Hair donation and wigs | Cancer Research UK
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Hair donation and wigs

This page tells you about hair donation and wigs. We are often asked about hair donation. Some people ask before they have their hair cut before chemotherapy. Other people would like to donate hair to make up into wigs for people with cancer. You can find information about


Human hair versus synthetic wigs

Human hair wigs are not actually the first choice for most people whose hair falls out due to chemotherapy treatment. People who have long term hair loss (alopecia) that is not related to cancer are more likely to buy wigs made from human hair.

There are 2 main reasons for this. The wigs have to be made to order and this can take up to 2 months. Most people don't know 2 months beforehand that they are going to have chemotherapy, so they need a wig sooner than that.

Human hair wigs are also very expensive. They can cost anywhere between £200 and £2000, compared to a synthetic wig, which costs between £50 and £200. Many people cannot afford real hair wigs, especially when they are only going to be wearing it for a few months until their own hair starts to grow back. Also, you actually need 2 wigs, so that you have one to wear while the other is being cleaned. Human hair wigs need to be cleaned regularly and this is a specialised process that takes time.

Some people do prefer human hair wigs because they often look more natural. So you may want to still consider donating your hair. But remember that there is no guarantee that your hair will be used for a wig that a cancer patient will use. And cancer patients are not given human hair wigs for free, which is a common belief. People treated on the NHS are given one free synthetic wig. If a person prefers to have a human hair wig, they will have to pay for it themselves.


Donating your hair

Your hair needs to be at least 7 inches long to be used in wig making. The hair must be clean, in good condition and in a pony tail when it is cut. 

If you are interested you can contact 

They will explain to you about having your hair cut and will pay you for it. The fees are from £3 per 25g up to £10 per 25g. Your hair is valued by colour, length, weight and condition by one of their hair room technicians. 

The Little Princess Trust are able to accept hair donations from anyone wanting their hair to be used to help children who have hair loss due to cancer treatment and other causes. 

Bloomsbury wigs run Hair Harvest, which buys hair to make their wigs. You send your hair to them and they pay depending on the length. You can find out about the process and prices on their website.


Hair merchants

If your company accepts hair donations, please let us know. We can add your details to this page.

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Updated: 29 January 2015