Our hair can play a huge role in self esteem for people in every stage of life. Not only can our hair’s appearance feel like a big deal, but the ritual of haircare is also a big part of many people’s lives, especially those of us with curls. So, when people lose their hair to cancer,trichotillomania, or other illness, they lose a lot more than just hair. Many cancer patients express that having a wig helps normalize their lives and regain their confidence during a time that is difficult both physically and emotionally. However, many cannot afford wigs during their treatment. Fortunately, there are many organizations that provide free wigs to those who have lost their hair.

1. Pantene Beautiful Lengths

This organization, perhaps one of the most widely known by women who choose to donate their hair, partners with the American Cancer Society. Women donate at least eight inches of healthy hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and the organization makes and distributes the wigs to the American Cancer Society Wig Bank. These wigs are provided free of charge to those who are eligible. In order to meet eligibility requirements, women must be over the age of 18, experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment, and in financial need. They can receive a free wig through the American Cancer Society Wig Bank during active treatment and up to six months after they have finished active treatment.

2. Wigs for Kids

For children who have lost their hair, the organization Wigs for Kids provides wigs that are completely made of human hair and custom-made for each recipient. Even better, they are made so that they won’t come off - kids can play and engage in their normal activities without worrying about keeping their wig in place. Those interested can apply for a wig here or learn how to donate a wig here.

3. Ebeauty

Ebeauty has a wig exchange program, in which women donate the wigs that they no longer have a use for. The wigs are then refurbished and donated to women who have lost their hair and cannot afford to buy a wig, or live in a remote location and do not have easy access to wigs. Ebeauty has partnered with many hospitals and other organizations to serve as drop-off centers, and those wishing to donate a wig can also mail it in.

4. Hair We Share

This organization provides wigs to people of all ages. Hair We Share gives wigs free of charge to children under 18 years old who have a medical condition that causes hair loss, and they also give wigs to adults over 18 based on financial need. This charity’s mission statement is “to help maintain the dignity, confidence, and self-esteem of those affected by medical hair loss.” This statement applies to not just women and children, but men, too.

Whether you are in need of a free wig or hoping to donate hair, check out one of these organizations. Many decide not to wear a wig after losing their hair, which is also a great decision! But for those who prefer to wear a wig, there are many options for receiving a wig free of charge. These organizations allow people to have a choice in how they look after experiencing illness. Losing your hair and undergoing treatment can make you feel powerless, so having options for how you look is an incredible tool for creating a positive self-image. For those who have recently made the decision to wear a wig, check out our guide to maintaining a human hair wig.