Hair Donation Guidelines

add remove

What kind of hair donations can be used to make a wig?

If your hair donation is 35.5cm or longer, undyed and free from chemical processing, it will be sent to our friends at Freedom Wigs, a specialist wigmaker that makes custom, medical-grade suction wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to a medical condition, such as cancer or alopecia.

If your hair is less than 35.5cm, coloured, or chemically processed, we send it to our friends at Sustainable Salons – our sustainability partner. This hair may be used in an alternative form of wig, or for important environmental and technological research projects that require recycled hair!

add remove

What if my hair is shorter than 35.5cm/14in?

The minimum length required for hair donations to be made into a medical-grade wig is 35.5cm/14 inches and the longer the donation the better! There is a huge demand for long-hair medical wigs, especially for children, and we are so grateful for our hair donors who decide to wait till their hair grows just a little bit longer! Consider setting up your fundraising page now! It’s a great way to keep you motivated whilst you patiently wait for your hair to grow.

If you need to chop your hair now, and it’s shorter than 35.5cm/14in, we’ll send it to Sustainable Salons who accept donations of ponytails from 20cm for possible use in other types of wigs and environmental research.

add remove

Can I donate my hair that's been dyed, highlighted, permed, or chemically straightened?

Hair that has been processed or dyed, including semi-permanent, foils, bleach, henna, or chemically straightened cannot be used for making medical wigs by our friends at Freedom Wigs. The hair must be natural to be used by the wigmaker so they can properly colour match, as dyed hair tends to fade or change colour. Processed hair is also more brittle and prone to breakage during the wig-making process and while the wig is being worn.

If your hair was dyed some time ago and it’s only the ends of your hair that remain dyed, we can accept the hair, provided the dyed ends are cut off and the length of the donated hair is 35.5cm/14in long.

All dyed/processed hair will be sent to our friends at Sustainable Salons where it will be used in an alternative form of wig or for environmental research!

add remove

Can I donate grey, curly or layered hair?

Freedom Wigs can make medical wigs using fully grey hair or hair with easily removable grey strands. However, they can't use salt and pepper grey hair. They also accept curly hair, except for very tight corkscrew curls due to manufacturing challenges. If most of your hair is 35.5cm or longer, they can accept layered hair.

Any hair that does not meet the requirements for a medical wig will be sent to our friends at Sustainable Salons where it may be used in an alternative form of wig or for environmental research.

add remove

Can I send my hair if I live overseas?

Yes! Variety regularly receives hair from countries such as New Zealand and Japan.

add remove

I have a ponytail that was cut many years ago, is it still okay to donate?

Like all items that are stored for a long period of time, hair can break down and weaken. If it is older than five years old we would not recommend donating it. 

The Big Chop

add remove

Who can chop my hair?

Anyone can chop your hair! Whether it’s a hairdresser, a friend or a family member we suggest you bring along a copy of the guidelines which goes through the steps for how to chop your hair.

add remove

Should I straighten my hair before it's chopped?

Please leave your hair in its natural state. This allows for the hair to be better sorted and matched with similar hair.

add remove

Do you have a list of hairdressers you recommend?

We don’t have a list of hairdressers that we recommend. We often suggest asking your friends or family if they have any hairdresser friends, as they are often likely to be supportive (and some may even generously donate their services!)

add remove

I'm a hairdresser, how can I be involved with or support Hair with Heart?

Thanks so much for your support of Hair with Heart! Many hairdressers keep our guidelines & chop instructions on their wall, in the window and have some available for people to take home.

When it comes to sending in the hair, if people are sending it in themselves, we suggest providing them with the guidelines document which has the steps to follow (including the link to our online hair donation form). By completing their own hair donation form they will receive a personalised certificate to print off and will be notified once we’ve received their long locks.

If they’re happy to leave it with you, we’re happy to receive these in bulk (no need for individual forms).

We don’t have a formal list of participating hairdressers, as in the past we have found this quite challenging to keep current, however, some hairdressers generously offer a discount or complimentary chops for our hair heroes. This is up to you and your salon!

Guidelines & Chop Instructions

Sending in the hair

add remove

Where do I send the hair?

Variety – the Children’s Charity
C/O Hair with Heart
Locked Bag 2468
St Leonards
NSW 1590

Please include your completed Hair Donor Form, so we know who the hair is from. A PDF of the online form will be emailed to you upon completion.

add remove

How do I package my hair to send it in?

Make sure your ponytail is clean and dry. Place in a zip lock bag to protect and send in an envelope or post bag (including your printed Hair Donor Form)

add remove

What happens once you receive my hair?

Once your hair arrives at Variety HQ, our wonderful volunteers unpack and sort your hair. Hair donations that are untreated and at least 35.5cm in length are sent to our friends at Freedom Wigs to be used in a medical-grade wig. We choose to work with Freedom Wigs, a wigmaker based in NZ who makes custom, human hair, vacuum cap wigs for adults and kids who have lost their hair due to a long-term medical condition, primarily alopecia. Variety raises money from the hair donations that support the grants and programs we provide to support kids in need.

Hair donations that do not meet the requirements for a medical-grade wig are sent to our friends at Sustainable Salons where they may be used in an alternative form of wig, or for environmental research.

Within a few weeks, you’ll receive an email to let you know your ponytails have been received!

The Wigs

add remove

How many ponytails does it take to make a wig?

On average it takes between 10-20 ponytails to make just one medical-grade wig.

add remove

Does Variety sell wigs?

We don’t sell wigs. Variety grants wigs to kids who have lost their hair due to a medical condition, including long-term conditions such as alopecia and trichotillomania, and temporary hair loss, including kids undergoing treatment for cancer. The wigs that are granted by Variety include those made by Freedom Hair, as well as other types, depending on the needs and preferences of the child, and cover up to $6000.

add remove

Am I able to see the wig made with my hair, or find out who the wig goes to?

Due to the volume and logistics of the wig-making process (on average 10 – 20 ponytails are used to make one medical wig) as well as privacy, we are unable to track your hair through to the final recipient. Each wig is also custom-made, so when it is used in a wig, depends on the type of hair requested by each client. Your hair will only be used in a wig for someone who has lost their hair due to a medical condition, primarily alopecia.

We’d encourage you to take a look at Hannah’s Story. Hannah has alopecia and was nine when she was granted a wig by Variety. The video shows the impact a wig can have on someone’s life.

Plus it’s a great video to share with friends and family too!

The wigmaker we work with, Freedom Wigs also posts lots of photos of recipients of their wigs on their Facebook page.

add remove

I know a child who is in need of a wig, how do they apply?

We’d love to see if we can help!

Click here to view Variety’s Wig Application and guidelines.
Our Kids Support team is here to help too – give them a call on 02 9819 1000 or send them an email. The Kids Support team in NSW looks after all the wig applications for Australia.

add remove

How does donating my hair help Aussie Kids in Need?

The money Variety receives for your hair, along with the money you raise by fundraising, is used to help support kids who are sick, experiencing disadvantage or living with disability. Variety supports families in many ways, from purchasing a child with disability a new wheelchair to sponsoring 'Just Like You' programs which promote disability acceptance, and inclusion in schools across Australia. 


add remove

How do I set up a fundraising page?

Setting up your very own fundraising page is quick and easy. Click here to get started!

add remove

What do I need to do once my fundraising page is set up?

Personalise your fundraising page by uploading a profile photo, setting a fundraising goal, and including a bit about why you're chopping your hair! You can continue to post pictures to your page and thank your donors leading up to your Big Chop! We've got lots of resources and more tips here.

add remove

What's the best way to kick start my fundraising?

Make the first donation yourself! People will be more likely to support you knowing you have personally committed to the challenge! We’ve found fundraisers who donate to their own page receive 120% more donations than those who don't. It's a simple step to start your fundraising.

add remove

What happens once I've chopped my hair and finished fundraising?

Make sure you post a photo or two of your chop or new haircut to your page and share your page one more time. People can and often do donate after the Big Chop. The donations from your friends and family come through to Variety automatically, so there’s nothing you need to do with those! 

When you're ready to send in your long locks make sure you complete your hair donation form and follow the instructions. 

Make sure to tag us in any social media posts @hairwithheart (Instagram) and Hair with Heart (Facebook) using the hashtags #HairwithHeart #VarietyAustralia

Once you have chopped your hair, consider sharing your story on our website. Click here for more info!

add remove

How do I bank cash donations?

We encourage using your online fundraising page as much as possible, including banking the cash donations you receive on the day through your page. If somebody needs a receipt you can enter their donation on their behalf through your page. We also accept cheques and bank deposits. Email us for more info.

add remove

When will I receive my Hair Hero kit/incentives?

If you’ve signed up to fundraise for Hair with Heart, one you've reached $25, you will receive a package or two being a Hair Hero kit and incentives. There is also loads of great tips and tricks on our Resources page.

Welcome Kits are sent out to each fundraiser whose hair chop it at least two weeks out from registration and have reached $25. Incentives are sent out to individual fundraisers who reach $750 and $1,500 fundraising milestones. Sometimes, the period between registration and these milestones is very fast, making it challenging for our Hair with Heart Team (and AusPost) to keep up. Please be patient as we lovingly prepare and send out kits and gifts to you as soon as possible. Rest assured, your Hair with Heart journey isn't delayed, as the Welcome Kit is digitally available on our website.

About Hair with Heart

add remove

How did Hair with Heart start?

In 2007, after their daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with alopecia areata, Matthew and Rebecca Adamson established the Princess Charlotte Alopecia Foundation to raise awareness of the condition and funds to supply quality, human hair wigs to people with alopecia. 

In 2013, the foundation became part of the Variety, becoming the Princess Charlotte Alopecia Program. Building on the amazing work of Matthew, Rebecca and their volunteers, the program has continued to grow – granting wigs to children with alopecia and accepting hair donations to make into wigs for those whose hair loss is due to a medical condition. In 2016, the Princess Charlotte Alopecia Program became Hair with Heart.

add remove

How does Variety - the Children's Charity help?

At Variety – the Children’s Charity we support kids who are sick, experiencing disadvantage or living with a disability by providing practical equipment, programs and experiences to help them overcome obstacles and live life to the fullest. To find out more about how Variety helps, click here.