It takes 20 ponytails to make just one wig!
Sustainable Salons collects ponytails and distributes them to charitable organisations and local wig-makers where they can become wigs for those suffering from medically-induced hair-loss conditions such as Alopecia and cancer, or help fund other life-changing programs!
At least 4,000 ponytails are needed each year to make enough wigs for those living without hair as a result of medically-induced conditions. When Sustainable Salons first looked into the ponytail donation process, there was not even half that number of ponytails making their way to the right channels!
Before starting Sustainable Salons, Co-founder Paul Frasca was a salon hairdresser for 20 years, and on reflection he realised he’d cut thousands of ponytails in that time but hadn’t donated any of them! It wasn’t common knowledge then that someone without hair could benefit from the strands that someone else didn’t want anymore.
So, when dumped in landfill, valuable ponytails have just become wasted resources… until now.
Sustainable Salons has collected more than 43,700 ponytails since the program launched in 2015.
As one young donor from Sydney’s Wenona School proudly said:
“It’s easy for us to make this huge difference because we don’t have to do anything to grow our hair, it just happens. We may end up with short bobs, but our hair will grow back. For many going through treatment, it may not for a long while and that can affect their self-esteem.”
This is what makes you, the ponytail donor, so special and it’s why we celebrate you whole-heartedly. You hold an incredible power to improve the life of someone who is going through something they didn’t ask for, don’t deserve and can’t control…
YOU HAVE PONY POWER!
WHO CAN DONATE
We accept hair from people of any age, gender, hair type and hair colour as long as the hair is properly prepared and measures the correct length.
36cm and longer
High-grade ponytails are a minimum of 36cm long and virgin hair, meaning they are uncoloured and not chemically-processed. This must be measured from where the elastic band is tied (NOT from where the hair has been cut) to the tip of the hair. High-grade ponytails are incredibly special – they can be made into wigs for kids, or because they are so valuable they can help fund other life-changing programs! If youre growing your hair specially to make a ponytail donation, just by waiting a little longer for more length or cutting your hair shorter to reach the 36cm you will make a truly special impact.
20cm to 36cm
The MINIMUM length of ponytails we accept is 20cm, measured from where the elastic band is tied (NOT from where the hair has been cut) to the tip of the hair. Ponytails between 20cm and 36cm will be matched with other ponytails of similar length and condition.
We accept coloured and chemically-processed hair. Coloured and processed hair will be matched with shorter ponytails and processed hair by wig-makers.
Curly hair ponytails are accepted, but must meet the minimum 20cm length without being straightened.
Strands of hair shorter than 20cm within a ponytail are unusable and will be removed during the wig-making process. If your hair is very layered, we recommend waiting a couple of months to increase the viability of your donation.
We only accept 100% HUMAN HAIR extensions, as originally verified and labelled by the product supplier. We do not accept hair extensions made from any other materials. All Hair Extensions must be prepared and donated in the same way as freshly cut ponytails. Please DO NOT include clips, bonds or tape in the donation.
NO THANK YOU!
We can’t accept:
X WET HAIR
X SYNTHETIC HAIR
X LOOSE HAIR
X PONYTAILS LESS THAN 20cm
HOW TO DONATE
Visit a Sustainable Salon
All hairdressers at our Sustainable Salons member salons have been specially trained to cut ponytails for donation and can securely send your donation to us on your behalf (no postage required!).
Visit your local/regular salon & post your donation to us
If there is no Sustainable Salons member salon in your location or you’d prefer to visit another salon, please download the Ponytail Donation Toolkit below and take it with you to your appointment.
In the Ponytail Donation Toolkit, you’ll find:
- Ponytail Donation Guidelines – Give this to your hairdresser! It’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your hair and cut the ponytails so that they’re viable for wig-making.
- Ponytail Donation Form – Please fill in your and your salon’s details, include the length of the ponytails after your hairdresser has measured them, and include the form with your ponytails when you mail them to Sustainable Salons.
Once your ponytails are ready to donate, follow the packing and mailing instructions outlined on the Ponytail Donation Form.
WHERE THE PONYTAILS GO
First stop: The Sustainable Salons Depot
When ponytails arrive at the Sustainable Salons depot (either from our member salons or from individually-mailed donations), our team sorts and grades EVERY PONYTAIL BY HAND according to length, colour and hair type… this is why filling out your Ponytail Donation Form is necessary, it helps us get those pretty ponies to their destination much faster.
The ponytails need to be sorted into various categories because each recipient we distribute to has different requirements depending on how they process them for wig-making.
Sustainable Salons does not receive any funds for the collection or sorting of ponytails. We do all of this FREE OF CHARGE, so that those in need receive the maximum benefit.
We send ponytails to charitable organisations such as Variety the Children’s Charity and the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (AAAF) to be made into charitable wigs or to fund life-changing programs*.
As high-grade ponytails are super valuable, these organisations sell them to wig-makers and use the return to help fund life-changing programs (including providing wigs to kids!) across their amazing platforms.
We also send ponytails to local, independent wig-makers to be made into charitable wigs.
These wig-makers work directly with clients they find through connections with hospitals, and local community and support groups. These clients are mostly adults, so the wig-makers can work with shorter and coloured hair because adult hairstyles rarely require the long, virgin-condition ponytails that children’s wigs do.
For your peace of mind
Sustainable Salons only sends ponytail donations to verified charities and independent wig-makers working on charitable wigs only (not-for-profit).
Although the independent wig-maker may need to charge for their labour (this remains between the wig-maker and the client), they provide the hair from Sustainable Salons free of charge to the recipient. This saves the recipient potentially thousands of dollars!
*NB: We’re currently approaching several charitable organisations in New Zealand about ponytail donations, in the meantime all Kiwi ponytails are being stored for the future.
Who benefits from the ponytails Sustainable Salons collects?
Adults and children suffering from medically-induced hair-loss conditions (e.g. cancer or Alopecia) benefit from charitable wigs made from donated ponytails.
People suffering from other medical and life-altering conditions also benefit from funds raised by charities such as Variety the Children’s Charity and the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (AAAF) from the sale of high-grade ponytails.
Can you tell me exactly who has received my ponytails?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. Ponytails are pooled together with similar ponytails according to their length, colour, and hair type, and then the individual strands of hair are woven into the wig by hand. As you can imagine, it’s pretty tricky then to track exactly which wig your strands of hair may have contributed to!
Why does it take 20 ponytails to make one wig if I’m donating a full head of my hair? Shouldn’t it be able to create one wig by itself?
One full head of ponytail donations doesn’t quite measure up the same when it comes to transferring them into a wig and there are a number of reasons for this.
Ponytails naturally have different lengths of hair within them, and any strands shorter than 20cm are considered unusable as a few centimetres of length is lost when the hair is attached to a wig base.
When a wig maker receives a ponytail, it is double-drawn, meaning all of the short hairs are ‘drawn out’. Depending on the condition of the ponytail, up to 50% of the hair may be unusable.
The wig-making process involves ventilating, where each strand of hair is knotted onto the wig base. Hair has varying strengths (thanks to factors such as colouring and chemical processing) and during knotting, up to 10-20% of the hair can be lost from breakage.
Wigs are usually made to be denser in hair coverage than a natural head of hair. This is to ensure the foundation of the wig is covered, and also to create longevity for the wearer. Unlike a regular head of hair, a wig doesn’t regrow lost hairs! Day-to-day usage will naturally cause the shedding of some hair, so wigs are created with a high density of hair so that the wearer gets more longevity out of it.
For all of these reasons, it can take between 20 and 25 ponytails to make a full wig, which is why it’s necessary to pool your ponytails with other kind people’s ponytails… it’s a team effort!
Can I make sure my hair contributes to a child’s wig?
If your donation meets all the requirements of a high-grade ponytail, it’s extremely likely that it could be used in a wig for a child.
Beyond this, as Sustainable Salons is not part of the process after ponytails have been donated, we cannot take requests for how the ponytails are used.
Do the charitable organisations make the recipient pay for their wig?
Sustainable Salons is only involved in the process up to the point of making the donation; we aren’t involved in how the organisations allocate their support and resources internally. We recommend contacting the charity directly with your questions… we’re sure they’ll be happy to answer them for you!
Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation:
Variety, the Children’s Charity:
What happens to ponytails that Sustainable Salons receives that don’t meet the requirements for donation?
They never go to waste! Hair clippings (ponytails less than 20cm) either make their way to the Hair Boom Project where they’re used in research to one day help soak up oil in environmental disasters (on land or at sea) or they’re used in compost.
Why do you need me to fill in the Ponytail Donation Form?
We receive hundreds of ponytails every week that must be sorted by length, colour and hair type, all by hand by our dedicated team! By filling in the Ponytail Donation Form, you’ll help make this process more efficient, which means your ponytails can get to work helping someone in need much sooner!
How many ponytails has Sustainable Salons collected?
Since 2015, Sustainable Salons has collected more than 43,700 ponytails!
How many wigs have been made thanks to Sustainable Salons ponytails?
It can take between 20 and 25 ponytails of the same hair-type to make just one wig, so those 43,700 ponytails could make approximately 2,185 wigs!
How can I be sure my ponytails have been received?
When you have your ponytails cut at a Sustainable Salon, the hairdresser packages and stores them safely before they’re collected by a Sustainable Salons Driver, so you can be sure that they reach our depot!
We receive hundreds of ponytails to the depot every week! So, if you’re sending your donation to us via post, unfortunately we’re unable to notify you when it’s been received. However, for your peace of mind, we recommend using a postage option with a tracking service so that you can see when it’s been safely delivered to us.
I’ve seen people holding up certificates on social media after they’ve donated their ponytails, will I receive one for my donation?
When you visit a Sustainable Salons member salon for your ponytail cut and donation, you’ll receive a personalised donor certificate (and you might just make an appearance on the salon’s social media too… and maybe even ours!). Click here to find your nearest Sustainable Salon via our Salon Directory.
Due to increasing volume and logistics, we’re unable to provide a certificate for donations made via post.