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 hair loss-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!
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.
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.
Plan a Ponytail Donation Event at your school or workplace
Why not create a fundraising event and cut your hair in a group at a Ponytail Donation Event? We can help you create an event as well as cut and collect your ponytails, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your school or business name, location, contact information and approximate number of donors for more information!
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.