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Ask a Hairstylist: How to Cut Your Hair for a Donation

Take off as much as you can.
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Q: Hello! I'm a long-time reader with a big hair decision on the near horizon. I've been purposefully growing out my hair for about the past two years, so that I could cut and donate it in honour of my husband, who is fighting stage IV brain cancer.

From The Styling Edit Archives

It is all the way down to mid-back, below my bra line. It can be frizzy, but overall I'm pretty lucky—it's naturally thick and wavy. It has a mind of its own, so it's just easier to let it do what it wants and not fuss with it too much. The one thing I love about it being this long is that the length sort of weighs it down, so I don't have to worry about it being frizzy/puffy and out of control as much.

Megan is donating her long hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

In the photo, I had washed it at night and then let it dry overnight (I do this often to avoid having to heat style) with very little product in it. I don't colour it regularly—the last time I coloured was about a year and a half ago, with an at-home kit. I only heat-style when I have to, and I only wash it two or three times a week (God bless whomever invented dry shampoo!). So it is pretty healthy overall due to my hands off policy (a.k.a. laziness).

In order to donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for women who are fighting cancer, I'd have to cut at least eight inches off. I'd love to do a sassy bob, maybe with bangs? I cut bangs last fall and loved them, but can't deal with them in the Arizona summer, so they are currently growing out. I'm very much a wash and wear girl, so a cut that would work with my natural texture and also give me different styling options would be ideal. Thank you so much for considering me! — Megan

A: Hello Megan, pretty cool what you are doing; someone will be so grateful for your considerate donation.

From my experience, in the hair donation business—for any cause—the amount of length is paramount. To be polite and grateful, folks will tell you the low end of what is needed to promote more donors. But if you really want your efforts best used, take off as much length as you can part with.

Here is a strong bang and messy bob that could be tons of fun for an extreme…

Brunette bob with bangs.

My choice would be to give you an asymmetrical cut with a messy part:

Ashley Greene at the 2009 Vision Awards.

Add dark lowlights as well; this a great new look for you.

Best of luck…


Bill Angst is one of Canada’s top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Angst Hair at 240 Queen Street East in Toronto. Call 416-360-5942 to book an appointment.