Writer, mermaid locks and all-round do-gooder Alessia Castiglione tells us what it was like to get the chop and donate 20 cm of her hair to charity…
I recently did a thing that gave me the bum-tingling excited nerves, the ‘I know I should do it because I have to, I’ve made up my mind, the end’ feeling. I let my boyfriend cut my hair. Well, the cut was just a step in the whole mad, exhilarating, fulfilling process: I donated my hair.
Let me take you back to the hairy(er) beginning. Last year my mop was getting to an unbearable length, so much I felt like a forest woman. Instead of discarding my strands I decided they needed a second wind, perhaps on a nape that wasn’t about to endure a heat wave. Enter Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths charity, an organisation that had been taking in stray, unwanted, even street ponytails since 2012.
Preparation was involved, I can tell you. I needed at least 20 cm at the ready, and all hairs had to be groomed to within an inch of their lives: daily brushing, shampooing twice a week, conditioning, and a leave-in night treatment. I don’t even know what that is. I was buying fancy conditioner, navigating the lock lingo – my hair had never received so much attention in its life.
That bizzo went on meticulously for two weeks, because after all that hair pimping, for them to turn around and say it wasn’t lush enough and it had to be scrapped was going to get someone a sternly written letter. They do it all the time, they’re not afraid to reject a ‘tail.
And then: it was ready for the harvest. We grabbed the kitchen scissors, because no one thought to buy a fresh pair, marked off the section, said our ‘don’t accidentally gash me’ prayers, and began the cut. For being so thin, my hair was surprisingly unwilling to fit into an entire scissor chop at once, as it was lopped it sort of became a rush to catch up to the strands that kept escaping the blade. My boyfriend (bless him) slanted the scissors downwards, so by the time the pony was no longer attached to a head, it was diagonal. And so were the ends of the hair still attached to me. Months later I got it evened out, but not before I wore it up everyday so no one would think it was a drunken hack job.
If you want to donate, bushy-haired friends, it’s the best feeling ever receiving a letter saying that your hair has been accepted and will be used in a wig. Because Pantene has since closed its Beautiful Lengths doors, Variety, a children’s charity will happily accept and entwine your mane. You can find them here.
So the next time someone asks what you’ve recently done in the line of philanthropic goodness, you can jooj your hair in their direction and proudly exclaim ‘my LOCKS! Duh.’ You’ll look totally badass.
Alessia Castiglione is a copywriter and all-round aficionado of words. She pens articles for all kinds of blogs and is one half of the ad brains for her creative duo TM&AC. An admirer of people who can get through to cats, collector of too much kitchenware to count and fiercely protective over her accumulation of crystals that she started at 8, eating any food is the foundation of most of her weekends. You can find her advertising work over at TM&AC and pfaffy satirical ramblings at TBQFH.