it’s brilliant that he’s brought so much attention to charities that people may not have heard of, and has shown that giving your time, money and blood are not the only ways to help those in need; you can also give your hair!

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Harry Styles posted this photo of his hair donation

A year ago, I cut 14.5 inches of my hair off and donated it in 4 ponytail pieces to Locks of Love, a non-profit organisation providing hair pieces to children suffering with long term medical hair loss (such as alopecia, trichotillomania, or as a result of chemotherapy) … and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Knowing that I was able to help restore a child’s self esteem and confidence at such a difficult time for them felt amazing, and I can’t recommend it enough. As well as being really heartwarming having such a positive impact on someone’s life, it is also very grounding and the whole experience really put my own problems into perspective. I have been much less superficial as a result; the freedom of not being so concerned with my appearance has been liberating, and I’ve realised how shallow and silly it is for so many of us to complain about such trivial things.

If helping to make a challenging experience more bearable for a child isn’t enough, on top of this, short hair is actually pretty great! Sure, going from super long, thick, heavy hair to a short blunt bob was a shock, and figuring out how to style short hair took some time, but the time and effort I saved on washing and drying my hair was a game changer! Cutting so much hair off also does wonders for it’s health, especially if you have thin hair or split ends because cutting it short makes it look thicker and gives it more volume.

So if you want to help children unfortunate enough to be suffering with hair loss conditions, but you are reluctant to part with your locks, just think of all the benefits of cutting it off. The positives massively outweigh the negatives, and once you’ve done it I can guarantee that your whole life perspective will shift and you will no longer view your hair or appearance as such a big deal; you’ll definitely want to donate again, like I plan to. Cutting your hair to donate to charity will have a minor impact on your life but a HUGE impact on the recipient’s; you can always change the style of your hair and grow it back, but the children suffering with long-term hair loss don’t have that luxury… being given a hairpiece is life-changing for them.

There are a variety of charities that provide hairpieces to children suffering with hair loss conditions, but I chose to donate mine to Locks of Love; they provide high quality custom hairpieces made from donated hair to financially disadvantaged children, most of whom suffer with alopecia: a condition that has no known cure. They also help children who lose their hair from cancer and radiotherapy, as well as trichotillomania.

Anyone can donate hair providing it is not bleached, and the longest layer must be at least 10 inches. Anything shorter is still accepted as it can be sold to help reduce cost. Coloured or permed hair is acceptable, so long as it has not been coloured over bleach.

To donate, section your hair into multiple ponytails or braids – measure to ensure that from tip to tip the hair is at least 10 inches if you want the hair to be used for a hair piece. I had 4 ponytails in total, ranging from 11 to 14.5 inches long. If you are shaving your hair, please first tie it into ponytails to cut off, as shaved hair is not usable.

Visit http://www.locksoflove.org/get-involved/ for more information on how you can help, the hair donating form, and further guidelines for donating hair.

I promise you won’t regret it!

Ellie x

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