The ones who know me in person, or who have seen the professional picture that illustrated my interview with the Luzerner Zeitung, know that I have been growing my hair for the past 2 years with the sole plan to finally chop it and give it away. Since the latest crazy colours I have had while in Dubai (a good range of various pinks, under the usual, yet accepted, surprised smiles of my colleagues), I took care of my hair as naturally as possible to get the right length until the final chop.
So mid-April, I decided that the time had come and asked a hairdresser in Paris to give me a good cut. I was expecting to be overwhelmed with emotions, but the only thing I really felt was the relief to feel my head, neck and shoulders suddenly grow lighter as the ponytails were making their way out.
Why did I want to give my hair?
This has been in my mind for a very long time, mostly because growing one's hair is such an obvious, natural thing that does not demand much more than care only. I used to be over-conscious and pleased about my long hair as well, in a very weird, narcissic way (this probably due to the fact that I grew up as a kid with very short haircuts), so in the spirit of being mindful of my own limits and bad sides had been to change that.
But the will to change also grew stronger as life brought its share of crappy experiences to mourn, but that one can learn from, too. In the past 5 years, I lost two loved ones from cancer, and like other crappy diseases it left in my heart powerless and unfair feelings. And apart from donating money to medical research once in a while, I never really got involved in a personal, practical way. I got surely inspired by a friend of mine in Australia who raised awareness on Facebook and silently started the journey myself.
Where can you give your hair and how to pick the right one?
Based on where you are in the world, you will find assocations and possibly hair salons which support the cause and comply with the method to proceed.
For European readers I have gone through the following website:
- France: Association Solidhair : https://association-solidhair.fr/faire-un-don/
- Switzerland: https://www.liguecancer.ch/conseil-et-soutien/materiel-dinformation/don-de-cheveux/
- Belgium: Coupe d'Eclat - Think Pink campaign https://www.coupedeclat.be/
Most will accept the tails and send them to organizations which treat and fix perruques. Some will also go one step further and make an extra donation to cancer research or funds which support cancer patients for each received hair donation, making the commitment even stronger and more special.
If this is something you consider doing, read the options and requirements carefully, however: most will ask for completely untreated hair (i.e. no colouring or decolouring process) and a certain length (generally a minimum of 20 to 30 cm). In my case for example I have picked Coupe d'Eclat as they accept hair with a colouring history.
What were the reactions around?
Well, at the end of the day my hair is now shorter than ever, and it's been refreshing, a good change of look. And to those who already miss the long hair, apart from the fact that it is most probably not their business, one magic thing with healthy hair is that....well, it grows back. I was asked whether I plan to do it again when I reach the right length again: why not. It demands however some patience and care, and I cannot predict how I will want to experiment on new colours and cuts.
As for the hairdresser's reactions, we took the time first to talk so that I can explain the context and way to proceed as well as answer possible questions (i.e. the way to attach it in ponytails, how and where to cut).
I was ready to hit a refusal, but I cannot thank enough the lady who first seemed skeptical but then proceeded with curiosity. We had a chance to discuss while she was styling my new me: it was the first time she ever met someone who had this plan, and the first time in her career she even even heard about the possibility to donate.
At the end this experience had been unique and I want to believe we both learned something or learned from each other. There is obviously a lot of awareness that can be done on the topic, and a voice to be given to cancer patients and their surroundings.
A big thank you to the team of the Franck Provost - Hair Saint-Cloud in Paris (11, place Le Marois, 75016) for their support and warm welcome.