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How to Donate Hair in Japan

Chop your top for a good cause and learn how and where to donate hair for medical wigs in Japan.

By 7 min read

Whether you’re someone who wants to grow out and donate hair intentionally, or just someone who wants to cut off long hair that’s already grown out, here are some ways to support a good cause with the hair you chop.

Anyone can donate as long as they have at least 31 centimeters of hair they are willing to cut off. So regardless of your hair type, texture or color you can donate as long as you have the required length. You can even donate to certain charities if it’s been artificially colored, permed or bleached just as long as it’s not highly damaged to the point where the hair breaks when lightly tugged.

Some Japanese hair donation charities also accept donations from all over the world, so you technically don’t even need to be in Japan to donate! That being said, here is how you can get involved.

How to donate hair

Donating your hair is as simple as cutting it off and sending it over to the charity of your choice but does require a few more steps and details for it to get there.

At a salon

Some salons in Japan offer hair donation services.

If you’re thinking about donating hair, the easiest way to start is by contacting your usual hair salon and asking if they provide a hair donation service.
In other cases, they will say they can cut the hair you want to donate for you, but the sending of the hair to the charity or organization will still need to be done by you. In the rare case that they don’t provide any donation service, you have two choices: find a different salon that does, or do it yourself!

At home

If you plan to cut your hair yourself, make sure its completely dry.

It’s definitely doable to DIY your hair donation but a little tricker. Preparing the hair to be donated yourself requires you to tie and cut your hair to the right length. For this, you will need some rubber bands, a ruler or measuring tape and a sharp pair of scissors.

Start by washing and drying your hair (make sure it’s completely dry). Next, tie up your hair into smaller sections with rubber bands. You’ll cut above the rubber band, so tie the rubber band below the point you want to cut. Once you’ve tied them up, get a ruler and measure the length from the rubber band to the hair end to see if you have at least 31 centimeters to cut. It helps if you have a friend or family member nearby to assist this whole process for you.

Once you’ve confirmed the length, get a sharp pair of scissors and carefully cut the hair at least one centimeter above where you’ve tied the rubber band. Do this until you’ve cut all the sections of hair off. As for the hair left on your head, although completely up to you, visiting a salon to do a bit of a “clean up” afterward is recommended.

Sending it off

Tie your hair neatly using rubber bands before sending it off.

As for the hair you cut off, you’ll need to carefully bundle it all together with one extra rubber band and put it inside an envelope big enough to fit it. I recommend an A4 file-sized envelope that you can get from the post office or at konbini (convenience store) such as 7-Eleven and Lawson, for about ¥370.

Make sure you have the correct address of your charity on the envelope. Writing it out before putting the hair inside helps. Some charities also ask you to fill out a donor sheet or sign a paper with the date you cut the hair and place those details inside the envelope with the hair.

Double-check if you correct the address and practice writing it beforehand.

Those who would like a “proof of receipt” or confirmation that the hair was safely donated from JHDAC must also fill out a separate envelope. Write with your address on the front and the charity’s return address on the back, and use a stamp that pays for that envelope to be sent back to you (it’s usually an ¥84 stamp for a regular-sized envelope). This regular envelope will also need to be placed in the hair donation envelope along with the hair and donor sheet.

After that, seal it up and send it over! For those who prepared a return envelope, you should receive your proof of receipt within two months.

English-speaking Tokyo salons with hair donation services

Silva Papilio in Harajuku offers hair donation services.

If you have an English-speaking salon, contact them first to see if they provide a hair donation service. If not, you could look at JHDAC’s list of hair salons in collaboration with their organization. However, not all of them will provide English services. You could also look into each of the salons yourself to see if their website sites anything about providing English services.

Another option is to visit these English-speaking salons below that we’ve confirmed offer hair donation services or partial help in cutting your hair to be donated:

Silva Papilio

As long as you request to donate your hair in advance, Silva Papilio will ensure your hair is sent to a hair donation charity.
Address: Galleria Harajuku 2F, 3-6-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku
Reserve: Online or call 03-6434-5219

Epo Hair Studio

Epo Hair Studio supports the non-profit organization Japan Hair Donation and Charity by donating unwanted hair to be made into wigs for those in need.
Address: 1F, 1−9−15 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku
Reserve: Online or call 03-6407-9970

Gold Salon Tokyo

If asked in advance, they will cut your hair in preparation for donation but will return your hair to you. You will need to send the hair to your choice of charity yourself.
Address: 6F, 4-1-9 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku (Azabu Juban) | BF1, 4-11-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (Omotesando)
Reserve: Online or call 03-6436-0228 (Azabu Juban) | 03-6438-9722 (Omotesando)

Hair donating charities and organizations in Japan

Charities prefer dark brown to black hair since they make wigs for Japanese children.

Depending on the charity, the type and amount of hair you can donate differs. Most Japanese charities look for hair donatable to Japanese children and prefer the hair to be straight and dark. If you have naturally light-colored hair, a thoughtful extra step you could choose to take is to dye it dark before cutting it.

Japan Hair Donation and Charity (JHDAC)

Website language: Japanese, English
Hair donation length: 31 centimeters or more
Donatable hair types: All natural hair types are welcomed, also artificially colored, permed or bleached hair, as long as it’s not highly damaged.
Donation address: NPO JHD&C, Chiyoda North 7A 13-38 Naniwa-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
What to include in the envelope:

  • Your hair
  • Donor sheet form
  • Separate envelope with your address on the front with stamp and JHDAC address on the back (only if you want proof of receipt)

Tsunagami

Website language: Japanese only (web translation required)
Hair donation length: 15-31 centimeters, 31-35 centimeters preferred (Tsunagami has temporarily stopped accepting donations of hair lengthed between 15-31 centimeters)
Donatable hair types: Naturally dark brown or black hair preferred, also artificially colored brown or dark hair as long as it’s not highly damaged. Permed and bleached hair not accepted
Donation address: Glow Wing Co., Ltd. Tsunagami Office, Osaka Maruito Nishi-Umeda Building 5F, 3-3-45 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
What to include in the envelope:

NPO Hero

Website language: Japanese only (web translation required)
Hair donation length: 31 centimeters or more
Donatable hair types: All natural hair types are welcomed, also artificially colored, permed or bleached hair, as long as it’s not highly damaged
Donation address: NPO HERO Hair Donation Project Section, 2-13-1 Nankodai, Izumi-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi, Japan
What to include in the envelope:

  • Your hair
  • A piece of paper with your name (or nickname for privacy) and place of residence.
  • Proof of receipt will be posted directly on their website with your name.

Hair donation might not be for everyone, it takes a long commitment and many bottles of shampoo and conditioner to maintain. Still, those who give it a go will definitely be rewarded with a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

Have you ever donated hair before? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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